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Ready to Fight? Let’s Draw a Line in the Sand

July 26, 2018


It’s not a very big town.  At its peak it probably housed no more than 1500 residents.  It has a pleasant location, especially considering the view of the Sea of Galilee.  On last year’s Holy Land trip we sat in the shade of the trees and gazed at the historic ruins around us.

Capernaum was not, by any means, a big news-making city in itself.

But, oh, when Jesus came into the town, things changed.

Jesus decided that Capernaum would be His “headquarters” and would often finish preaching in the the countryside near the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee and return there (Matthew 9:1; Mark 2:1).

While in this little location Jesus did numerous miracles (Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:34). as well as picking some of his disciples:  Matthew, Peter, Andrew, James and John. In addition, a Roman centurion asked and received the curing of his servant (Luke 7:1-10).  Jesus was confronted by a demoniac while teaching in Capernaum.  Of course, He healed him.

On and on this little location was the place for Jesus to show His power.

According to author Ray Pritz, the established religious society outside of Capernaum considered the town a place to be avoided since the citizens were going all-out for this Jesus movement.  Don’t want to get involved with some fanatics…

Wow,  Things were happening.

Yet in the end, Jesus ends up cursing Capernaum for the inhabitants’ unbelief.  After all that was done within the city limits, you still don’t believe?  Complacency brought on a curse.

I want to take away some important thoughts and use them in this year’s teaching.

First, I’m going to consider my classroom a little Capernaum.  When the bell rings and the door closes, I’m committed that within our “city limits” we are going to see Jesus in His glory.  The boundaries are going to be set – I’m going to eliminate as many distractions as possible.  No matter what the course of learning that day, I am going to aim it so that we finally rest upon Jesus before the students walk out the door.

Second, I want to avoid the downfall of Capernaum.  Seems they didn’t end with a bang, but with a whimper. They became complacent.  Oh, there were a few who took to Jesus and were deeply faithful, but as a whole, the response ended up being a big yawn.  Doesn’t that sound like a lot of your students’ response to Christ?  I know it did in my classroom last year.  Polite and verbally supportive but actively indifferent.

So I’m going to pray for God’s guidance and get a proper spiritual balance here.  I want to get the city’s Christ-closeness but avoid its apathetic demise.  Let me call my little territory in the far corner of the Grace Christian Academy “New Capernaum”, if I may.

I invite you to do the same, whether you teach pottery or Plato, gymnastics or German.  Draw a line in the sand.  Set up your boundary markers.  And goWhen that bell rings, bring the joy of Heaven and the energy of Jesus into your classroom or teaching location.  Show the students your heart.  Let them see and hear Jesus and the joy of the Kingdom within you.

And never, never become complacent about Christ.

Your students deserve better.




Pritz, Ray A.  1992 Nazarene Jewish Christianity: From the End of the New Testament Period Until Its Disappearance in the Fourth Century. Jerusalem, Israel: The Magnes Press, The Hebrew University.

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