How you can make a home wherever you are
Where was home to you? I don’t mean your house. I mean your home. A place where you felt safe, secure. A place where life was comfortable. You remember growing up without many worries. Parents handled things back then. You look back and realize that even though you wanted desperately to be grown-up, it was awfully nice that someone else was responsible for the cooking, the cleaning, and the paying of bills.
There came a time, however, when you left home. You struck out on your own to a new career or a new college. Suddenly you were on center stage without a supporting cast. And you had a choice. You could either run back to the home you knew before. Or, you could make a new home.
Jesus left his childhood home, too. He left Nazareth and settled in a place called Capernaum. Like Nazareth where he grew up, Capernaum was also in Galilee. Galilee was despised by the Jews who lived south in Judea. It was on the fringes of the empire in a region dominated by Gentiles. That’s why you’ll hear Galilee commonly called “Galilee of the Gentiles.” The worship of several pagan gods was still observed by the Gentiles in this area. The Jews closer to Jerusalem despised this area.
Capernaum was quite a change for Jesus, a small-town boy. Capernaum was a bit larger — some 1,000-1,500 fishermen and traders. Although this may still sound small, it was a bustling place. Capernaum was located on the Via Maris, the “way of the sea,” the highway from the Mediterranean coast to Damascus. Merchants would bring silk and spices from Damascus and take back the dried fish and fruits of the plains of Gennessaret.
Capernaum was not a rich town. The money the people did earn was taxed. A tax office was located there. Apparently the Jewish inhabitants could not afford their own synagogue. It was a Gentile Centurion (that we read of in Luke 7:5) who had built them their synagogue. He was leading the detachment of Roman soldiers who were stationed in the town.
This “place” was, for Jesus, home. It was a mission outpost. As a springboard to all nations, it was a perfect place to begin his ministry which would be meant for all the nations. As one writer said, “Judaea is on the way to nowhere: Galilee is on the way to everywhere.”
He also settled on a purpose. Jesus knew why he was there. He wasn’t there just to go where the money was. He didn’t run a search and find the top 10 cities to live in. He went where he did because he had settled on a purpose for his life. He knew what he was about. He was to be a light for those in darkness. And so he felt at home wherever he was
And Jesus had a settled perspective. Contrary to many people of that day and ours, Jesus was not trying to “find himself.” Like the plumbline he used in the carpentry shop, Jesus’ perspective on life was true. The way of the sea promised fame and fortune, but his way promised life. He knew that most people lived with a different reality. Life consisted of what to eat, what to drink, what to wear. But his perspective was drastically different. Life consisted of seeking the kingdom of God. To find it, a person only had to change their perspective.
Jesus made a home in Capernaum, the place where he lived.
Maybe you need to make where you live today your home. If so, follow Jesus: Know your place — you are where you are so be where you are. Know your purpose — be salt and light to those around you. And have the same perspective as Jesus — everything you do and everywhere you are, your life is lived in the presence of God.
Jesus is calling us to leave the comfort of the home we once knew and make our home in the kingdom of the heavens.
How could Jesus leave home and make a new place his home? He could bear the loss of comfort more than the thought of heaven without you. So he left. And those who follow him do the same for others.