Capernaum Experiences

Jill & I at the synagogue in Capernaum

One of the most important towns in the ministry of Jesus Christ was the town of Capernaum. Jesus begins to talk in parables at Capernaum. The Centurion’s servant[1], the man with palsy who was lowered through the roof[2], the woman with the “issue of blood”[3], and the man with a withered hand[4] were all healed in this small fishing village.  Jairus’ daughter was raised from the dead[5] and Jesus invites Peter, Andrew, James and John to be “fishers of men”[6] in what becomes “Church Headquarters.”

One of my favorite stories involving Capernaum occurred after Jesus had feed the five-thousand[7]. It was the height of Jesus’ popularity and many followed  Him. He sent his apostles on to Capernaum by sea and followed seemingly avoiding the crowds. He began to teach in the synagogue of Capernaum when the crowds seem to catch up and say, in effect, “hey, we were looking for you.” To which Jesus replies, “Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled.”[8] They wanted another free meal.

Jesus then teaches what is known as the “Bread of Life” sermon.[9] In it he uses the strongest language thus far in declaring that He is the Son of God. That He hasn’t come to feed them physically or solve their political problems but to save them, and us, spiritually. The teaching acted as filter. Quickly, those who were not really committed, those who were there only when things were easy, when they could get a free meal, simply left. It was a hard doctrine and “From that time many of his disciples went back (home) and walked no more with him.”[10]

When Jesus sees this rejection, he asks the twelve, “Will ye also go away?”[11] I love Peter’s answer, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art the Son of the living God.”[12] What other option did he have if he really wanted eternal life? Peter, and the others who stayed, knew that there was only one way and nothing else mattered. They had all taken the steps to earn their own testimony. They had 1) come to see the Christ, 2) they had witnessed His power and authority and 3) they had committed to follow Him no matter what.

I believe we all have what I call “Capernaum Experiences”. When things are good, when trials are few and easy, when it is convenient for us, we are happy to follow. We are happy to say we believe and eat freely. But when real trials come, when hard doctrine is taught, when our will doesn’t match His, do we stay? Or do we “walk no more with Him?” If we truly believe and have faith;  if we have an “all-in” attitude about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, what other choice do we have? There is simply no other way.


[1] Matt. 8:1, 5-13, Luke 7:1-10

[2] Matt. 9:2-8, Mark 2:1-12, Luke 5:17-26

[3] Matt 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48

[4][4] Matt 12:9-14, Mark 3:1-6, Luke 6:6-11

[5] Matt 9:23-26, Mark 5:35-43, Luke 8:49-56

[6] Matt. 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20, Luke 5:1-11

[7] Matt. 14:14-21, Mark 6:34-44, Luke 9:11-17, John 6:1-2

[8] John 6:26

[9] John 6:22-59

[10] John 6:66

[11] John 6:67

[12] John 6:68-69

 

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4 Responses to Capernaum Experiences

  1. Keile says:

    Time for me to “get off the porch” Troy,…love what you write, my friend. Keep it up!

    • Troy says:

      Hey Keile! We all spend time on the porch from time to time in our lives…all of us. I suppose the secret is to regroup and get moving again. Thanks for the kind words.

  2. Kaye Nichols says:

    Wow! I go on Deseret News and find pictures and comments from people I know
    in OREGON. Even Molalla!
    As Paul used to quip, the Utah Transit Authority is studying how the Mormon Church is able to get people to sit in the back.
    Keep up the blog. Some people really do read them.

    We are sorry we missed you guys while we were in Oregon, and you were in your
    homeland of Israel.

    • Troy says:

      Hey, it’s my favorite clerk EVER! Hope all is well. We still remember your report on your trip. Thanks for the nice words.

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