Capernaum lays along the great trade route from Damascus to the Mediteranen coast and Egypt. The Romans installed toll booth here and it was this toll house that Jesus called Matthew (Levi). It was also here that Jesus paid the tribute money with the coin Peter took from the fish’s mouth (Matt 17:24-27). The foundation layer under the 2nd century A.D. visible part shown in the picture may have been built by the centurion (Luke 7:1-5) in which Jesus preached.
Capernaum witnessed more of Christ’s miracles than any other city: Peter’s mother-in-law healed; the centurion’s servant; the palsied man let down through the roof; a demoniac in the synagogue; the nobleman’s son; healing of the woman withthe issue of blood; the raising from the dead of the daughter of Jairus; the healing of the two blind men; the deliverance of the dumb demoniac; not to mention His great discourse of the bread of life (John 6:24-71; Mark 9:33-50). In spite of all that, Capernaum failed to repent of her sin and came under Christ’s woes of judgment (Matthew 11:23-24; Luke 10:15)
I’ll be there on Friday and will write more of my personal experiences when I return. [edit on 6/11/07 — now that I’ve been there, I’m even more struck by the closeness of this synagogue to Peter’s house. This photo was taken last week adds a lot of vivid reality to the simple statement from Luke 4:38, “and He arose and left the synagogue, and entered Simon’s home.”]