“Jesus at Capernaum!
First Presbyterian Church of Blackwood
21 E. Church Street
Blackwood, NJ 08012
Sermon Notes (Sunday, July 3rd, 2022)
Rev. Dr. Mouris A. Yousef, Pastor
“Jesus at Capernaum!
Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 10:13-15
As you get to the main gate of the town of Capernaum, there stands a gigantic sign that reads, “Welcome to Capernaum: The Town of Jesus!” Located only 30 miles northeast of Nazareth, Capernaum became the adopted home of Jesus during His Galilean ministry, hearing much of His teaching and seeing many of His miracles. Capernaum witnessed the greatest sermons ever preached. Capernaum witnessed the greatest miracles ever performed.
Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount on a hillside near Capernaum. It was in Capernaum that Jesus healed the centurion’s son (Matthew 8:5-13), the nobleman’s son (John 4:46-53), Simon Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:30-31), and the paralytic (Matthew 9:1-2). In Capernaum, Jesus cast out an unclean spirit (Mark 1:21-25), raised Jairus’s daughter to life, and healed the woman with the bleeding issue (Mark 5:21-42).
No spot on earth was graced with more sermons and more miracles than the town of Jesus, than Capernaum. No city or town on earth was ever given the honor to be called the “Town of Jesus” Matthew 9:1. As we reflect on the time of Christ at Capernaum and His encounter with the people there, let me offer a couple observations on this Communion Sunday:
First: Capernaum: a Town of Opposites
One could say that Capernaum was a town of opposites. It’s a place of great faith and also a place of a lack of faith. Capernaum is very much like us. Sometimes we are people of faith and other times, we struggle with our faith. Capernaum is very much like our world today. Every day we get to see people who take their relationship with the Lord very seriously while others have totally neglected their spiritual needs and the spiritual needs of their families.
On one hand, Capernaum is where the Roman centurion lived and of whom Christ said, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith” Matthew 8:10. But on the other hand, there were many in Capernaum who rejected Christ’s message and cared less about it.
In the midst of Capernaum stood a great synagogue that Jesus taught at very often. It’s called “The White Synagogue” because it was built from the limestone. In fact, the ruins of that synagogue are still in Capernaum till this very day. The presence of the synagogue means that the people of Capernaum were very religious, yet they failed to recognize the Son of God who had been in their midst.
As we examine the narratives of the gospel regarding Capernaum, we cannot miss Christ’s frustration and disappointment of the people of Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida. Luke 10:13-15 is one of those Scripture passage where Jesus spelled out His disappointment and discouragement. “And you, Capernaum,” Jesus says, “will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades.
The cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum received much but repented little. Capernaum was supposed to be exalted to heaven because it was the adopted home of Jesus during the days of His Galilean ministry, hearing much of His teaching and seeing many of His miracles, yet, because of the people’s unrepented heart, it will be brough down to Hades. Today’s message calls us to examine our hearts least we ourselves become like the unrepented people of Capernaum.
Second: To Whom Much is Given, Much Will Be Required
The story of Christ and His ministry at Capernaum reminds us of a great spiritual principle. Jesus stated this principle in Luke 12:48, “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required, and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.” To whom much has been given, much will be required.
The people of Capernaum represent many of us who have been exposed to the gospel, but haven’t changed much. They listened to the best sermons and witnessed the greatest miracles done, yet they failed to fully embrace the message of Christ. Capernaum had a greater opportunity than most cities to hear and believe in Christ, and the residents would be held to a higher standard of judgment. Likewise, as Christians, we will be judged according to the light we’ve been given.
Friends, once more, we have the choice to either be like the Roman centurion and like Peter Andrew, and Matthew, all from Capernaum and all embraced the fullness of Christ’s call, or be like the rest of the people of Capernaum. Capernaum reminds us not to miss the great opportunity before us. Capernaum reminds us not to sit on the fence. There were many people in Capernaum who probably liked Rabbi Jesus, but they never translated their love to a commitment. May God grant us wisdom and courage, lest we miss God’s Kingdom goal. May we never forget that to whom mush is given, much will be required. In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!
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