Jesus's house?


Something I read in another thread made me wonder this, but I didn’t post it there since it would have sent it off-topic. But I don’t believe Scripture says clearly where, exactly, Jesus lived? I know He traveled (if it can be called that) Did He just stay at the homes of followers as a guest? I don’t think He had a home of His own. But He had to have lived, or stayed, somewhere regularly. He couldn’t have just lived out in the open, in the trees.


That is a great question - I never really thought about that before - Where did he live? I’m not sure, actually. I don’t think he lived with the Blessed Mother Mary, as he traveled around a lot. He may have pitched a “tabernacle” (tent) wherever he stayed?


It is believed by some that He lived with Simon Peter at his home in Kefar Nahum (Capernaum) while in northern Israel.

He may have had similar arrangements to stay with disciples in other towns. But while travelling, He would have pitched camp, as everybody did.

The Mount of Olives, as an example, so significant in His life, was a campground for travellers to Jerusalem.




I would answer with: It depends of when during Jesus lifetime are you asking.

Up to His 30th birthday He lived in Nazareth and was a carpenter. He probably worked at various places around the general area of Nazareth.

There are clues in the Gospels that point us at this to be so.

Mark 6:3

Chapter 6

6:1 And departing from there, he went away to his own country; and his disciples followed him.
6:2 And when the Sabbath arrived, he began to teach in the synagogue. And many, upon hearing him, were amazed at his doctrine, saying: “Where did this one get all these things?” and, “What is this wisdom, which has been given to him?” and, “Such powerful deeds, which are wrought by his hands!”
6:3 “Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joseph, and Jude, and Simon? Are not his sisters also here with us?” And they took great offense at him.
6:4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and in his own house, and among his own kindred.”

After His 30th birthday when He started His ministry it is obvious He traveled extensively throughout the land to give His message to as many as possible.
We are told He stayed at the houses of friends and even some not so friendly, (remember the farisee house incident).


And Jesus saith to him: The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air nests: but the son of man hath not where to lay his head.



Jesus’ traveled throughout Israel but he was headquartered in Galilee in Northern Israel. Galilee is the region on the north and west shores of the Sea of Galilee which is also know as the Sea of Tiberias or Lake Gennesaret. He was from Nazareth in Galilee but after the start of his public ministry spent spent most of his time in Capernaum. Capernaum was Peter’s home town.

Joseph took Mary and Jesus to live in Galilee

*But when he heard that Archelaus reigned over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. (Matthew 2:22)

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. (Matthew 3:13)

And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:11)*

Jesus’ first miracle was at Cana which is in Galilee.

On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; (John 2:1)

Most of Jesus’ works were done in Galilee and he ascended into heaven from a mountain in Galilee. Most of the Apostles were from Galilee.

***and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” *(Acts 1:11)



Jesus’ base of operations in the Galilee was Capernaum. We don’t know for sure if Jesus just stayed at someone’s house (say, Peter’s) or Jesus really had a house of His own there; but either way, the gospels of Mark and Matthew imply that He had some sort of regular residence known to the locals there. Matthew 4:13 even makes it clear that Jesus moved out of Nazareth to live in Capernaum (“And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali…”); he later even calls it “His own town.” (9:1; cf. Mark 2:1)

You have to remember that Jesus wasn’t always ‘on the road’; in fact, some people even question whether Jesus was really as itinerant as we imagine Him to be. Some scholars, for example the controversial John Dominic Crossan, have this idea that Jesus is really some kind of vagrant of no fixed abode, a homeless ‘wandering sage’. You might say the gospels kind of encourage this idea, since they portray Jesus in such a fashion. Not to mention the saying: “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests…”

But just because Jesus’ ministry had an itinerant stage or element does not preclude the existence of a home base to and from which Jesus and company came and went (Capernaum’s location is very convenient in this regard: one could travel to and from almost any destination in lower Galilee within a day or so) or the possibility that Jesus was a householder. You also have to remember that the sequence of events in the synoptic gospels are really artificial: the various pericopes (passages) are really stand-alone stories - snapshots from various occasions, if you will - independent of each other. They’re not a continuous narrative. So we don’t really know what the exact order of events as they historically occurred went. It’s even possible that some stories which are placed earlier in the gospels could have happened later in Jesus’ ministry and vice versa.

That’s why I think that you can’t really draw a map tracing Jesus’ routes. Sure, you could jot down and mark the places that He went, but it’s not necessarily the case that He went into those places in sequence (i.e. He was always travelling), as the gospels might at times make it appear.


Patrick makes a very important point.

Matthew has Jesus recapitulate the life of Israel. Jesus relives the life of Israel in the Old Testament in the events of his own life. Matthew has Jesus starting his ministry with Baptism in the Jordan at the same spot where Israel entered the promised land. Jesus then follows the same events and travels the same land as Israel in the Old Testament. In so doing Matthew is making a point that Jesus is leading a new exodus and inaugurating a new Israel. Mark and Luke order things differently and do so to make their own points. John has Jesus starting his ministry in Cana.

The order of events and where they take place tells us something about what the author wants us to know. That the events are ordered differently are not contradictions but part of what they author is trying to tell us.

But the answer to the OP’s question is clearly that Jesus was based in Capernaeum, in Galilee, on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. We don’t know what kind of house he lived in other than the fact that he stayed with Peter for at least a few days.



Jerusalem to Capernaum was about 120 miles. I am guessing that was about 6 day journey on foot. Probably, around half that time riding on a horse.


Jews at the time of Jesus would not have gone through Samaria to get from Galilee to Judea but would have gone around, to the west of the Jordan River. Jews thought Samaritans and their land to be unclean and avoiding Samaria would have added time to the travel.

This brings up (in my mind) the topic of the Kings Highway. It is also known as the Via Maris or Way of the Sea.

The King’s Highway was a major trade route from Heliopolis in Egypt to Resafa on the Euphrates River. It connected Egypt in the South with Mesopotamia (Babylon, Persia) in the North. The section of the King’s Highway highway in Galilee is right along the shore of the Sea of Galilee and passes through many of the cities mentioned in the Bible - Nazareth, Tiberias and Capernaum - and on to Damascus in Syria to the north.

The history of the King’s Highway is bloody. Control of the Highway was fought over for centuries. The Roman’s would have closely guarded the route because of its strategic military value and its economic value as a trade route. The presence of Roman military along the highway meant that it would have been a safe road to travel at the time by Jesus and his followers. The route is closely guarded by Israel to this day.

The King’s Highway is probably one of the reasons why Jesus chose Capernaeum and Galilee as his base of operations. Paul’s conversion likely happened on the King’s Highway as he traveled to Damascus to persecute the Christians.



Matthew 8:20

20 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.”

seems to indicate that He had no fixed abode.


He probably walked almost everywhere. He had to borrow a colt for His last entry into Jerusalem.

Travel in Israel on foot was about ten miles per day, given the need to pitch camp most places.

The route taken varied. We know from the account of the woman at the well that He did not scorn to go to Samaria. But on other occasions, He walked through Peraea (modern Jordan), Decapolis (modern Golan), etc.



Kings paraded about a city on a donkey after coronation and entered their home city in triumph that way after successfully waging war. Riding on a donkey was a sign of royalty.

A Jew traveling through Samaria would have caused great scandal.



Point taken, but if He had to borrow one the last time, it seems He didn’t have one earlier, etc.

BTW, nice map, Timothy :slight_smile:



My post wasn’t intended to challenge although it probably read that way. Sorry.



This is what I’m actually talking about in my last post. You can’t really apply this quote to all of Jesus’ ministry, since the gospels themselves imply that Jesus did have a sort of home in Capernaum. We don’t know the original context of this saying, of course; Jesus could well have said it during a stage of His mission where He really was traveling a lot and could not go back to Capernaum. That, or He said it after He had left this Capernaum home for good. That saying doesn’t mean that Jesus was literally always a wandering vagabond, as some people seem to interpret it.


Honestly, I had never even thought to wonder if the sequence of events were in order. I had always just assumed these stories were told in chronological order. Interesting to know. Thanks, everyone, for your replies. I think it makes the most sense that He probably just stayed at various homes, and, of course, set up camp.


All Jewish men had to go to Jerusalem three times every year at the major festivals. We know that Jesus usually stayed in Bethany when he visited Jerusalem.

***And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there. *(Matthew 21:17)

The Bible tells us that Bethany was within walking distance of Jerusalem.

Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, (John 11:18)

Jesus’ friend Lazarus and Martha and Mary were from Bethany. Jesus stayed at their house or at the house of Simon who was a leper.

Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, (Matthew 26:6)

Scripture tells us that many women whom Jesus cured of demons provided for Jesus and “The twelve” while they were on the road.

Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Mag’dalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joan’na, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means. (Luke 8:1-3)



The only gospel that is really chronological - or at least, gives a more convincing appearance of being chronological - is John’s. In fact, it is said by some people that it’s easier to fit the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) into John than it is to fit John into those three, and much easier to explain the synoptic chronology being an abbreviated and rearranged version of the chronology in John than to imagine John’s chronology being an expanded version of the synoptic gospels’ timeline.

The thing is, many scholars and laymen have a synoptic bias: they tend to consider the synoptic accounts as historically ‘superior’ by default mainly only because John contains all those long sermons and high Christology. They think John is too theological to be historically reliable. :smiley: That explains why most people take it for granted that Jesus’ cleansing of the temple must have happened in Holy Week: because that’s where Matt, Mark and Luke place it. John’s version (where it happens right at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry) is, they claim, a theologically-motivated rearrangement.* But food for thought: what if the reverse turns out to be true? What if John’s version actually reflects more ‘what really happened’, and that it’s actually the three synoptics who moved the event later in Jesus’ life?

  • Of course, some people will claim that Jesus cleared the temple twice, citing differences in the two versions. But this interpretation has few takers, at least on the academic level: IMHO this interpretation could potentially be seen as a softer version of the more extreme ideas like Peter denying Jesus six times or Jesus being crucified along with five people or Jesus ascending to heaven twice or more times. In other words, the ‘resolving discrepancies in the gospels by just saying both are literally true’ method - sometimes even to the point that the resulting solution ends up contradicting the gospels themselves.


I’m replying to your post again to give you some few examples.

First, you have the story Jesus’ rejection in Nazareth. Luke places it quite early, right at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry - before He moved to Capernaum (4:16-30). But in Matthew (14:53-58) and Mark (6:1-6), it happens somewhere midway during His mission. Matthew’s version of the story of the paralytic in Capernaum and the calling of Matthew (9:1-8) is placed after that of Jesus calming the storm and going to Gadara (8:23-34), whereas in Mark and Luke, the paralytic’s healing and the calling of Levi (Mk. 2:1-17; Lk. 5:17-32) occur way before the calming of the storm and His travel to Gerasa (Mk. 4:35-end, 5:1-20; Lk. 8:22-39). You might say Matthew’s inclusion of the Sermon on the Mount right in the middle of what in Mark and Luke is the ‘Capernaum section’ (describing Jesus in Capernaum; Mk. 1:21-38; Lk. 4:31-44) jumbled up the chronology a bit.

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