On the north shore of the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret)
lie the remains of the first century village of Capernaum. Among these remains is Peter’s house, the house in which Jesus probably lived during his ministry in the Galilee,
and a synagogue in which he taught on the Sabbath.
Capernaum is mentioned many times in Scripture.
In Mark 2 his entrance is described as his coming “home.” This was quite a homecoming, as large crowds pressed into Peter’s house where he was staying, to hear the word preached. (Mark 2:2) Maybe they had heard of his miraculous healing of Peter and Andrew’s mother earlier in the day
(Mark 1:29-31) or word of the many miracles he was performing around the Galilee had preceded him.
As you stand looking down at the preserved foundation of this very home, the actual room in which Jesus was teaching,
you can imagine the many eager villagers pressing about, for here was one who “taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law” (Mark 1:22)
Suddenly there is a commotion, a jostling of the crowd. Parts of the roof are being bashed in as the room fills with soot and debris. Broken tiles fall on the heads of those assembled.
A look of anger crosses Peter’s face as Jesus looks up motioning to him to constrain himself. The dust begins to clear revealing a man being lowered down on a mat. He appears to be a paralytic. His body is shaking all over.
The Master speaks: “Son, your sins are forgiven.”(Mark 2:5) Suddenly the man is at peace. The shaking stops. A mummer goes up from the crowd. “He forgives sins!
Who does he think he is?” Shouts are heard. “Blasphemer! Only God can forgive sins.” Hearing this Jesus turns to the young man and says: “Get up, pick up your mat and walk.” (Mark 2:11) You look on with others in amazement as this young man who a moment ago was paralyzed, now stands upright on his feet and actually picks up his mat. The crowd parts before him as he passes through.
Many familiar Gospel events occurred at Capernaum. Following the temptation in the wilderness (Mathew 1:12-17), this is where Jesus first began to preach and it was here that he called Levi from his tax-collector’s booth and had dinner at his home, eating with “tax collectors and sinners.”
(Mark 2:13-15) It was while teaching in the synagogue of Capernaum that he said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:54)