Friday, February 18, 2011

That squandering old city of Capernaum

This is very likely the ruins of the synagogue where Jesus preached extensively, healed the sick, and cast out many demons.

I have been struck anew with how much ministry Jesus did in his home region that included Capernaum. The gospel of Mark records throngs of people coming to him for healing and exorcism. In particular the synoptics record Jesus healing the Centurion's servant in Capernaum, Peter's mother in law, and the nobleman's son (albeit, while he was in Cana). Capernaum probably witnessed more of Jesus' ministry of miracles and preaching than any other city in Israel during His time on earth.

What became of Capernaum's exposure to Christ? Matthew records haunting words from Jesus:

Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you. - Matthew 11:20-24

These are part of the so-called "woes" of Jesus. Do you see how Capernaum squandered her time of witnessing Jesus' mighty works in her city limits? This is very convicting, especially for places with so much exposure to God's Word on a regular basis.

1 comment:

Woody Woodward said...

Knowing the many miracles the Lord Jesus performed in Capernaum takes me back to my own trip to Capernaum in 1978. Our group had a worship service on the hills of the NW shores of the Sea of Galilee, the place where Jesus feed the 5,000. Then a rock throw, nears the banks of the shore, we visited the ruins of the synagogue, Peter’s house and boarded a wooden row boat and cast out into the sea. While we at sea we sang songs and I had the opportunity to preach my first sermon. Our exhausted Jesus was fast asleep in the boat and the fear-filled disciples a wakened Him and said, “Don’t you care we are perishing?” How soon they forgot that at His word even the seas must obey.