Jesus with Simon in Capernaum
When Jesus journeyed back north to Galilee, the two brothers accompanied him, joined by two others - Philip and Nathaniel. Eventually, twelve disciples would follow him.
They went first to Cana in Galilee, and at a wedding Jesus turned water into wine (illustrated in relief at right). Then they returned to Capernaum on the shore of the lake.
Simon's house in Capernaum was Jesus' home during much of his public ministry. Undoubtedly, Jesus loved it there. One of his first miracles was worked in the little cluster of houses where Peter's family lived. He cured Simon's mother-in-law of a high fever simply by his touch.
From then on, Simon's house became a place where people came whenever Jesus was there. Not only from the town itself but from places all along the lake and from the towns beyond, the blind, the deaf, the lame and paralyzed flocked to that house and they were made well. Soon, Capernaum was known throughout the land for something more important than its climate and the abundance of its crops: Jesus Christ was there.
For many reasons, Simon's house and the town itself made an almost ideal setting for the beginnings of Jesus' ministry.
Capernaum was far from Jerusalem, where new religious figures were treated suspiciously by the religious establishment. And unlike Nazareth, intolerant of the outside world, it was a place where new things could be said and done. (at right: ruins at Capernaum)
Besides, the Roman commander of the local garrison and the ruler of the local synagogue were friendly to Jesus. And even if Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, nervously eyed the new prophet from his nearby capitol city of Tiberias, the border of another territory was only three miles away.
For a while, as increasing numbers of people came to see and hear the new prophet, Simon, Andrew and their friends continued fishing as they had always done, for habits of a lifetime don't easily change. This was especially true of Simon, a person of set ways and convictions. Even more than the other men of Capernaum, he was a man steeped in custom, a practical man concerned for his business and his family. But then one day his settled life was changed.
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