Did Jesus own a home in Capernaum?

Discussion in 'The Gospels & Acts' started by Ed Walsh, Sep 29, 2018.

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  1. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    Yesterday, I was called on the carpet by a minister with a doctorate after his name for even suggesting that Jesus, at least in the earlier days, may have had a home of his own–accusing me of relying on extra-Biblical data. (accusing is too strong a word as it was a friendly exchange)

    Several verses that at least hint that Jesus owned (or borrowed or rented) a home:

    Mark 2:1 (ESV) see verses 1-12 for context.
    And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home.
    Mark 2:15 (ESV, KJV, NASB) But, it seems this was Levi's home as per Luke 5:29 but I am not sure.
    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.
    John 1:35-42 (ESV)38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, "What are you seeking?" And they said to him, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?"
    39 He said to them, "Come and you will see." So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.​

    It does seem clear that Jesus had a center of operation in Capernaum, whether staying with Peter or someone else or maybe, just maybe his own home.

    I well aware that Jesus said later on,

    Matthew 8:20 (ESV) and Luke 9:58
    And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head."​

    Anyway, am I a heretic for even considering Jesus had a home?
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
  2. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    It's perfectly sensible to assume Jesus had a regular place to stay at his home base in Capernaum, rather than assume he was couch surfing. Whether he personally owned, borrowed, or rented a place, or stayed with relatives or friends, requires deeper speculation. But given what we know of both the culture and Jesus' character, I think it unlikely he lived alone.

    "No place to lay his head" probably refers to his activity as an itinerant preacher, when he was on the road. It need not be taken as a precise statement describing every night he spent during that time. Rather, it has a broader meaning: Jesus did not come seeking a comfortable life, and neither should we.
  3. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Ancient Jewish homes regularly provided space to teachers and priests, the latter of whom did not have land of their own. If Jesus did not live in his father's house, this is the next most logical housing. While we cannot give this the weight of scripture, recognizing the historical and cultural context of a passage is sound exegesis.
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  4. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    Bringing this to the top and requesting a few more comments. It may seem like a trifle but it is important to me.
    Thanks for the comments I have seen already.


  5. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior



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  6. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    Now what's important is the loan people!! If we knew the mortgage type it would help clarify some theology for us. If he had a 5/1 ARM that would mean premillennial/pretrib was correct. A 30 year fixed would be...postmillenialism. However I imagine he probably paid cash...because then tetelestai!
  7. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Our Lord is said to have "dwelt in Capernaum" and was a carpenter, so one might speculate He could have even constructed a humble home from wood, stone, and stucco.

    Did He abandon that abode when setting out in His ministry? Give it to someone? "Go and sell" all that he had?

    Yet what of His many polemical teachings about property and how it is a hindrance?

    In his commentary on John, Sproul observes that John 14:27 is Jesus' last will and testament, owning but a robe, later to be taken and gambled away by soldiers, yet Jesus bequeaths to His disciples a "monumental legacy."

    An interesting question, but it generates even more questions.
  8. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    I personally have my doubts whether Jesus owned a house in Capernaum, or anyplace. It would have been of necessity, and I don't see the necessity.

    He had other places readily available for his use, and which were necessary for other folk settled there with family.

    Mk.1:21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, ... 29 And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever...

  9. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Sophomore

    Part of the challenge is a lack of information, but part also may lie in very different concepts of "owning a home". For us, a home is a commodity to be bought and sold easily as we move from one location to another. We expect that when we become responsible adults we will move out and perhaps buy a home of our own. In antiquity, when multi-generational families lived in the same location for many generations, these things were viewed differently. Likely, families inherited the house from one generation to the next, cramming in everyone who needed a place. If you had space and were doing well, you might add a room (and probably with it, would come numerous cousins who you would have to house). To build an entirely new house (that was anything other than a shack) would take enormous wealth, far beyond most households. There was no such thing as "personal space".
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  10. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    Would we not expect that Jesus would have had, even if not solely and personally, his family's home? After his ministry began he was an itinerant, but prior to that it seems likely that he lived and labored in his father's home, a father who perhaps had deceased at some point.
  11. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Sophomore

    Yes, I think that is likely. Most people with an identifiable trade would have had a modest place where they lived with assorted extended family (though of course, Joseph and his family fled to Egypt for a while; presumably extended family would have taken care of the house in the meantime, but it could have been lost). My point is that "owning a house" may imply anachronistic concepts that we read back into antiquity.
  12. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Wouldn't it be more likely that such a family home was in Nazareth, not Capernaum?
  13. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    I wondered that too. Capernaum became his center of operation for a time–I think a long time. Maybe "his" home was Peter's house? Or someone else's. He never went back to Nazareth after his rejection there. But you know this better than I do.
  14. Reformed

    Reformed Puritan Board Freshman

    It is perfectly in the realm of possibility. But it also seems plausible that Jesus was taking care of his family until the start of His 3-year ministry. It is really hard to say but a very interesting topic of discussion for sure.
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