Housing in Israel during the days Jesus lived, moved on earth, giving us grace and truth. Rooms were small, house centered around a courtyard, windows were shuttered and the roof would have a tent and be used for outdoor living.
English Standard Version, David Cochran Audio
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”
10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:
“‘You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.
15 For this people's heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
Look at the good archaeological bones the digs have brought unearthing Capernaum. (Luke 10:15 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths.)
Such a pretty town, located in the most fertile Sea of Galilee coast, with views of the Sea. No wonder Jesus chose Capernaum as his adult hometown. (Matthew 4:13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali.) Remember what causes a ruin. A ruin is caused by devastation, abandonment or prosperity. In devastation, only small parts will be discovered. Abandonment makes the best ruins for archaeology. Prosperity is iffy for posterity, sometimes covered over and preserved, sometimes ripped to fragments.
What do we know of Capernaum architecturally and historically. This is where the Jesus Boat was found in 1986 during drought. An intact ship, the kind dated to the day of grace and truth when Jesus prayed, walked, listened, asked and healed. Where the wealthy, largest home of Peter was used as a Church, as Peter went out to spread the Good News. The graffiti types and messaged date to about identical as the tomb of Peter found 80 feet below the Vatican Altar today (a complete village similar to the photo except underground).
So, what did Jesus' hometown do with the verbal seeds planted by the ministry Jesus based in Capernaum? Capernaum is a suburb of Kinneret, listed by Joshua as one of the fortified cities in the Naftali tribe. Capernaum grows up just before Jesus and is a Roman city made in logical grids. When we remember Jerusalem was utterly destroyed by the soon to be Roman Emperor Titus, in 70 A.D., we remember Jesus forgave everyone on the cross. It wouldn't have made Jesus sacrifice and forgiveness for us so majestic, if God had allowed the destruction to occur during Jesus' natural lifetime. The people of Jesus' day lived in mostly orderly rule.
Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Capernaum - where Luke 4:23 records Jesus did so many miracles and signs, where people knew to look for Him - fared much better than Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Peter's house was overflowing with people coming to worship Jesus after He ascended into Heaven. They even added onto the house to accommodate larger numbers of worshipers and pilgrims.
During the three Jewish Revolts against Rome - still good soil. Capernaum is recorded as being a "fertile spring" by Josephus. Many mills for grain and fisheries are in continuous operation and the town expands.
What would Jesus have said to the new 4th century Synagogue on top of the one where He taught and the new Byzantine Church built over (literally, they did not destroy) Peter's house? He probably would have been pleased they were much more interested in peace. And mixed emotions over a prosperity peace seeking than true peace. Perhaps, perhaps He would have called this a seed being choked by weeds. Maybe.
Capernaum isn't intact, as we see in the photo. In the 6th century, Persia invaded, the Church and Synagogue were destroyed. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched.
The Persian invasion left Capernaum unmolested, until the 11th century, to continue to provide fish and grain. Until later the town of Capernaum was destroyed, as the Persians continued to be a governing force. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.
What will we do with this Capernaum analogy with seeds and the words of our Messiah? Capernaum is like Gideon; we are like Gideon. God didn't see Gideon as weak. God saw Gideon, outside of time, as a great child of His. We can call Gideon as a work in progress.
19 So Gideon went into his house and prepared a young goat and unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the terebinth and presented them. 20 And the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” And he did so. 21 Then the angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight. 22 Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.”
Father God, with Your willing blessing, we will seek and work for Peace. In the name of our brother, Jesus Christ, Savior of the World. Amen.
Other Scripture for Today Blogspot readings on Matthew 13 or Jesus' Parable on Seeds:
August 23, 2009
August 9, 2008
July 24, 2008
March 4, 2010
July 23, 2007
June 2, 2010
February 1, 2008
February 8, 2008
May 10, 2010
October 30, 2007
July 24, 2007