Welcome back, pilgrims! So glad you’ve joined me today in Capernaum (in Hebrew the title means border, between Galilee, Decropolis, and Golan Heights).
Capernaum was the center of Jesus’ activities in the Galilee and his town during that time. Jesus taught in the local synagogue. It was also the hometown of the apostles Peter, James, Andrew, and John and the tax collector, Matthew. Jesus began his ministry in Capernaum; two-thirds of his miracles happened here.
For three years, he demonstrated God’s power, healed, taught. The synagogue leaders were lovingly instructed by Jesus, yet they still didn’t get it: He condemned them. In Jesus’ day, the centurion had the role of border police, monitoring the day-to-day visitors and business travel. Jesus did not walk through the city of Tiberius, as it was an unclean city built over graves. Not only was this practice unthinkable, but it was also unclean for the Jews. All Jews went through Capernaum to avoid Tiberius.
AD 137 Hadrian destroyed all of Jerusalem and built a square Roman city—no Jews were allowed. A synagogue was built over Peter’s house glass over ruins; all these synagogues face south toward Jerusalem. This is the same synagogue, packed with a crowd to hear Jesus’ teaching, where four friends tore apart the roof, lowered their lame friend from the rooftop to be healed by Jesus (Mark 2:4, Luke 5:19).
According to Wikipedia, “The Golan Heights is a plateau bordering the Yarmouk River in the south, the Sea of Galilee and Hula Valley in the west, Mount Hermon in the north, and the Raqqad Wadi in the east. Throughout the Old Testament the Golan was the “focus of a power struggle between the Kings of Israel and the Aramaeans who were based near modern-day Damascus.”
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s stop: the Sea of Galilee.