Summary: Capernaum – an unexpected entrance – sermon by Gordon Curley PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:

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(1). Capernaum Facts & Trivia

(2). The People Involved.

• The friends.

• The paralysed man.

• The Scribes and Pharisees.

• Jesus.



• In 1885 Anne Isabella Ritchie, came up with the phrase ;

• "Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day; teach him how to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime,"

• Wise words;

• But as always there is always some wit who has an alternative take on those words:

“Cook a man a fish and you feed him for a day.

But teach a man to fish and you get rid of him for the whole weekend.”

“Teach a man to fish,

and you can sell him a ton of accessories…rod, line, bait, keep net etc.”

“Teach a man to fish and you've fed him for a lifetime ...

unless, of course, he doesn't like sushi -- then you also need to teach him how to cook.“

“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.

Teach a man to fish and he will store bait in the fridge.”

“Teach a man to get a job, and he can buy fish at the shop.”

• TRANSITION: Those alternatives are of course tongue-in-cheek.

• Now in our travels with Jesus we have arrived at Capernaum;

• Capernaum was a fishing village with a population of about 1,500 people.

(1). Capernaum Facts & Trivia


• Capernaum was a fishing village established during the time of the Hasmoneans,

• You can see a reconstruction of it in the photograph.

• Capernaum was located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

• It is located below sea level, and is 10 miles (16 kilometres) from Tiberius.

• This next photo shows the type of view Jesus would have looked out at,

• The topography, the lay of the land remains very much the same.


• The name Capernaum comes from two Hebrew words;

• ‘Kapar’, meaning village (It was of sufficient size to be a large town or city)

• And the name ‘Nahum’ (naham), meaning either sorrow, repentance or comfort.

• (and as far as we know nothing to do with the prophet Nahum).


• Capernaum is not mentioned in the Old Testament;

• Because archaeological evidence indicates;

• The town did not begin until the 2nd century B.C.


• Capernaum was a large Galilean fishing village and busy trading centre.

• The main trade route from Syria to Egypt went through Galilee,

• And Capernaum acted as a tax station;

• It was here Levi (Matthew who became a disciple) had his tax-booth;

• (Matthew chapter 9 verse 9).

• It was a good station to be at, besides regular taxes paid by residents;

• Travellers had to stop, present their imported products to the tax official,

• And pay their taxes,

• Herod Antipas kept a military garrison of Roman soldiers at Capernaum;

• Under the command of a Roman centurion.


• Peter, Andrew, James and John also lived in Capernaum;

• It was here Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law.

• And in Capernaum that Jesus called them to became his disciples.


• The ancient city of Capernaum was abandoned about a thousand years ago or more,

• And was rediscovered by archaeologists beginning in the 1800s.

• In modern times, it is called Kefar Nahum (Hebrew) and Talhum (Arabic).

• The Bible tells us that a Roman centurion built a synagogue in Capernaum for the Jews;

• (Luke chapter 7 verses 1-5).

• The remains of the basalt synagogue has been discovered by archaeologists.

• And it is a popular stop on the tourist trail.

• The ruins of this building, are among the oldest synagogues in the world,

• The synagogue appears to have been built around the 4th or 5th century.

• Beneath the foundation of this synagogue lies another foundation;

• So you have two ancient synagogues built one over the other

• Many experts suggest that this earlier one;

• Is the foundation of a synagogue from the 1st century,

• Perhaps the one mentioned in the Gospels.


• After Jesus was rejected and forced out of Nazareth;

• Capernaum became his “own city.”

• Maybe he lived in a house as pictured in the slide,

• Matthew chapter 4 verse 13 tells us that Jesus moved from Nazareth to live in Capernaum.

• This implies that he either purchased a house or shared a house with someone.

• In either case there would be a house in Capernaum that could be referred to as "his,"

• They have found ruins of an old house;

• A simple first-century A.D. home that may have been the house of Peter,

• The home of Jesus or any of the thousands of other residents!

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