Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”
25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Jesus is pushing a bit here. Challenging. He wants the people seeing mighty acts of God to be doing the work of Him.
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
After having their hearts touched, to complete faith with actions pleasing to Him. Asking each day, hands out, what would you like to discuss with my soul Father? What could I do with Your favor and grace today?
Challenges of Jesus can be daunting. Where is Bethsaida today? Archaeology suggests two sites as possibly Bethsaida: el-Araj and El-Mesydiah. Both of these sites used ground penetrating radar - revealing only a small number of ruins.
And Jesus' adult hometown - Capernaum? A beautiful way to spend time. Views of the Sea of Galilee. Vistas reminding us of this - Capernaum was so prosperous, so removed from Jerusalem - it was to remain intact for another 13 centuries. An amazing blessing for the town Jesus chose as an adult hometown. The Three Jewish Revolts and the destruction of Jerusalem did not touch Capernaum. Peter, Andrew, James and John left a virtual paradise for Jesus. Without much or any... persuasion. Why? They felt something more eternally changing in themselves, being called to walk with Jesus.
"The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
Peter, Andrew, James, John and the 72 disciples wanted to rest in the shade of Jesus and nestle in His branches.
Capernaum today is a restful place, allowing the visitor to see Israel as a land of milk and honey. The intact archaeology sees Jesus allowed Capernaum and the next four centuries of visitors to see this city yoked to His protection. Capernaum hosted the Church, which Peter's house became, having visitors continued to worship and leave the same Father worshiping remarks in the plaster as near Peter's grave.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.
1 John 2:17
And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
One leper returned, out of ten who were healed. Jesus commented the man was on a higher path, going on the good journey. And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” Jesus tells us when we ask Him He will find rest. Find the yoke He asks is light.
Cynics might say this is the prosperity gospel. The healed, formerly leper, knew gratitude. This healed man has some loved ones to rejoice to go to. God tells us something of prayer and life. God tells us life will give tribulation. And He overcomes. This passage is a challenge.
Capernaum is an archaeological viewpoint of prayer answered in this life. Fruit from the tree. Capernaum rose to His challenge. Experiencing life in abundance. This city was created from need of more agriculture during the first Roman occupation of Israel and was established to provide food. Hosting pilgrims wishing to walk with Jesus or at least in His footsteps. This is Jesus blessing Life Abundant. An example perhaps of grace. God's goodness poured in first to this place. It was not earned, but grace flowed forth. God's grace isn't earned, but goes where He would have His will be done.
That I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
This isn't boot straps, this is faith.
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.