DOWN TO CAPERNAUM
John 2:12 After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.
At first glance there doesn’t seem to be much for our edification in this verse. But we know that the Lord has instructed us in 2Tim. 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: Therefore we must seek the Holy Spirit to open unto us the revelation of our Lord contained within this verse.
There are four things contained herein. They are: 1.) When did He go? 2.) Where did He go? 3.) Who went with Him? and, 4.) How long did they stay?
1.) When did He go? After this …
We must not omit the introductory words, After this! For in these two words that which happened before this is referred to by the Holy Spirit! His going down to Capernaum is only to be considered as occurring after his glory shown forth in the miracle of the marriage in Cana of Galilee! Seeing this will help us with the importance of the words, he went down! To leave the place of his glory being revealed, and going to Capernaum with brethren who did not believe on him (John 7:5) would certainly need to be listed as a “going down!” The believer soon learns that it is not possible to dwell at any length in the warm glow of glory! One, all too soon, has to “go down!”
2.) Where did He go? … he went down to Capernaum …
Continuing with the previous thought, we see that our Lord “went down” from the revelation of his glory to a more carnal and domestic experience. We find these same two words in the event of his being found by his parents in the temple sitting among the doctors of the Mosaic law, asking and answering their questions as recorded in Luke 2:51. There we also read that he “went down with them,” leaving the spiritual atmosphere afforded him in attending his Father’s business in invigorating Jerusalem, to return to submission under his natural parents in quiet little Nazareth.
It is seldom thought of, at least it is seldom mentioned, that the filling of the Holy Spirit is revealed in the submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of the God. This includes, children obeying their parents in the Lord! (Eph. 5:18, 21, 6:1).
Christ would command his disciples to take his yoke upon themselves and learn of him! For that which we have to learn is contentment in every condition! (Phil. 4:11). Phil. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
“Capernaum” means, “town of Naum.” And in Luke’s writings we read, And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, Which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Amos, which was the son of Naum, which was the son of Esli, which was the son of Nagge, (Lk. 3:23, 25). And, as you see, Naum was the 9th ancestor out from Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus! So the Holy Spirit is stamping on this event His issue for us to recognize. And that is, that the Christian, in following the Lamb, will have times of experienced glory, followed by times of coming down to deal with natural kinship! And the believer’s foes shall be they of their own household! (Matt 10:36).
Capernaum was also a city put under more severe judgment of God due to its refusal to adhere to the preaching of the Lord. Luke 10:15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. 3.) Who went with him? … and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples … What a ‘mixed multitude’ this was!
His mother had been dealt with by Gabriel, himself! She had been sent confirmations by local shepherds, who had seen the angels of God! Men of great learning had come from far off places to give her child valuable presents. Her own government had tried to kill her son, for which she was required to move into another nation! – She had a lot of religious experiences! But when her son was twelve years of age, being so given to enjoyment of the company traveling to Jerusalem, she lost him. And upon finding him three days later, she sounds like she denies the virgin birth! Luke 2:48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
He has to challenge her trying to rule over her with inordinate affection, both at the wedding in Cana, and when she and her sons are seeking audience with him, as recorded in Matthew 12:46-50.
His brethren have the tendency towards the same affections in trying to give him instruction derived from their worldly reasonings. They didn’t even believe on him as the Christ of God! (John 7:1-9). But here we also learn to follow Christ in not being of a Pharisee’s attitude towards them that ‘are without!’ Col. 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: 4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
For it later turns out that one of those brothers is of great influence to the Gentile church. James is recorded in Acts 15:13-21 as relieving the Gentile believers from the burdens of the ceremonial law! And although he is called “the Lord’s brother,” by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 1:19, he comes to only refer to himself as a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ!” (Jas. 1:1).
Then there was also, his disciples. The calling of these few that now follow him is listed in John chapter one. And it is good for born again believers, called apart from the world, to mingle with the unbelievers in their families! Family members tend to resent the ‘church’ people for interrupting their family circle. But it is not the church people, but God himself who makes these divisions. Matt. 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
4.) How long did they stay? … and they continued there not many days.
It does not say, not ANY days, but not MANY days! This time in Capernaum, with this varied group was not without benefit to himself and to his kingdom! If it were not so, he would have never allowed it to transpire! We may not be able of reason and logic to appreciate this little verse, nor it’s purposes! But the Lord of Sovereignty – sovereignty over all things, without exception – had his will done in these few days.
And what was it that brought these days to their appointed end? The next verse instructs us as to the times before appointed. They came to their ending because the Lord would attend the Jews’ passover! The Temple of God (John 2:20-21) must come to cleanse the temple of the Jews’ to reveal the flashing fire of zeal in his eyes. For they must be converted from a belief of salvation in their temple, to salvation IN Christ alone!
Pastor Gene Breed