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Gospel of Mark 1: 21-28 (NIV)
21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!”
25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching – and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.” 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
In the Gospel according to Mark, this was the first of several of Jesus’ mighty acts in Capernaum. In fact the people of Capernaum experienced so many of Jesus’ amazing signs that one would expect that, as a consequence, the town’s population would have placed their deep and abiding faith in him.
Regrettably this was not the case at all. Our Lord’s judgement on Capernaum is described in the Gospel according to Matthew (11: 20, 22-24):
Then he began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent.
“And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades. For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that on the day of judgement it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for you.”
One would expect that Capernaum, home to several of Jesus’ key disciples, would have recognised the remarkable changes in the lives of these men and, as a consequence, would have been hugely supportive of the ministry of Jesus and his disciples when they travelled south from Galilee into Judea.
One would expect that the presence among the people of Capernaum of the Centurion, about whom Jesus said “I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith”, would have been a reminder to them of Jesus’ deeds of power.
One would expect that the presence in Capernaum of those faithful men who lowered the paralytic through the hole in the house roof would have been a sufficiently effective witness in that town for people to put faith in Jesus.
Yet despite all the evidence that here among the people of that town was the Son of God, Capernaum did not repent.
What about you?
We have even more evidence today than was available to the people of Capernaum: we have the evidence of the resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion, death and burial.
Would Jesus compare you with the Centurion, about whom he had said, “I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith”.
Or might Jesus compare you with the townspeople of Capernaum who, in spite of all the evidence, did not repent.
If you have yet to decide about who Jesus is, if you have yet to accept him as your Lord and Saviour, what is preventing you from making that decision now?