After our visit to the black basalt ruins of the synagogue in Chorazin we made our way to Capernaum. An alternate spelling of Capernaum is Capharnaum. That spelling is derived from the town’s ancient name, Kfar Nahum, which means “little town of Nahum.” There is no connection to the prophet Nahum.
The Franciscan Friars now have custody of the Catholic church here.
Capernaum is located on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee and was the chief commercial and social center of the area during the ministry of Jesus. Here, on the great highway between Syria and Judea, customs taxes were collected and a Roman garrison was stationed. Capernaum had at least one major synagogue.
“He left Nazareth and went to live in Capharnaum by the sea.” (Matthew 4:13)
“He entered a boat, made a crossing and came into his own town.” (Matthew 9:1)
“On leaving the synagogue he entered the house of Peter and Andrew with James and John.” (Mark 1:29)
“In Capharnaum the house of the Prince of the Apostles was changed into a church. The original walls, however, are still standing.” (Etheria, late fourth century AD)
“We came to Capharnaum in the house of Saint Peter which at present is a basilica.” (Antoninus Placentinus, 587 AD)
“I am the bread of life” (John 6:48)…These things he said while he was teaching in the synagogue of Capharnaum.” (John 6: 59)
“Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church.” (Matthew 16:18)
|This is one of the carved stones from the synagogue showing the Ark of the Covenant being transported.|
|These are ruins of houses in Capernaum...between Peter's house and the synagogue. The synagogue was at the city center and served as the center of Jewish life in its day.|
Capernaum was Jesus’ hometown during his ministry years. “When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali.” (Matthew 4:12-13)
|The ruins of Peter's house with a modern day octagonal Catholic church built above it in 1990. Inside the church there is a glass floor (partitioned off) where you can look down and see the ruins of Peter's house.|
Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law and many others in Capernaum. “When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him. When evening came, many others who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah.” (Matthew 8:14-17)
Jesus cast out a demon in the synagogue in Capernaum. “They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!’ ‘Be quiet!’ said Jesus sternly, ‘Come out of him!’ The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.”
Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead. “When Jesus entered the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd, he said, ‘Go away, the girl is not dead, but asleep.’ But they laughed at him. After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region.”
In the photo above you can see the wall of the White Synagogue built on top of the foundation of the Synagogue of Jesus.
Jesus healed a Roman centurion’s servant in Capernaum. “When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.’ Jesus said to him, ‘I will go and heal him’” (Matthew 8:5-7)
Above you can see the modern day Catholic Church which is built on top of the ruins of Peter's house. Ruins of houses from Jesus' time are in the foreground.
|Another style of olive press|
Capernaum was one of my favorite sites as it was the “home base” of Jesus during his years of ministry. It was awesome standing on the floor of the White Synagogue, knowing that Jesus stood and taught in a synagogue whose floor was just three feet below where we were standing. Being in places where Jesus walked and taught on Earth was so uplifting and exciting! I hope you have a chance to visit the Holy Land some day.