January 31, 2017: Peter’s House

Morning: Matthew 4:8-17; Noon: Exodus 9-12; Evening: Psalm 21

As Jesus began His ministry, he would leave his hometown in Nazareth and essentially set up base in Capernaum, a small town in the region of Galilee that sat on the northern edge of the sea. Here Jesus would first net a third of His apostles, all of whom were fishermen. Interestingly, though Jesus would first preach repentance in Capernaum this same village would later be condemned for their unrepentance (Matt. 11:23). This was also the place where the apostle Peter’s house dwelt and where Jesus would so often visit (Mark 1:21, 29).

After the 7th century A.D. the town had been abandoned and completely forgotten after the Islamic invasion. However, this little town would reemerge in 1894 when the ruins were acquired from the Arabians. In 1905 explorations began under the direction of two archaeologists. These efforts were halted during World War I, but commenced forward once again in 1921. It was at this point that a complete restoration of the synagogue previously discovered began and campaigns continued up until 1985. These campaigns led to the alleged rediscovery of Simon Peter’s house and the Roman Centurian’s sponsored synagogue (Luke 7:2-5). Archaeological finds reveal that the house had indeed existed in the Jewish and Greek period. On the walls of the house were found painted decorations of Judeo-Christian emblems where Christian pilgrims of the early church scratched sacred and devotional graffiti in their respective language. The house also underwent a radical restructuring in the 4th Century when a friend of Constantine the Great added an arch to support a new roof, a portico, and a sacred place for worship. Later in the 5th Century the house-church was razed, and an octagonal church was erected above it to mark in perpetuity the house of Peter. The building was found with a baptistry one side. After the Islamic invasion, both the house of Peter, and the octagonal church above it would fall into ruin.

Had our Lord set up His church as a physical house, surely it would not have stood. Peter himself would write time and time again about corruption and destruction in his epistles. Perhaps, he himself envisioned the future collapse of his own house someday. But as he looked upon the church of Christ he could see “living stones… being built up a spiritual house” (1 Pet. 1:5). He could see at the cornerstone, the Lord Himself, Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:7). Peter could now see that it was not Jesus who had dwelt in his house, but it was he who had dwelt in Jesus house.

Are you dwelling in Jesus house?

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