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Saturday, December 3 2011

The Messiah's Hometown Churches

The Hebrew word, pronounced moe-ade, means congregation or appointed time. The word is found over 200 times in the Hebrew Scriptures (i.e. the "Old Testament"), variously translated as congregation, appointed, time, feast, season, assembly, and once, in the King James Version, as synagogue:

"74:8 They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land. 74:9 We see not our signs: there is no more any prophet: neither is there among us any that knoweth how long." (Psalm 74:8-9 KJV)

In the New Testament, the Greek word, pronounced soon-ag-oh-gay, meaning an assembly of people, is translated as synagogue. Jesus Christ was an observant Jew (see also Who Were The First Jews?) - "observant" as in obeying God's Law in the way that God actually commanded, rather than merely in ways of man's traditions that came to replace the actual Law of God (see Did Jesus Break The Law?). As such, the Messiah attended His hometown synagogue in Nazareth, until His ministry began - when they violently rejected Him.


"4:14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee [see also The Prophet Of Galilee]: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. 4:15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.

4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias [i.e. Isaiah; see also What Did Isaiah Know About Jesus Christ?].

And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 4:19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

4:20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 4:21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

4:22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son? [see also The Flight Into Egypt]

4:23 And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.

4:24 And he said, Verily, I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. 4:25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias [i.e. Elijah; see The Prophets: Elijah], when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; 4:26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. 4:27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.

4:28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 4:29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. 4:30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way." (Luke 4:14-30 KJV)

"The Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath Day"

The Messiah then moved from Nazareth, in the inland hill country, to Capernaum, a fishing town on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. The Messiah's Ministry was just then beginning; the first apostles (who were fishermen on the nearby Sea of Galilee) were called not long after (see also The Ships Of Galilee).


"4:31 And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. 4:32 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.

4:33 And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, 4:34 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.

4:35 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not [see The Devil Cure].

4:36 And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out. 4:37 And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about." (Luke 4:31-37 KJV)

The Messiah also preached in other synagogues, thereby making Him a popular Teacher throughout Galilee.

"9:35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few [see The Yoke Of Freedom]; 9:38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest." (Matthew 9:35-38 KJV)

The Messiah healed people on the Sabbath, despite the protests of those who incorrectly regarded healings to be work (the Messiah never sinned - He never violated the Fourth Commandment; see The Way To Salvation: Step 4).

The Holy Scriptures

"12:8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

12:9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: 12:10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.

12:11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 12:12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

12:13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other." (Matthew 12:8-13 KJV)

So typical of petty human nature, people began to take offense at Him, while at the same time recognizing "hath this man this wisdom" and that He was doing "mighty works."

"13:54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?

13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 13:56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?

13:57 And they were offended in him.

But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.

13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief." (Matthew 13:54-58 KJV)

Fact Finder: Who built the first Christian Church?
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This Day In History, December 3

311: Roman emperor Diocletian died at age 66 (see also Ancient Empires - Rome and New Testament Roman Emperors).

1170: Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, returned to Britain after six years of exile in France. He was killed on December 29 by soldiers sent by his former ally King Henry II.

1586: Sir Thomas Herriot introduced potatoes to England, from Columbia.

1621: Italian astronomer and mathematician Galileo Galilei (who the pope threatened to burn at the stake for correctly teaching that the earth orbits the sun, not the sun orbits the earth as the pope incorrectly proclaimed; see also No 'Flat Earth' In The Bible) perfected the telescope (see also Parabolic Prophecies).

1762: France transferred to Spain all territory west of the Mississippi - known as Upper Louisiana.

1800: During the War of The Second Coalition, 60,000 French under Moreau defeated 70,000 Austrians under Archduke John at the Battle of Hohenlinden in upper Bavaria.

1910: The neon lamp, developed by French physicist George Claude, was displayed for the first time at the Paris Motor show.

1912: An armistice was signed by Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro, ending the First Balkan War.

1917: The United States declared war on Austria-Hungary during the First World War, 8 months after the U.S. declared war on Germany, and 3 years and 4 months after the war in Europe began (listen also to our Sermon The European World Wars).

1931: The Statute of Westminster was passed, under which British dominions gained complete legislative independence.

1967: A team of surgeons in Cape Town, South Africa, led by Dr. Christian Barnard, performed the first human heart transplant on Louis Washkansky, who lived for 18 days.

1970: British Trade Commissioner James Cross was released by the Front de Liberation du Quebec ("FLQ") terrorists in Montreal. Cross was kidnapped in October along with Quebec cabinet minister Pierre Laporte (Laporte was murdered). The FLQ sought to remove Quebec from Canada by means of violent revolution (see also Violence); the majority of the people of Quebec however democratically and peacefully chose for themselves to remain Canadian through repeated referendums in which Quebec voters, not criminals, decided the future of Quebec.

1984: Over 2,500 people were killed and thousands injured when deadly gas leaked from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India.


Copyright © Wayne Blank