A Gadarene Rush. Hunh?

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Have you ever heard the phrase – Gadarene Rush? Recently it was used to describe some headlong decisions about government health care measures.

Webster’s Dictionary describes it as a “headlong rush.” As in, there was a Gadarene rush to the suburbs after taxes went up in the city.”

Another phrase that is often used in graphic novels, superhero movies, and songs is “I am Legion,”

Did you know both of these phrases are from the same event in the Bible? Go over the story with your personal kids or ministry kids and show how these phrases are now commonly used. (Because of the content, you may choose to do this with older children, not young preschoolers.)

Back in the Gospels, (Mathhew 8:28; Mark 5:1-20; and Luke 8:26:39) we have a time when Christ and his disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee to the country of the Gadarenes. He, of course, was not surprised when he was met by two-demon possessed men. (Matthew says two, but the other two Gospels say one because it seems as if one was the chief spokesman.) This man was so fierce that no one wanted to be near him. Even when he was bound by chains, the power from the demons allowed him to break free. He yelled and cut himself with stones and scared all around him.

Surprisingly, when Christ appeared on shore, the demon-possessed man recognized Him and fell down before Him. “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God. I adjure you by God, do not torment me.”

Jesus asked him, What is your name?

He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” (Legion was used to describe a large unit in the army. Sometimes this was more than 5,000 men. When the man said “My name is Legion,” he was describing a multitude of demons inside of him.We do know that 2,000 pigs were killed, so we know that the man was possessed by at least 2,000 demons.)

Pigs were grazing nearby. The demons even knew what the Son of God could do. “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” A strange request and Bible scholars disagree (or don’t know) why they would ask that.

So Christ simply said “Go,” and the demons went out of the men and into the pigs. Immediately the pigs ran down the steep bank and crashed into the sea where they drowned. The herdsman who were watching the pigs ran to the city and told everyone what had happened. Many people came to see what was going on and they saw the demon-possessed man sitting quietly and in his right mind. That frightened the people and they asked Christ to leave. As He was getting back in His boat, the demon-possessed man asked to go with him, but Christ said no. He was to go back home and tell his friends what the Lord had done for him.

But that’s where the phrase a Gadarene Rush comes from – the demon- possessed pigs rushing down the bank and drowning in the Sea of Galilee.

And this is also the event that used the phrase “I am Legion,” one that is often used in stories and song today

You might have a child ask if a Christian can be demon-possessed. As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit within us. God would not allow a demon to possess the same body as His Spirit. Although there are a lot of passages in the New Testament that talk about the Christian’s struggle (remember the old and new nature blog?) Yet not one of them talk about casting a demon out of a Christian. In addition, we have many verses telling us to resist the devil, that Christ is greater than Satan, and that we have the full amour of God in place to stand against temptation. (Ephesians 6, 1 Peter 5:8-9)


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