Widely known as the Home Town of Jesus, Capernaum (originally “Kfar Nahum”) is located by the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
To this day, you can still walk through the excavated sites of the village: the synagogue where Jesus preached, the remnants of the houses of His original followers, and the places where most of the written miracles were performed by Christ. It was also the home town of the apostles Peter, James, Andrew and John.
“When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea”. Matthew 4: 12-13
- Jesus established his home (ministry base) in the town of Capernaum (located on northern shore of the Sea of Galilee)
- 6 of the 12 disciples were from this region.
- Calmed the sea several times.
- Christ walked on water here several times.
- Fed 5,000 and 4,000 people (not counting women and children) on its shores.
- Christ preached the Sermon on the Mount here (most famous sermon of Christ)
- Cast the demons out of the herd of pigs.
- Christ did the majority of his miracles here.
- Miraculous catch of fish miracle performs by Jesus.
- Cursing of the unrepentant cities of Korazin, Bethsaida & Capernaum where Jesus did the majority of His miracles.
Capernaum - The site:
Capernaum later fell into ruin. A 3rd-century report called the town “despicable; it numbers only seven houses of poor fishermen”. It was later resettled but again fell into disrepair. The ruins lay undiscovered until 1838, when a visiting scholar gave this description: “The whole place is desolate and mournful…”
Today an ultra-modern Catholic church, perched on eight sturdy pillars, hovers protectively over an excavation site. It is believed to have been the site of Peter’s house, where Jesus would have lodged.
Archaeologists believe the house was in a small complex grouped around irregular courtyards. Drystone basalt walls would have supported a roof of tree branches covered with straw and earth — a fairly flimsy construction easily breached to lower a paralyzed man on a mat, as described in Mark 2:1-12.
Excavations show that one room in this interlinked complex had been singled out since the middle of the 1st century. Graffiti scratched on its plaster walls referred to Jesus as Lord and Christ (in Greek). It is suggested that this room was venerated for religious gatherings as a house church. If so, it would have been the first such example in the Christian world.
In 5th century an octagonal church was built around this venerated room. The present church, dedicated in 1990, repeats the octagonal shape.
Near the church, a partly reconstructed synagogue is believed to have been built on the foundations of the synagogue in which Jesus taught.
Erected in the 4th or 5th centuries, this impressive structure with ornately carved decorations is the largest synagogue discovered in Israel.
Its white limestone, carted from a distant quarry, contrasts with the local black basalt of the synagogue Christ knew. That original synagogue was built by a Roman centurion, the same centurion who had his servant healed after a declaration of faith that amazed Jesus (Luke 7:1-10).
From the Bible:
- Matthew 4:12 NIV – When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” from that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
- Matthew 4:18 NIV – As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.
- Luke 8:22 NIV – One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake. “So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?”
- Matthew 14:22 NIV – Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.
- John 6:1 NIV – sometime after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias).
- Matthew 15:29 NIV – Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down.
- Matthew 5:1 NIV – Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him.
- Matthew 8:32 NIV – He said to them, “Go!” so they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water.
- John 21:1 NIV – Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way:
- Matthew 11:21 NIV – “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.