The Synagogue In Capernaum

Although Jesus’ hometown was Nazareth, he eventually relocated his ministry to Capernaum (Matthew 4:12-16). It was a strategic move for Jesus to make his home base for ministry a city that sat on one of the major thoroughfares through the region. While there are several events that happen in the city of Capernaum, there are a few that revolve around its synagogue.

Mark 1:21-28 (c.f. Luke 4:31-43) recounts the story of Jesus casting an unclean spirit out of one of the synagogue members. Matthew 8:5-13 tells us that there was a Roman Centurion based in Capernaum who helped the Jews build the synagogue in their town. He has a miraculous encounter with Jesus and Jesus marvel’s at his faith. The most famous passage is John 6:26-69; it contains Jesus’ famous “Bread of Life” discourse he delivered while in the synagogue.

The ruins of the synagogue in Capernaum today date back to the late 4th century – several hundred years after Jesus’ ministry there. However, it appears that when the 4th century A.D. synagogue was built, it was constructed atop the foundation of the previous synagogue from the time of Jesus in the 1st century A.D..

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