This memory of Capernaum provides context for a story from Jesus's life in the Gospel of Luke (chapter 7, 1-3):
After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave.To ruin the drama of this encounter, I'll note that Jesus does in fact heal the slave. In the process, Jesus demonstrates that he's more than fine about moving beyond the confines of the Jewish people to do his work of healing. (This is a theme the Gospel of Luke loves.) But before that healing, another thing happens that's contained in these verses: somehow this Roman military officer--outside of the Jewish faith--heard about Jesus, which I suppose occurred through local people sharing stories about Jesus's messages and his healing. And that fact leads me to another question: How does this happen today?
My response is entirely too straightforward--people hear about Jesus through the witness of his followers. Sometimes it's through relating their faith. Sometimes it's through acts of kindness. If knowing Jesus is good, it's got to be shared. And I suppose the bottom line, as it follows the story here, is the goodness and beauty of Jesus isn't the sole property of the Christian community. Like a good infection, it just keeps moving beyond the boundaries we set up.