Christ's Condemnation Of Capernaum

J. D. Conley
June 12, 2016

Capernaum was a city located on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was only fifteen miles southwest from where Jesus grew up in Nazareth, indicating the Lord was very familiar with the city of Capernaum. In fact, Capernaum became His "home away from home," and served as His home base throughout His ministry. Many times as He ventured forth to preach and teach, He would return to Capernaum. The last four letters of this city spell, "Naum," suggesting it was named after a man named Nahum, although it cannot be proved it was named after the Old Testament prophet. The city was situated along a major east-west highway and trade route making it a busy city of commerce.

But not only did Jesus live at Capernaum, so did the apostle Peter and his family, (Luke 4:38). Its even possible that Jesus lived with Peter and his family, (Matthew 4:13-16). When one considers the city of Capernaum it is recognized that it was a renowned city, a place Jesus chose to live, it was a city He obviously loved. But it was also a city where He performed several miracles, viz., the healing of the centurion's servant; Peter’s mother-in-law, the paralytic man of (Mark 2), and the healing of the nobleman’s son, (John 4). Therefore, the marvelous things this city was privy to are simply astounding! The Son of God lived there, He walked and worked within their very midst! Yet in spite of that rare and tremendous blessing, Capernaum was condemned by the Christ. Hear His tragic words, "And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you. That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee" (Matthew 11:23-24).

Is this not saying something? Capernaum was condemned because they had living among them the very Son of God Himself, and the knew it! They had seen His miracles, they had heard His sublime teachings, they had witnessed His daily righteous interactions and deportment. But in spite of it all the citizens of Capernaum chose to be the denizens of the Devil. They would not repent of their sins, though the Savior was at their side. We shout, WHY?! Maybe they were jaded. Maybe they had gotten use to seeing and hearing Jesus. Maybe His miracles just didn't excite them any longer. Perhaps they simply didn’t care, they enjoyed sinning and did not want to stop. Whatever they were engaged in must have been especially repugnant to the Lord, because He said if Sodom had been blessed the way Capernaum had been blessed, Sodom would still exist. Then the Lord adds, "it shall me more tolerable [lenient] in the day of judgment, than for thee."

The conduct of Capernaum was inexcusable. This is cause for serious reflection. Christians have far more evidence of the Deity of Christ than did the people of Capernaum. We know the rest of His life, e.g., His death, burial and resurrection, His ascension, the establishment of His church, the possession of His New Testament, and all spiritual blessings through Him. But, if we reject Him, our punishment will be worse than that of Capernaum’s. May we see that the greater the opportunity spumed, the greater the consequences to be suffered.