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10.  Significance of Capernaum.

Matthew for his part adds,50175017    viii. 5 sqq. that when the Lord had entered into Capernaum the centurion came to him, saying, “My boy is lying in my house sick of the palsy, grievously tormented,” and after telling the Lord some more about him, received the reply, “Go, and as thou hast believed, so be it unto thee.”  And Matthew then gives us the story of Peter’s mother-in-law, in close agreement with the other two.  I conceive it to be a creditable piece of work and becoming to one who is anxious to hear about Christ, to collect from the four Gospels all that is related about Capernaum, and the discourses spoken, and the works done there, and how many visits the Lord paid to the place, and how, at one time, He is said to have gone down to it, and at another to have entered into it, and where He came from when He did so.  If we compare all these points together, we shall not go astray in the meaning we ascribe to Capernaum.  On the one hand, the sick are healed, and other works of power are done there, and on the other, the preaching, Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, begins there, and this appears to be a sign, as we showed when entering on this subject, of some more needy place of consolation, made so perhaps by Jesus, who comforted men by what He taught and by what He did there, in that place of consolation.  For we know that the names of places agree in their meaning with the things connected with Jesus; as Gergesa, where the citizens of these parts besought Him to depart out of their coasts, means, “The dwelling of the casters-out.”  And this, also, we have noticed about Capernaum, that not only did the preaching, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” begin there, but that according to the three Evangelists Jesus performed there His first miracles.  None of the three, however, added to the first wonders which he records as done in Capernaum, that note attached by John the disciple to the first work of Jesus, “This beginning of His signs did Jesus in Cana of Galilee.”  For that which was done in Capernaum was not the beginning of the signs, since the leading sign of the Son of God was good cheer, and in the light of human experience it is also the most representative of Him.  For the Word of God does not show forth His own beauty so much in healing the sick, as in His tendering the temperate draught to make glad those who are in good health and are able to join in the banquet.


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