“And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali…” (Matthew 4:13)
In my studies for “The Red-Letters” – Thoughts on the Words of Jesus (@ the HeartSeekerblog.wordpress.com [shameless plug!]) I keep running into a fact that captures my interest.
Out of all the towns, villages, and cities in all of Israel, Jesus chose to make Capernaum His home. Why??
I have come to discover that God does nothing without a purpose. So there must be a really good reason behind Capernaum as Jesus’ choice for the homebase of His ministry in Galillee.
Not only was Capernaum a thriving little village (located on the Sea of Galillee) but I discovered that it’s very name was tremendously significant.
Capernaum, in Hebrew, means: “Village of Comfort.”
If we understand anything about Jesus we know that He came to fulfill God’s promise of the Messiah – and as the Savior of all the world’s people.
In those days, there was no New Testament (the New Covenant had not yet been established) so people had to glean their information about the Messiah from “the Law and the prophets” (what we know as the Old Testament).
One of the primary sources for this Messianic information came through the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 53 is a phenomenally accurate look at the Messiah as the suffering Servant). But there are other very significant passages.
In “The Red-Letters” we just talked about how Jesus came as the fullfillment of Isaiah 61:1-2, and how that pronouncement got Him into such trouble.
But one of the more important passages of Messianic fulfillment occurs in Isaiah 40:1-2… “’Comfort, comfort My people,’ says your God. ‘Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her forced labor has been completed, her iniquity has been pardoned…’”
Isaiah prophesied that Messiah would come as the initiator of divine comfort – for all those in captivity to sin, and in bondage to fear and hopelessness. He came to fulfill the promise of “Comfort, comfort…” made by God Himself.
He came to turn our sorrow into joy, our grief into celebration, and our bondage into freedom. He came to BE the relief that our souls desperately needed – and He came to offer Himself as the guarantee of divine help.
In short: “the God of all comfort” (2Corinthians 1:3) came to us (in Jesus) and made divine comfort the goal of His work on our behalf.
So it makes perfect sense that the One Who came to bring God’s comfort to our weary souls would choose His homebase in the “Village of Comfort.”