Town of Jesus, Capernaum, Northern District, Israel
Capernaum was the center of Jesus activities in the Galilee and his town during that time. Jesus taught in the local synagogue. It was also the home town of the apostles Peter, James, Andrew and John, and the tax collector Matthew.
No longer an inhabited town today, Capernaum (pronounced Kefar Nachum in Hebrew) is currently an archeological site owned by two Christian denominations: the Franciscans who command the western part of the city, and the Greek Orthodox who control the western part including the city’s ancient church.
Situated on the banks of the Sea of Galilee, the town of Capernaum first came into existence when inhabited by the Hasmonean Dynasty in the 2 nd century BC. It remained a large (in ancient terms) and prominent city, holding some 1,500 residents, for over nine centuries until its mysterious evacuation in the 7th century AD.
Though no longer a functioning town, Capernaum’s importance in modern times is based on its rich history in antiquity and its multiple mentioning in the New Testament. Most notably, Capernaum is believed to have been Jesus’ home and the center of his ministry after leaving his birth town of Nazareth. Reference to Capernaum as Jesus’ home and the place where He performed many of His miracles is made in the Gospel of Matthew, where it is said that Jesus was approached by a Roman officer who asked Him to heal his servant when the latter fell ill. Jesus’ ability to cure the feverish servant serves, to this day, as a reminder of His ability to work miracles.
In the Gospel of Luke too, the town of Capernaum is mentioned several times with regard to Jesus prophetic abilities. According to Luke, in the town of Capernaum Jesus healed a man who was possessed by the devil, as well as curing Peter’s sickly mother in law.
Capernaum is mentioned twice more in the New Testament, once as the home of Peter, Andrew, James and John, as well as the dwelling place of Matthew the tax collector. The second time Capernaum is referred to is as one of the three cities damned by Jesus for its inhabitants’ wrong doings and lack of faith in God. For all its importance in Jesus’ life and His ministry, Capernaum is a destination not to be missed when on a Christian tour to Israel.
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