Summary: Nazareth was Jesus’ hometown, but when Nazareth rejected Him, he went down to Capernaum. That would be His headquarters until the day that He made His last trip to Jerusalem.
Harmony of the Gospels
Moves to Capernaum
Nazareth was Jesus’ hometown, but when Nazareth rejected Him, he went down to Capernaum. That would be His headquarters until the day that He made His last trip to Jerusalem. Capernaum appears in prophecies of His first coming. One such prophesy is in Isaiah 9:1-2, “Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shinned.”
So much of Jesus’ ministry took place in the area called The Galilee. He was raised in Nazareth, and it was His first headquarters, but when Nazareth rejected Him, He moved His headquarters to Capernaum. Both towns are in The Galilee. The Jews despised the area, because gentiles had congregated there. Jerusalem was the snobbish, religious center, in that day, But Jesus would go there only for the feasts. He had come to seek and to save those that were lost and the religious of Jerusalem were too much into the letter of the law to believe in Him.
The Galilee was a place where the Old Testament, and paganism from the outside, mingled and mixed. When the Lord Jesus began His ministry there, the people did see a great light. They saw Jesus Christ, the light of the world. “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12) The first two verses of Isaiah 9, refer to the first coming of Christ, and to His Galileaen ministry.
This prophesy by Isaiah was mentioned by Matthew, in the forth chapter of his gospel.
Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zebulon and Nephthalim. (Matthew 4:12-13)
Jesus left Jerusalem, when Herod threw John the Baptist into prison, and went to Galilee. Nazareth, His hometown, had rejected him, so He made Capernaum His headquarters until He made His final trip to Jerusalem-to be crucified.
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Naphthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. (Matthew 4:14-16)
This is the prophecy from Isaiah 9:1-2. The area was called Galilee of the Gentiles, because many people had migrated there from out of the Roman Empire. There was a resort area around the Sea of Galilee, and the people that lived there were far from God. They were wicked and worldly.
These people were blessed, because they received more of the great light of Jesus Christ than any other area, and Capernaum more than any other city. With light comes responsibility, but they never responded to Him like they should have. That is why Jesus pronounced judgement upon the people of this area, “Then he began to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they responded not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgement, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exhaled unto heaven, shall be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgement, than for thee. (Matthew 11:20-24)
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Mathew 4:17)
The message that Jesus preached, at the beginning of His ministry was the same one that John the Baptist preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The kingdom of heaven was at hand in the person of Jesus Christ. The Kingdom of Heaven is the reign of the heavens over the earth. This will occur in the future at Christ’s Second Coming. Israel will go through eternity, right here on earth and Jesus Christ will reign over them, because He will set on the throne of David. The church has a different future. We have a heavenly hope. The New Testament declares a heavenly hope for all that are born again, and the Old Testament promises Israel an earthly home, where Christ will rule over them. Both of these promises are truly wonderful to anticipate.