I’m on the second week of having Guest Blogger, Chris Collins, sharing about his experience in Israel. You can read his first post about the trip HERE. I will be sharing about the trip from my point of view soon – I just need to dedicate some time to sit down and write about it. Anyway, here is this week’s Israel Post:
The Synagogue at Capernaum
One of the most meaningful places we stopped around the Sea of Galilee was in Capernaum. Capernaum was Jesus’ headquarters for His ministry in Galilee. The Gospel of Matthew calls it “his own city.” He spent a lot of time there teaching in the synagogue and performed many miracles. There He healed a centurion’s servant, Peter’s mother-in-law, and He cast out demons from “many who were oppressed” and “healed all who were sick.” (Matthew 8:16) He also healed the paralytic man whose four friends lowered him through the roof of the house where Jesus was teaching.
The most meaningful experience during our visit to Capernaum was sitting in the synagogue where Jesus taught many times. We sat in the very seats that people sat in to listen to Jesus. Much of the synagogue has been destroyed or just fell apart over time and was just recently rebuilt in the last century. But a small portion of it is still the original synagogue, built by the centurion whose servant Jesus healed.
As we sat there we thought about the reactions of people to Jesus’ teaching. “He teaches with real authority, and not like our scribes,” they thought. And so He did, because He is God. In John 6, following the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus spoke in Capernaum to the people who had followed Him seeking more food. He said, “I am the bread of life. What you really need most is spiritual food, not physical.” When He said that they had to eat his flesh and drink his blood to experience this spiritual food, many complained that this was a “hard saying.” And many of them turned away and stopped following Him.
In the end, though Capernaum had the best opportunities to hear Jesus teach and see His miracles, they did not receive Him as their Messiah. And Jesus condemned them saying, “And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead. For if the miracles I did for you had been done in wicked Sodom, it would still be here today.”
It is not enough to just see and hear Jesus. We must receive Him. We must believe what He says and follow Him with our lives.