At Capernaum – known as Jesus’ “own town” (Matt. 9:1) – “walking where Jesus walked” takes on a thrilling new meaning. As you sit on the stone benches of Capernaum’s ancient synagogue, you’ll be reminded that right here, Jesus taught (Mark 1:21; John 6:59) and healed a man possessed by an evil spirit (Mark 1:23-27).
It was the synagogue on this very spot, whose foundations you can still see, which Luke says was built by the centurion whose servant Jesus later healed (Luke 7:3-5). Jesus also raised from the dead the daughter of this synagogue’s leader (Luke 8:49-53).
The ruins that surround you here, from homes with ordinary tools of daily life to intricately decorated stone carvings, are powerful reminders of Jesus’ prediction about this town (Matt. 11:23). A highlight is Peter’s house, where Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law (Matt. 8:14-15; Mark 1:29-31). Peter’s house was a simple dwelling, like many others that archaeologists have unearthed in this small fishing and farming village. But unlike the others, here Christian pilgrims over the centuries left no less than 131 inscriptions on the walls. Jesus’ name appears frequently, as does Peter’s, along with crosses, pilgrims’ names and blessings.
Eventually, in the mid-fourth century, a large church was built, whose mosaic floor you can still see, with Peter’s house as its centerpiece. Some years ago a modern church went up above the ruins. These walls, old and new, attest to the continuing reverence for the site of one of the best-loved healing stories of the Gospels, here in the heart of Capernaum, the center of Jesus’ Galilee ministry.