Let me tell you a tale of two cities, or more to the point, a tale of two events in two separate towns.
The first one takes place in Nazareth. Jesus came back home and went to the synagogue on the Sabbath, and he was invited to speak. But the hometown crowd wouldn't listen. They said, "Where in the world did he get this stuff? Who does he think he is? He's just a local carpenter." And Mark's Gospel tells us Jesus was "amazed at their unbelief." In fact, all the Gospel writers say Jesus "could do no deed of power there."
The second incident takes place just a few miles away in Capernaum. A Roman centurion came up to Jesus and told him about a servant at his house who was terribly ill. Jesus said he would go to the man's house and heal his servant, but the centurion stopped him. "Lord," he said, "You don't have to trouble yourself with coming to my house. I know if you just say the word my servant will be healed." And Jesus said to his disciples, "In no one in Israel have I found such faith." He was as amazed with the centurion's faith as he was amazed at his hometown's lack of it. So he told the centurion, "Go; let it be done for you according to your faith." And the Gospels tell us the servant was healed in that very hour.
Even though Nazareth and Capernaum are only a few miles apart geographically, in spiritual terms they represent perspectives on life which are light years distant. Nazareth looks at life and says, "What you see is what you get." It's a place where people gather data, analyze their past experiences, look at things rationally and decide where the margins of reality are located. In their world there are limits on what is, and is not, possible.
But it's different in Capernaum. Capernaum, like the centurion, is open to possibilities beyond what's been experienced already. Capernaum looks at life as it could be and says, "Why not? Maybe so. It could happen." In this place there are no limits on the possible. There is an openness to what can be.
As we approach Easter, I'm wondering which city you are heading toward. Are you headed toward Nazareth where the limits of the possible are clearly measured out, or are you headed toward Capernaum where the words "possible" and "impossible" just don't apply anymore?
Each of us has a choice to make. Either1 life is a closed system, or life is open to God's possibilities. It's the difference between Nazareth and Capernaum. It's the difference between impossibility and possibility. It's the difference between despair and hope.
After you have peered into the empty tomb, which way will you go?