At Capernaum – known as Jesus’ “own town” (Matt. 9:1) – “walking where Jesus walked” takes on new meaning. As you sit on the stone benches of Capernaum’s ancient synagogue, you’ll be reminded that right here, Jesus taught (Mark 1:21; John 6:59) and healed a man possessed by an evil spirit (Mark 27-1:23).
It was the synagogue on this very spot, the foundations of which can still be seen today, which Luke says was built by the centurion whose servant Jesus later healed (Luke 7:3-5). Jesus also raised from the dead the daughter of this synagogue’s leader (Luke 8:49-53).
The ruins that surround you here, from homes with ordinary tools of daily life to intricately decorated stone carvings, are powerful reminders of Jesus’ prediction about this town (Matt. 11:23). A highlight is Peter’s house, where Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law (Matt. 8:14-15; Mark 1:29-31). Peter’s house was a simple dwelling, like many other archaeologists have unearthed in this small fishing and farming village. But unlike the others, here Christian pilgrims over the centuries left more than 131 inscriptions on the walls. Jesus’ name appears frequently, as does Peter’s, along with crosses, pilgrims’ names and blessings.
In the mid-fourth century, a large church was built, its mosaic floor can still be seen today, with Peter’s house as its centerpiece. In 1990, a modern Franciscan church was built and suspended over the ruins.
FROM THE SCRIPTURES
And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.
(Mark 1:21-28 ESV)
And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”
(Matthew 9:1-2 ESV)
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
(John 6: 53-59 ESV)
When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.
(Luke 7:3-5 ESV)
While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler's house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat.
(Luke 8:49-55 ESV)
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.
(Matthew 11:23 ESV)
And when Jesus entered Peter's house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him.
(Matthew 8:14-15 ESV)
And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
(Mark 1:29-31 ESV)