Capernaum: Mark 2:1-2

Horsham 8th January 2024

1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard hat he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. (NIV)

A few verses ago, Jesus declared his purpose. ‘Let us go […] to the nearby villages – so that I can preach there also. That is why I have come.’ (1:38). His purpose, in these early days of his recorded ministry, is to preach. Here we see Jesus, returning to the lakeside town – to preach.

You’ve probably heard that sermon where someone says ‘if Jesus walked into this town, or even into this Church, what kind of reception would he get.’ The point is that people might miss the point, even reject Jesus. They might be people who ‘hear but do not understand; who see but never perceive.’ (Isaiah 6: 9).

Here we are in Capernaum. This was Jesus’ home town (Matthew 4:13). This is the place where the visible ministry of Jesus begins.  His healings are legendary. People are flocking to see him – so many that there’s no room left in his yard or his house. People desperate to see more drama. People desperate to see healings. They’re watching – but they’re not understanding that this is the Son of God. The celebrity healer is back in town and they want a piece of that action.

Yet faced with this crowd of people in his own home, what does the celebrity healer do? He preaches the Word of God. So now we have the people of Capernaum listening, but are they hearing?

“No city in Palestine appears to have enjoyed so much of the Lord’s presence during His earthly ministry as did this city. […] But nothing Jesus said or did seems to have had any effect on the hearts of the inhabitants.” (i)

Here is a town where, one bright day, Jesus, the Son of God turned up. Over an extended period of time He performed miraculous healings. He brought the word of God. For the most part, the people of Capernaum listened, but they didn’t hear. They saw, but they didn’t understand.

23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.[e] For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” Matthew 11: 23-24 (NIV)

So, while we’re on the subject, imagine that Jesus walked into this town. How would you react?  What kind of reception would He get in your town?

(i) Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Mark, Ryle, Aneko Press, p19

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