- Religion and Philosophy
Miracles at Capernaum
The Land Where Jesus Performed Most of His Miracles
Jesus spent a lot of his earthly ministry in one village: Capernaum. The Old Testament prophesied that he would spend much of his time there. He performed a lot of miracles in that area. Although the people saw great and mighty things in that region, the people refused to repent and believe.
This page reflects on the miracles that happened here. As you look at the mighty works that Jesus did, ask yourself if you are like that city, whose people saw mighty things yet did not believe, or if you recognize the hand of God in the things of your life and believe.
Photo by Nesster.
Capernaum in Prophecy
The fact that Jesus would spend much of his ministry in Capernaum is listed in prophecy. Although Capernaum is not listed by name, the Bible does say (in Isaiah 9:1-2):
Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed,
As when at first He lightly esteemed
The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
And afterward more heavily oppressed her,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
In Galilee of the Gentiles,
The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.
In Matthew 4:12-17, we see that Jesus fulfilled that prophecy. Matthew 4:13 says "And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali". Capernaum was in exact spot where Isaiah said that the light would shine. The miracles that Jesus performed in the area brought light to a place of spiritual darkness.
The Miraculous Catch of Fish
One of the first miracles that Jesus performed in Capernaum was allowing the future disciples to catch a miraculous catch of fish. He asked Simon (who would later be renamed Peter) to take him out in the boat. From the boat, he taught the crowds in Capernaum. He then told Simon to sail his boat into deeper water, and let down his net.
They had not had any luck the previous night, but they obeyed the Lord anyway. Out of the boat came so much fish that the net was about to break. They had to get their fisherman partners to help them with another boat.
The Sermon on the Mount
While it may not qualify as a miracle, Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount to the people living in Capernaum. The sermon is so powerful, even non-Christians draw from many of its teachings even today (although they may not realize it). When he was finished speaking, "the people were astonished at His teachings, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." (Matthew 7:28-29)
Peter's Mother-in-Law Healed
When Peter's mother-in-law was sick, Jesus came to visit him. All He had to do was touch her hand, and the fever left her. He could have, of course, made the fever go away without touching her, but that's how He chose to heal her in that instance.
Healing Peter's mother-in-law was only the warm-up for the main event. That evening, many other people came to Him for healing and to have demons cast out of them.
The Paralytic was Healed
One time in Capernaum, Jesus was in a room that was crowded with people seeking healing. There were so many people getting healed, that some friends of a paralytic took the roof off of a house in order to lower him into the house and seek healing. Jesus told him to rise, take up his bed, and walk, and that his sins were forgiven as well.
The people were "amazed and glorified God, saying 'We never saw anything like this!" (Mark 2:12)
Woman with Issue of Blood Healed
Jesus was teaching in Capernaum one day when a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years decided to seek healing from him. She thought to herself, if she could just touch his clothes, she could be healed. Although the crowds were thick that day, Jesus knew that when she touched him she was healed. He asked who touched Him. The lady fessed up to touching him, and he told her that her faith had made her well.
Jesus Raises a Girl from the Dead
While Jesus was teaching in Capernaum (on the same day that he healed the lady with the issue of blood), a man named Jairus approached him. His little girl was sick. While Jesus traveled to his house to heal her, she died. He told them not to be afraid, but to believe. He sent everybody away except Peter, James, John, and the parents. He grabbed her by the hand and told her to arise, and she did. She was not allowed to tell anybody.
Ever wonder where all these places in the Bible are? Then and Now Bible Maps can help. Plastic overlays will show you the modern cities of today aligned with the cities of Bible times. This can be a helpful study aid.
Jesus Heals Two Blind Men
Another day when Jesus was in Capernaum, two blind men started following him, asking for mercy. He asked these blind men if they believed that He could heal them, and when they said that they believed, He healed them.
They weren't supposed to tell others who healed them, but they went around and told others that Jesus healed him anyway.
Jesus Heals the Dumb Demoniac
The same day that Jesus healed the two blind men, Jesus ran into people who couldn't speak and were demon-possessed. When Jesus cast out the demon, the man was able to speak again. People that saw that he had been healed marveled. Although many were amazed at his ability to cast out demons, some people were skeptical. The Pharisees proclaimed that "He casts out demons by the ruler of demons." (Matthew 9:34) They were saying that Jesus using Satan to cast out demons.
Jesus Heals a Man with a Withered Hand
As the ministry of Jesus progressed, not everybody liked him. Some of the religious people saw him on a Sabbath in the synagogue. There was a man with a withered hand in the synagogue on the same day. The religious leaders tried to trick Him, asking Him if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath. He asked them if they would save a lost sheep on the Sabbath. The Bible doesn't record if they answered Him, but Jesus continued, saying that people were more important than sheep. He told the man to stretch out his hand, and Jesus healed him. From that point on, the Pharisees thought about ways to destroy him.
A Fish Gives Jesus His Tax Money
One day in Capernaum, the temple tax collectors asked if Jesus paid tax. They were trying to find a way to accuse Him and get Him into trouble. Jesus did pay the tax though. He didn't take the tax money out of the treasury though. He told Peter to go catch a fish. Inside the fish's mouth was a coin that was worth enough to pay both His and Peter's taxes.
Jesus is the Bread from Heaven
On the other side of the sea from Capernaum, Jesus fed thousands of people with five loaves of barley and two fish. After he fed all those people, he had the disciples row their boat to the other side of the lake while he prayed. That was the night that there was a storm and Jesus walked on water. The next morning, Jesus gave a lecture about how he was the bread of Heaven.
Many of the people there had heard of the miracle the previous day, but when they heard of Jesus talking about bread that you could eat and never hunger, they didn't understand him. After hearing those words, many of His followers left him. Only a small group of disciples were left.
Jesus Rebukes Capernaum
There seemed to be a change in the way that the people reacted to Jesus after he healed the two blind men. Jesus told the blind men not to tell others about what he had done, but they did anyway. Immediately after that, the people and religious leaders started acting differently. You can see in some of the above examples how the religious leaders accused Him of using Satan to cast out demons, seeing if He'll heal on the Sabbath, and asking if he collects taxes.
Jesus warned the people of Capernaum that judgement was coming for their disbelief. He mentions Chorazin and Bethsaida; those were locations around Capernaum. Jesus said that if the people in Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom had seen the miracles that Jesus performed, they would have repented. The people of Capernaum remained hard-hearted. Judgement day would be difficult for these people.
Although Capernaum was a place that could attract thousands of people to hear Jesus speak, and at one time amassed huge crowds of people who were seeking healing from Jesus, Capernaum is nothing today. A friend of a friend has been to modern-day Capernaum, and he says that there's not much to the place today - just a boat dock. Evidently there are also ruins, archaeological digs, and a few tourist sites. What happened? Jesus cursed the place for their unbelief.
Although many of us have not seen modern-day miracles like some of these in the Bible, most of us have seen minor miracles. I remember one time, I left my wallet on the top of my car and drove off. My dh went back to try to find my wallet. He did... after the wallet fell off the top of my car, all of the cards flew out of the wallet and were strewn all over the road. Miraculously, he found almost every single card. The only card that he didn't find was my Safeway shopper's card. I've had relatives and friends that were healed of cancer or of their need for a heart stint with no medical intervention. You can also read about the time I thought that I would lose my car in the ocean in my lens about The Ultimate Road Trip.
When we see miracles in our lives, do we shrug them off like the people of Capernaum? Or do we believe?