We read about Jesus casting out a mess of demons and sending them into swine in Matthew 8:31-32. It says, “And the demons begged him, saying, ‘If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.’ And he said to them, ‘Go.’ 14 kursi excavationsSo they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters.” The location of this event is a site known by the name of Kursi in Jewish sources.

According to the BAR (Biblical Archeological Review) Excavators at Kursi, on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, believe the site may have been the earliest pilgrimage destination for Christians visiting the Holy Land. They have also recently found evidence that Christian pilgrims were slaughtered there in 614 A.D. by the invading Persian army. Inside a bathhouse were three dozen women’s rings and other pieces of jewelry. Explaining this items, an excavator said, “The bathhouse was built for Western pilgrims and the jewelry belonged to them. This is the beginning of a center for Western Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land. We believe it may have been the largest center other than the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.” I expect it popularity has to do with Jesus’ miracle.

Mark 5:3-5 tells us more detail about this Demoniac. Edwards says that this “is one of the most lamentable stories of human wretchedness in the Bible. He is a terror to himself and others, and his violence is hammered home in three resounding negatives in the Greek: ‘not even by chains could anyone any longer restrain him’ (v. 3). Even in life he is consigned to the land of the dead. There, wailing among the tombs, he wreaks havoc on himself day and night. Mark’s vocabulary is raw and brutal; even ‘bindings,’ ‘chains,’ and ‘irons’ are unsuccessful” in subduing the man. I can’t help but think of the words of John Newton’s song, Amazing Grace; “how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.” It’s also reminiscent of Charles Wesley’s famous hymn, “And can it be.” He writes, “Long my imprisoned spirit lay, Fast bound in sin and nature’s night; Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.”