He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.
Today we will look at the setting of Jesus’s return to Nazareth after His temptation in the desert. Luke 4 gives an overview of Jesus’s ministry in the northern region of Israel. “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all” (vv. 14-15).
Returning to Nazareth must have been an emotional time for Jesus, especially when He returned to the synagogue He had attended as a child to worship with His family every Sabbath. Many of you have a home church–a church that no matter where you go in life, it will always be home for you. Perhaps it’s the place you were saved as a child. Perhaps it’s the church where you found the Lord as a teenager or adult, or perhaps it’s the place where you grew strong in your Christian life. Jesus had such a place. For Him it was the synagogue in Nazareth.
I want you to notice something significant in verse 16. It says, “He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath.” I want to make a very practical application. Jesus was the Son of God. Yet the Bible says that every week He had a habit of going to worship. Now I want you to think about this: if anybody could have come up with some good excuses for not going to worship, it would have been Jesus. He could have used all the excuses people use today for not coming to church. He could have said, “I’ve heard it all before.” That’s true. Jesus knew the Scriptures. He even wrote the Scriptures. But Jesus didn’t use that as an excuse. He could have said, “You know, the leaders in the synagogue are not very spiritual; they are not as spiritual as I am.” And that was true. At this time, the synagogue leaders were caught up in legalism and ritualism. Jesus could have said, “I don’t agree with the way they spend the money at the synagogue, so I’m not going be a part of it.” And it was true: in that time, the Jewish system of worship was corrupt in every way. Yet Jesus supported the synagogue and commanded others to support it with their tithes. Jesus could have said, “I don’t need an organized religion to worship; I can just have a relationship with God on My own.” It was true. Jesus had a perfect relationship with His heavenly Father.
Here is the point: if Jesus knew that meeting together once a week for worship and praise with God’s people was a spiritual necessity for Him, then how much more is it a necessity for us? Why do we see Christians getting picked off one by one by Satan? Because they have neglected this very simple principle that you can’t survive as a Christian without regular worship with God’s people. For Jesus regular worship was a necessity, so He came into the synagogue.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Day Jesus Came to Church” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2004.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
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