(14) And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. (15) And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.Luke 4:14-15
The Ministry of the Messiah
Jesus had spent over a year down in Judea according to the book of John. Luke begins telling about Jesus’ ministry by starting more than year in when he began to minister in Galilee. Luke is not giving all of these narratives completely chronologically, but selects them specifically for a reason. Luke begins in Jesus’ hometown, and tells this story because it really does introduce the ministry of Jesus.
Jesus’s ministry was a ministry of reaching, teaching and ministering to people. Some people accepted Him and others rejected Him. Nazareth was the town where Jesus was brought up.
Notice what the scripture says about the habits of Jesus. He said, “as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day”. Jesus had a habit to gathering with people at the synagogue. If it was a habit for Jesus to gather together with people where the Word of God is taught and where God is worshipped, it isn’t a bad plan for us as well. We should imitate Him in that.
The “synagogue” was a place for gathering for worship and the study of God’s word. The word translated “synagogue” is found 5 times in this chapter.
Synagogues are not found in the Old Testament. In the time of the captivity, Jerusalem’s temple had been destroyed. People began to gather together to worship and study God’s Word. By the time Jesus came on the scene there were synagogues all over the Mediterranean world. Wherever there were 10 Jewish men they were able to have a synagogue. They had a person, called a “ruler of the synagogue”, that was in charge of choosing who would teach. They had a person in charge of the buildings and the scrolls. They were called “houses of instruction” and that is exactly what they were.
There were often educational opportunities through the week, and even the equivalent of an elementary school for kids, except they exclusively taught the Torah to the children. tGod, in His providence, had made all these synagogues spring up. When Jesus came he had places to go around and preach and teach.
This is a similar custom to what the Apostle Paul adopted. Paul would go to the synagogues because it was a concentrated gathering of people who already believed in the God of the Old Testament, and that revered the Old Testament scriptures.
God prepared the world for Jesus’ ministry.
The fact that God had moved history towards these local gatherings of people for the point of Bible teaching, worship and fellowship shows that God was preparing the world for His Son. Called in the scripture “the fullness of times”, God brought Jesus at just the right time in human history to bring about His purposes. This same God is in control of our history and our lives. He can be trusted
Jesus had a habit of gathering with others for worship, instruction and fellowship.
If Jesus exemplified this, so should we. We need to gather with our local body for these same reasons.
The gathering of people for the instruction of the Word of God is part of God’s plan for evangelizing the world.
The point of this gathering is for God to be worshipped by ourselves and everyone that He has called us to reach. As we grow together in Christlikeness with other believers God grows us into the missionaries that He wants us to be. The end of discipleship is service and sending into all the world to preach the Gospel to every creature.
Are you gathering with other believers regularly?
Are you growing as a disciple and as a missionary?