Summary: Luke 7:1-10 holds a surprise! What about that town of Capernaum? And, there's even more that will have to wait for another time. You might want to study some recent archaeological discoveries in Capernaum to augment what you find below. This sermon i
Oh, Little Town of….
A cop pulls over a car full of nuns. The cop said, “Sister, this is a 65 mile-per-hour highway. Why are you going so slow? The speed limit is 65.”
“Sir,” the sister replied, “I saw a lot of signs that read 22, not 65.”
The cop laughed and said, “Oh, sister, that’s not the speed limit, that’s the name of the highway you’re on.”
Sister said, “Oh! Silly me! Thanks for letting me know. I’ll be more careful.”
The cop looks in the backseat where the other nuns are shaking and trembling. “Excuse me, Sister. What’s wrong with your friends back there? They’re shaking something terrible.”
“Sorry officer, we just got off highway 119.”
What does the policeman do now? There’s evidence that something happened even though he was not there to witness it. Without question, the officer was surprised that action was taken on misunderstood information.
We have an officer involved in today’s scripture of Luke 7:1 through 10. Jesus went to Capernaum, which is a fishing village on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. It’s a small town of fifteen-hundred. The synagogue was a major feature of this town just as churches populate rural communities today. This City is believed to be Peter’s home. Other notable disciples with roots in this Community were James and John, plus Andrew and Matthew who was a tax collector.
The location of this story is important because every community has a personality, spirit or attitude. Capernaum’s citizens so inspired the occupying Roman Officer that he personally bought them a new synagogue. That was some kind of attitude to cause a man who was not from there to make such an investment in the life of the community that he would make a major contribution to build the church a new building.
There are other remarkable facts about Capernaum, a two-century-old town at Jesus’ arrival. There were no defensive walls around the town. The people were industrious since archeologist have found many oil and grain mills. They fished the lake, or Sea of Galilee, and signs of a strong agrarian society were discovered. Contrary to other cities, no evidence has been found that this Community involved themselves in the bloody Jewish revolts against the Romans. Even Josephus, a Jewish general during an earlier revolt, was taken there after he fell from his horse in conflict in nearby Bethsaida. This General called Capernaum “a fertile spring.” And, this town was never a part of the first Jewish revolt of 66 through 70 and the Romans left the people alone and did not occupy it after the revolt. Yes, the Romans ended their occupation, which was out of their character since conquest of lands and people is what they believed greatness was.
Archeological evidence shows that over the centuries, other synagogues were built to keep up with the spiritual needs of the people. The church was the center of activities.
You likely gather that this was a religious community where citizens had and practiced their God-given code of conduct. This is a place where citizens were expected to uphold the reputation of their town by being what they were expected to be. Capernaum was a good place to live and raise a family, and even an excellent place to find disciples.
Does this give you an idea as to why Yeshua would visit this place to call disciples to Him?
Matthew 4:13 gives further insight about how the people of this small City accepted Messiah. The passage reads, “And he left Nazareth, and came and settled in Capernaum, by the seaside within the borders of Zebulun and Napthali, so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, saying, O land of Zebulum, O land of Napthali, the way to the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles! The people who dwelt in darkness saw a great light, and upon those who dwelled in the country and in the midst of the shadow of death, light shone. This is when He, Jesus, called Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, saying to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
It appears that Jesus enjoyed going there and teaching in the synagogue, because while there on one of his journeys, he healed a man.
Any community the size of Capernaum needed no newspaper or radio station. News traveled faster than it could be printed, so you know that every time the Master was in town, they turned out to hear Him. This was the case, again in this place, of the paralytic man who was lowered through the roof by friends so Jesus would heal him.
It’s true, Capernaum responded well to Yeshua’s teaching while Nazareth did not. Apparently Nazareth, the home of the Nazarenes, was not quite ready to change even though Christ was raised among them. Did such rejection frustrate Yeshua? John 4:44, reads, “For Yeshua had been testifying that a Prophet is not honored in his city.”