Theological and New Testament Significance
St Peter’s House is an important discovery in regards to its significance theologically and to the New Testament. Not only this, a large part of its importance lies in the wider context of it being situated in the town of Capernaum. This relatively small town was where Jesus began and made his ‘headquarters’ for his ministry, with Bromiley pointing out that Matthew 9:1 calls Capernaum ‘his own city’. It is not too speculative to assume that as an unmarried man without his own household, Jesus himself was likely to have spent a considerable amount of time in Peter’s home. Capernaum was also where five of Jesus’ disciples lived and were called. Obviously St Peter himself had residence in Capernaum, but Matthew, James, John and Andrew also lived in or nearby the town.
Furthermore, Capernaum was the site where Jesus gave some of his earliest teachings and performed some of his most well-known miracles or exorcisms. Such healings and miracles included the healing of the centurion’s servant, the paralyzed man who was lowered through a hole in the roof by his friends, and Peter’s mother being cured of sickness. Not only this, but according to Metzger the synagogue was also where the bread of life discourse occurred, in arguably one of the most significant parts of John’s writings.
During the apostolic period St Peter’s house was rebuilt to become a house church in the fourth century. Excavations on the house have shown signs of graffiti from Christians indicate that it was a site of pilgrimage from early on, being mentioned by Egeria (a fourth century pilgrim) as ‘the house of the prince of the apostles’. Nevertheless, there remains speculation over whether the house is in fact that of St Peter.
As excavations have continued the discoveries at Capernaum have deepened scholars’ knowledge of what Jesus’ life would’ve looked like, enhancing their understanding of the context and significance of the stories and teachings described in the Gospels.