Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali. Matthew 4:13
I visited Capernaum on an October day of bright blue skies. The sun high overhead burned the back of my neck and the top of my arms. I sought relief under the branches of a Ficus tree, a species of fig cultivated from ancient times for its fruit.
From there I took in my surroundings.
Capernaum was deserted long ago. Once a busy town nestled on the northwest shore of Galilee, today Capernaum lies in ruins. Excavations show black basalt remains of small, simple houses, and the walls and pillars of a synagogue.
Salome, thought to be the mother of James and John lived in Capernaum with her sons. Just beyond the remains of the houses, I could see Galilee where Jesus persuaded them to leave their fishing nets and follow him.
Jesus made Capernaum home during his ministry. The name means “home of the comforter.” It’s an appropriate name for a place where Jesus consoled many people.
Jesus also cured Peter’s mother-in-law in Capernaum, in Peter’s house.
I pushed through the crowds to the railings that stopped me from stepping into the foundations of this simple first-century house.
Jesus also healed a centurion’s servant here and cast out unclean spirits.
Peter, Andrew, James and John—four of Jesus’ disciples—lived with their families and fished for a living from Capernaum. The town would have bustled with men and boys bent over nets on the shoreline, the sound of hulls grating on shingle as they dragged their boats onto the beach after a night of fishing, and the stench of fish as they gutted the daily catch.
As well as an ordinary fishing village, Capernaum was an important Roman town, sitting on the border between two Roman territories.
When I visited, tourists lined up to pay an entrance fee to get into Capernaum. In Jesus’ time people stood in line to pay taxes on their way to Jerusalem.
In Capernaum, Roman Gentiles and Jewish fishermen lived side-by-side. And, in their midst, the Son of God made his home.
Being human, Jesus was no different than us. He needed to eat, sleep, wash his clothes and be surrounded by friends. He taught his neighbors as well as worshipped in the synagogue across from where he lived. Jesus became part of everyday life.
Jesus lived out what God desires: to move in with us, to dwell with us, to tabernacle with us. God sent his Son to be with his people—as a baby and boy to live in a family, as an adult to be part of a community.
Jesus wants to do the same in your life. He wants to move in with you. Have you let him into your daily life, your home, your neighborhood?
Think about and celebrate where you are letting God into your daily life, your home, your neighborhood – where he is God and he brings peace where there is pain.
Consider the aspects of your life where you are shutting out God. What difference could he make based on what we have learned?
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