Capernaum is mentioned 16 times in the Gospels and was the site for much of His teaching and many of His miracles. Matthew calls Capernaum Jesus’ “own city.” (Matthew 9:1; Mark 2:1)
At right is a picture of a Franciscan Catholic church built in 1990 in Capernaum (click to enlarge). The church is built over the ruins of a 5th-century octagon-shaped church which was built over Peter’s 1st-century house. You can see the ruins of Peter’s house through the glass floor in the bottom of the Franciscan church. In the foreground are ruins of houses between the synagogue and Peter’s house.
Miracles at Capernaum
Jesus performed so many great works in Capernaum, that He said if Sodom had seen the Capernaum miracles, it would not have been destroyed [because the people would have been moved to repentance and faith] (Matthew 11:23-24). Previous posts on Miracles at Capernaum have discussed Expelling a Demon in the Capernaum synagogue and Healing Peter’s Mother-in-law. Here are more miracles from Capernaum.
– Healings at Peter’s House (Mark 1:32-34; Luke 4:40-41; Matthew 8:16-17)
Shortly after healing Peter’s mother-in-law, the whole city of Capernaum gathered at the door. This description fits a house that archaeologists believe is the ruins of Peter’s house. It was excavated beginning in 1968. It is on the main North-South street of the town about 100 feet south of the synagogue. Between the door leading to the courtyard of the house and the spacious street, there is a broad open space where people could gather.
Jesus healed many possessed by unclean spirits (per Mark) or demons (per Matthew and Luke) as well as healing all who were ill (per Matthew) when they gathered at Peter’s house, as illustrated in the picture at right (click to enlarge).
Matthew identified Jesus’ healing ministry at Capernaum as the fulfillment of a Messianic prophecy (Isaiah 53:4) that predicted the Messiah would take our infirmities and carry away our diseases (Matthew 8:17). The healing miracles by Jesus were evidence of His Messianic identity. Jesus Himself pointed to His works as evidence that He had been sent by the Father (John 5:36).
Matthew, Mark, and Luke all say many were cured of demon possession. It was a common affliction of Jesus’ day and easily recognized. How many maladies today might be due to demon possession? Is it really less common today in America than in Capernaum 2,000 years ago? Why can’t we recognize demon possession any more?
Mark and Luke report that Jesus forbade the demons to speak because they knew who He was, namely the Christ or Messiah (Mark 1:34; Luke 4:41). Some even shouted, “You are the Son of God” before being silenced. James probably remembered such occasions when he wrote, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” (James 2:19)
Why did Jesus muzzle the evil spirits? Clearly they knew who He was! However, it is not appropriate for demonic powers to give witness to the Son of God. In addition, Jesus was not ready for His identity to be publicized. It would attract unwelcome attention and hinder His mission. Later Jesus sternly commanded a leper He healed to “Say nothing to anyone.” The ecstatic man disobeyed, and the news spread to such an extent that Jesus could not enter cities and had to stay in unpopulated areas (Mark 1:40-45).
Soli Deo Gloria.
The Hike the Bible series is currently covering points of interest along two hiking trails through Galilee, the 40-mile Jesus Trail and the 39-mile Gospel Trail. These two trails re-create possible routes Jesus likely traversed during His sojourns in Galilee.
This is the twenty-sixth installment in the Hike the Bible series reviewing major hiking trails in the Lands of the Bible.
Read the prequels:
1. Hike the Bible – Jesus Trail (with video)
2. Hike the Bible – Gospel Trail (with video)
3. Hike the Bible – Jesus Trail vs. Gospel Trail
4. Hike the Bible – Nazareth
5. Hike the Bible – Zippori
6. Hike the Bible – Mash’had
7. Hike the Bible – Cana (with video)
8. Hike the Bible – Roman Road
9. Hike the Bible – Via Maris
10. Hike the Bible – Horns of Hattin
11. Hike the Bible – Sermon on the Mount
12. Hike the Bible – Arbel Cliffs
13. Hike the Bible – Magdala (with video)
14. Hike the Bible – Mary Magdalene
15. Hike the Bible – Mary Magdalene, Lady or Tramp?
16. Hike the Bible – Mary Magdalene & the Resurrection
17. Hike the Bible – Sea of Galilee
18. Hike the Bible – Jesus at the Sea of Galilee
19. Hike the Bible – Jesus at the Sea of Galilee 2
20. Hike the Bible – Jesus at the Sea of Galilee 3
21. Hike the Bible – Jesus Boat
22. Hike the Bible – Why Capernaum?
23. Hike the Bible – Capernaum Archaeology
24. Hike the Bible – Miracles at Capernaum
25. Hike the Bible – Miracles at Capernaum 2
Read the sequel:
27. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 1
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday December 12, 2012 A.D.
Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. (Matthew 4:23)