Summary: Although Jerusalem was the center of worship for Israel, Capernaum was the center of Jesus' ministry. This 4th of my talks on my trip to Israel focuses on the contrast between what Jesus did in Jerusalem and what He did in Capernaum for His 1st two yrs
(Opened with a video of me singing “Amazing Grace” at St. Anne Cathedral in Jerusalem)
What we’re going to do tonight is visit two cities in Israel – Jerusalem and Capernaum. What you just saw was my singing “Amazing Grace” at St. Anne’s Cathedral in Jerusalem. And we’ll talk more about that church in a few moments.
As I was preparing tonight’s lesson there was something that caught my attention. I noticed that Matthew Mark and Luke paid virtually no attention to Jerusalem for the first 2 years of Jesus’ ministry. It isn’t until the last week of His life before His crucifixion that Jerusalem gets any focus in their Gospels.
Most of what we know of Jesus’ ministry in Jerusalem during those first 2 years comes from the book of John… and even then there’s very little focus on things that Jesus DID. Most of what John focuses on are the things that Jesus taught.
It’s in the book of John that we read these statements Jesus made in Jerusalem:
I am the bread of life (John 6:35)
I am the light of the world (John 8:12)
Before Abraham was I am (John 8:58)
I am the gate for the sheep (John 10:7)
I am the good shepherd (John 10:11)
I and the Father are one (John 10:30)
I am God’s Son (John 10:36)
I am the resurrection and the life. (John 11:25)
The way the truth and the life (John 14:6)
I am the vine, you are the branches (John 15:5)
Unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins (John 8:24)
And most of these statements are meant to goad the leadership in Jerusalem to oppose Him because of His overt claims. It’s kind of like what happens at a bull fight. The toreador will gore the bull with sharp sticks in order to madden the bull and make him angry enough to fight. From the very beginning of Jesus’ teaching in Jerusalem that’s His objective: to draw the religious leaders into opposition that will ultimately lead to the crucifixion 3 years later.
But there are at least 3 incidents that occur in Jerusalem during the first year of Jesus ministry: He meets with Nicodemus, He clears out the temple, and he heals the man at the pool of Bethsaida.
(Showed two artists’ renderings of what Jerusalem would have looked like in the days of Jesus)
These are artists’ renderings of how Jerusalem may have looked in the days of Jesus. In the first of these you see how the city was laid out (I pointed out some interesting highlights). In the 2nd you’ll notice that the Temple (the white building at top center) dominates the city and Jerusalem is teaming with life.
(Showed two graphic of the “Pool at Bethsaida”)