Strangely, looking at ancient ruins challenged me to consider what matters most. I doubt the people who lived in the basalt-stone homes of Capernaum ever thought someone would want to see the remains of their dwellings two thousand years later. If the remains of my house were even able to last two thousand years, would there be any remarkable reason to study them? Would the ruins of my home testify to a remarkable moment in history as the ruins in Capernaum do?
The ruins at Capernaum urged me to connect with the people of Jesus' neighborhood. He lived in this town for three years with them. They heard his remarkable teaching in the synagogue. They saw him cast out demons. He healed their physical afflictions. The collectors of the Temple tax walked these streets, and they were challenged by Jesus about what mattered most (Matthew 17:24-27). The disciples were challenged to think about what mattered most when Jesus traveled to other towns, in spite of the great following he had in his own neighborhood (Mark 1:35-39). Two, possibly three, people (Peter, John, & Matthew) from this town contributed to the New Testament because their experience with Jesus taught them what mattered most.
Would the ruins of my home testify to something remarkable? Even now, does my home represent a place where God is at work to help change the world and to take territory for the kingdom of God? Can anyone now or in the future know what matters most to me?
Many of us in America who identify ourselves as Christian demonstrate a life that is largely distracted from what matters most. We spend more time, energy, and resources on entertainment than on the kingdom of God. If this trend was reversed, one could only imagine the impact it would have on our neighbors and culture. People would be cared for in their time of need. The love of Christ would be undeniable, and the gospel would spread.
Time is short. Forty-two years has passed since my first breath. How many more breaths do I have left on this earth? The disciples who followed Christ 2,000 years ago learned what mattered most, and they repeatedly shared it until their last breath. Twenty years from now, I do not want to look back over two decades with regret. I do not want to reflect on two decades wondering if I wasted them. If Christ is an afterthought, or just someone I squeeze into my busy schedule, then it is obvious that Jesus is not what matters most in my life.
On the other hand, putting Christ first sets the priority of everything else. Family, money, work, time, and energy find their proper place and use under His Lordship. Two thousand years ago, some people in the small town of Capernaum discovered this truth. They were a minuscule fraction of the population, but God used them to change the world.
Standing on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, I realized I was standing at the edge of the body of water on which He walked. I was standing on the edge of the water He calmed. I was standing on the edge of a body of water where He taught others, called disciples, and healed afflictions. I was standing on the edge of a calling upon my life, a calling that is both a blessing and a responsibility of cosmic proportions.
Convicted and encouraged, I ask, "How can I waste my time on anything else?"
These are considered to be the ruins of "Peter's House" in Capernaum. There is a modern structure with a glass floor built above them for viewing (not available that day). Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law of a fever in this house, and people from the neighborhood came here for healing that same day (Mark 1:29-34) This home went through multiple renovations in the 1st through 4th centuries to accommodate the growing church that met there. People still meet here today to worship Christ.