How many places have you lived in the course of your life? I’ve lived in a few houses, some apartments.
I’ve lived with family, friends, and strangers. I’ve lived in places with a shared bathroom and some with
a bathroom right off of my own room. And the reasons I’ve moved have been as different as the places
I’ve lived. Have you ever thought about where Jesus lived and who he lived with during his life? Let’s
explore that today as we read through Mark 2:1-17.
Hey Anchored Daily listeners, I’m Sarah Landon. On a given week at Bethel, you might find me in a room
doing Bible study, running tech, or sitting criss-cross applesauce with some kids. But today we’re sitting
down together in the beginning of the second chapter of Mark, which begins with, “And when he
returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home.”
Now the text is referring to Jesus here, but you might be asking yourself, when did Capernaum become
Jesus’ home? Wasn’t he from Nazareth or Bethlehem or something? Yes he was! So we know about the
story of how Jesus was born in Bethlehem, like the scriptures predicted, but his parents were originally
from Nazareth, and now we’re talking about Capernaum? Let’s imagine a map of Israel in Jesus’ time.
Its western border is the Mediterranean Sea. Its eastern border is the Jordan River, with the Sea of
Galilee in the north, and the Dead Sea in the south. Galilee is the region around the Sea of Galilee, and
it includes Capernaum, which is on the north shore of the Sea and also Nazareth, which is a little farther
south and about halfway to the Mediterranean Sea. Now Jerusalem and Bethlehem are way down
south closer to the Dead Sea in the region of Judea. Sandwiched between Galilee and Judea is Samaria,
by the way.
So Jesus begins life in Bethlehem, is driven out by an angry king to Egypt, but returns to Nazareth when
the danger has passed. He remains in Nazareth even until the beginning of his ministry. Luke 4 captures
the story of why Jesus isn’t camping out at home anymore with his Nazarene peeps. Let’s just say that
it’s not very neighborly to be thrown off a mountain. I’ll let you read that one on your own if you’re not
familiar with the story. I’ll skip the joke about it being a real cliffhanger.
So now Jesus has a home in Capernaum. I’m not sure who it belongs to exactly or who else might live
there with him. These were not details that we’re provided. But we do learn a little more about the
home in this passage. He invited people into his home. There were so many on this occasion that they
were spilling out the doors as he preached. And people were so desperate to be near Jesus that a
paralytic was lowered through his roof in order to contact him.
We learn a little more at the end of our passage. In verse 15 it says, “And as he reclined at table in his
house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many
who followed him.” It seems that Jesus’ house was a place of welcome for all kinds. He, like his father
before him, was no respecter of persons and saw what was inside a person, not judging by their outside
Among the religious people of town, he was gaining a reputation, and not necessarily a good one.
Because it’s true that the people around you can be an influence on you and can demonstrate what kind
of a person you are. If you were assessing a new religious leader and found out they were buddies with
dealers and scammers, you’d probably ask some questions too. Verse 16 says:
“And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said
to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’” I think they may have been genuinely
Verse 17 continues: “And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a
physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.’” Jesus did not cast them
off as lost causes, he saw potential. They did not act like him, they probably told offensive jokes, they
may have grown up in traumatic circumstances, and Jesus saw they did not know God… yet. He gave
them a chance, he saw their sickness and offered them the remedy, himself.
I don’t know your current living situation, or what kind of outcasts are in or around your life, but I
encourage you to open up your eyes and maybe even your homes, but certainly our church home to
those who simply don’t know God… yet. Bethel, let’s be a body of believers who welcomes, includes,
and invites the sick among us to meet the great Physician, Jesus.
Let’s pray. Lord, you found me when I was wandering without you. Help us draw in those who don’t yet
know you and look past what’s on the outside to what you have the chance to do on the inside. Help us
to invite the person you’ve put on our heart, that Bethel church could be a place of welcome and