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Gadarenes

Gadara was one of the Decapolis, or "Ten Cities," that were originally inhabited primarily by Greek people who settled in the region after the time of Alexander the Great's conquest (see Ancient Empires - Greece). After the Romans occupied the region from about 65 B.C. (see Ancient Empires - Rome), Gadara was made the capital of the Roman province of Peraea.

The Decapolis Gadara was located east of The Jordan River on a mountain about 6 miles / 10 kilometers south-east of The Sea Of Galilee. The people of Gadara were known as Gadarenes, although the general area was also known as the "country of the Gerasenes" after the city of Gerasa which was about 45 miles / 73 kilometers farther south. They were still mostly Gentiles in the time of Christ, as indicated by their keeping of pigs (see Clean and Unclean) in the Scripture references below.

It was in the area of Gadara that one of the most famous healings of Jesus Christ's ministry took place, on a day that started out with a harrowing trip (for the disciples) across the Sea of Galilee:

"One day He got into a boat with His disciples, and He said to them, "Let us go across to the other side of the lake." So they set out, and as they sailed He fell asleep. And a storm of wind came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in danger."

"And they went and woke Him, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!"

"And He awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, "Where is your faith?"

"And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, "Who then is this, that He commands even wind and water, and they obey Him?"

"Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. And as He stepped out on land, there met Him a man from the city who had demons; for a long time he had worn no clothes, and he lived not in a house but among the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before Him, and said with a loud voice, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beseech you, do not torment me." For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For many a time it had seized him; he was kept under guard, and bound with chains and fetters, but he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the desert."

"Jesus then asked him, "What is your name?"

"And he said, "Legion"; for many demons had entered him. And they begged Him not to command them to depart into the abyss."

"Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside; and they begged Him to let them enter these. So He gave them leave. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned."

"When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled, and told it in the city and in the country. Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told them how he who had been possessed with demons was healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Him to depart from them; for they were seized with great fear; so He got into the boat and returned."

"The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with Him; but He sent him away, saying, "Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you." And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him." (Luke 8:22-39 RSV)

In more modern times, the tombs of Gadara have been excavated by archaeologists, and there have been accounts of unfortunate people again living in them just as they did during Christ's ministry.

Fact Finder: What sort of miracles did Jesus Christ do during His human lifetime?
See Miracles Of Jesus Christ

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