Nazareth Vs. Capernaum

Next up, Luke 4:31-44.  Here, Jesus goes back to Capernaum, the place where he had been doing miracles that the people in Nazareth wanted done in Nazareth, and… He does more miracles.

The parallels here seem pretty obvious.  Jesus goes to the synagogue, on a Sabbath, and stands up to teach.  It doesn’t say what His message was, but “they were astonished at His teaching because His message had authority.”  And no negative remarks, apparently!  This message that Jesus had authority is consistent through the Gospels and a real encouragement to me of His divinity and truth—even his enemies acknowledged that He was actually accomplishing things.

Anyway, so He’s in the synagogue.  In Nazareth, they asked for a miracle, and in Capernaum, He actually did one: a man with a demonic spirit interrupted and accused Jesus of being a Nazarene and of being the Holy One of God.  And then Jesus does the miracle: he tells the demon to be quiet and come out.  And the demon comes out, without hurting him.

The people are all amazed and have ears for… his “message”.  They recognize the authority over demons, and it builds their interest in  his teaching.  And news spreads.  So the opposite of Nazareth in every way.

Then there was more.  He leaves the synagogue and goes to see Peter, whose mother-in-law was sick, and He showed His authority over sickness, and she responds by… serving.  She gets up and gets to work.  Then all the sick of Capernaum come, and He heals them all, and casts out more demons, but forbids them to tell that He is the Messiah.

I’m not sure here why he forbids them to tell, except that it seems a bad message to be heralded by demons, of all people, but it is interesting and confirming that they recognized Him right away.

Finally, He bids farewell to Capernaum, over the objections of the people.  They tried to stop Him leaving, but He says, “I must proclaim the good news about the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because  I was sent for this purpose.

This too seems to clearly echo His words in Nazareth, of being anointed “to preach good news to the poor”, “to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Jesus came with a message, the Gospel.  The same Gospel that was preached to Abraham, and the same Gospel Christians preach today.  He preached it even in Nazareth where it was rejected, and He preached it in Capernaum where the people accepted it eagerly.  The good, liberating, healing, enriching news of the kingdom of God, that God’s favor was at hand.

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