CAPERNAUM (Kfar Nachum) - located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, means “Village of Nahum” (scholars debate whether this refers to the prophet Nahum). It was the center of Jesus’ Galilean ministry and home town of Peter, James, John, Andrew, and Matthew. The Via Maris trade road went through the town. In addition to the Romans being able to tax goods passing through, it was an ideal location for spreading a message, as the road connected Europe and Asia to the north and Africa to the south.

In addition to the significant fishing industry, many farm tools have been discovered in the region, including large basalt stones for olive and wine presses.

Basalt olive press at Capernaum, tb053007138.jpg

The limestone Great Synagogue is, by far, the largest synagogue excavated in Israel. It dates to the end of the 4th century AD but underneath lies a basalt foundation which would have been the synagogue where Jesus taught.

Capernaum synagogue, 1st century wall, tb011410481.jpg

Peter’s house, immediately to the south of the synagogue towards the lake, appears to have been a center for the early Jesus movement, with a formal church built in the 5th century. Below is a photo taken before the modern church was built.

Capernaum Peter's house excavations, cd090085005.jpg

The modern Franciscan church has a glass bottom, allowing visitors to get a unique view into the excavated portion of Peter’s house and the Byzantine-era church.

Today, the visible excavated portion represents only around 1/3 of the size of the village in the late Roman period.

Capernaum basalt houses with Peter's house, tb102702002.jpg

Here is a more detailed study video on Capernaum:

1-minute Devotional

Other miracles involved people’s hearts. See the 1-minute video devotional on “Matthew,” then read “It happened here,” talking about another one of Simon Peter’s great moments.

It happened here:

Here are a few of the miracles Jesus performed in or near Capernaum:

  • Healing of the demon-possessed man in the synagogue (Mark 1:23-28; Luke 4:31-37 - Gospels study: Capernaum)
  • Healing of Peter’s mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14-15; Mark 1:29-31; Luke 4:38-39 - Gospels study: Capernaum)
  • Healing of the paralyzed man (Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26 - Gospels study: New Wineskins (coming in 2023))
  • Healing of the centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10 - Gospels study: John in Macherus (2023))
  • Healing of the man with a withered hand (Matthew 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11 - Gospels study: Master of Shabbat (2023))
  • Healing of the woman with the issue of blood (Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34; Luke 8:43-48 - Gospels study: The Other Side (2023))
  • Healing of the blind man (Mark 8:22-26 - Gospels study: Upon This Rock (2023))

Above is the CAPERNAUM synagogue, the site where Jesus gave many memorable teachings. One of those recorded in John 6 was incredibly complex: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.” Because of the “hard saying,” many former followers left that day. Jesus asked His disciples, “will you also leave?” Peter gave another famous declaration “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Peter may not have known precisely what the words meant but He trusted in the one saying the words.

Lessons from Capernaum:

  • Jesus healed multitudes of people in and around Capernaum. He also showed He was God as He forgave them their sins. Forgiving sins is something only God can do. Do we believe Jesus the Messiah was God in the flesh and full deity?
  • Jesus marveled at the great faith of a Roman Centurion. Do we trust God in such a way that He would marvel at our faith?
  • Jesus also had to curse Capernaum because of it’s collective lack of faith.

Following Jesus is not easy (as the saying goes, “if it were easy, everyone would be doing it"). Peter’s words at the Capernaum synagogue in John 6 remind us that even though we may not fully understand everything Jesus says, talmidim must hang on and keep following in our Rabbi’s dust.
God rewards those who diligently seek Him.