Historical provenance is important to me, especially when it comes to the Bible.
27 I was there when he [God] set the heavens in place,
when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
28 when he established the clouds above
and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
I just finished a novel by Tracy Groot called, “Madman.” It is about the Gerasene demoniac from Mark 5:1-20. I enjoyed the book very much. It took me three weeks to read the first half of the book and one afternoon to read the second half. The first half was the development of characters and to build in the despondency of the madman’s family and community. The second half is the drawing up of all the purse strings. Its historical approach and accuracy concerning Scripture is appreciated.
There are three things about the demoniac that I find very interesting.
- The account really begins with Mark 4:35-41 where Jesus calms the storm. Jesus was headed to a region infested with demons: the demoniac, but also the worship of Dionysus, the god of pleasure, which included some pretty hairy rituals. Could it be that the demons of that region were trying to keep Jesus out of their area?
- The demoniac’s name is Kardus, found in an excavation report of Kursi (the Gerasenes is the region; Kursi is the nearest town) which was published in 1983*. Kardus wanted to go with Jesus, but Jesus told him, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you” (Mark 5:19).
- About a year later, Jesus returned to this area. A large crowd gathered to hear him, I think largely due to Kardus’ testimony in the region. This is the place where Jesus fed 4,000 men, not counting women and children, and took up seven large baskets of leftovers (possibly representative of the seven nations who made up the Decapolis, which were the ten cities of the region). The significance is that Jesus had already performed the same miracle for the Israelites where they collected 12 small baskets of leftovers. In other words, Jesus accepts both Jew and Gentile into His kingdom! It was a huge revelation, one to which the religious leaders of His day did not take kindly.
Believing the Scriptures because they are the Scriptures is an act of faith, but it is a two-dimensional faith. When the Spirit begins to reveal historical evidence of the truth of the Scriptures, our faith becomes three-dimensional and we have a much deeper faith. One of the emails to which I subscribe is patternsofevidence.com. They give weekly newsletters of current findings in the holy lands concerning biblical accuracy. Go take a look.
Abba, may we take seriously our knowledge of You, our world, and the veracity of Scripture. It’s one of the ways that we interact with You as we look into new archeological, historic and scientific findings that You are revealing more and more routinely as our technology advances. Thank You for being a God of details. You are SO BIG! Hallelujah! Amen.
*”Madman,” Tracy Groot, page 388