My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, 02-21-2019

Luke reminded Theophilus “of all that Jesus began both to do and teach” (Acts 1:1).  John admits “there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25).  Have you ever wondered what things Jesus did that doesn’t have much revealed about it?  Perhaps there is a lesson in that too?

Jesus went to the synagogue to worship.  While there he was given the privilege to teach.  Matthew, Mark, and Luke record two visits (Matthew 12:9 and 13:54; Mark 3:3 and 6:2; Luke 4:16 and 6:6).  John records only one (John 6:59).  Some believe Jesus only went to the synagogue twice during his life.  Some believe his purpose on those two occasions was to show the audience he was the true Messiah.  Some never consider the thought that Jesus attended for the purpose of worshiping.

Luke tells us that Jesus attended “as was his custom” (Luke 4:16).  The word “custom” is translated from the Greek έθω (ethos) meaning “habit.”  John informs us that Jesus, stated, “I always taught in the synagogues and in the temple” (John 18:20).  That sounds like more visits than the two recorded times given by Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  Jesus was a faithful Jew who perfectly lived by the Law.  Being Jewish, he faithfully attended worship in the temple.  Although the synagogue was born out of culture rather than scripture, both Jesus and the apostles were in the habit of attending.  Although worship in both locales would be strange to us, it was not for the Jewish Jesus.  Jesus condemned some for making their traditions into doctrine, but he saw nothing wrong in practicing traditions as tradition (Matthew 15:9; Luke 13:15; 14:5).

Although Jesus often worshiped privately, his public worship is sometimes overlooked.  From the time he was youthful he attended the annual Passover feasts in Jerusalem (Luke 2:41-42).  The good doctor informs us that “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).  If Jesus had not frequented the synagogue assemblies, the “in favor with . . . men” would have been absent and he would have been viewed as a rebellious teen.  Jesus would have probably been criticized for being “too religious” rather than “not religious enough.”  His devotion to Yahweh caused his mother to keep “all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51).  John gives us a time marker on the length of Jesus’ public ministry with these words, “Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem” (John 2:13; 12:2; 13:1).  It also shows he attended Passover in Jerusalem each year.

When Jesus was born, he was taken to the Temple to be circumcised.  This was a covenant practice between Israel and God (Genesis 17:10-14).  His parents paid the priest either two turtledoves or two pigeons (Luke 2:24). Since scripture is silent concerning a sacrifice being offered by Jesus, some assumed he was exempt from them.  If exempt from that part of the law, why not from circumcision?  He was just as perfect and in fellowship with the Father at one time as he was the other.  John’s baptism was for the “remission of sin” (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3), which Jesus submitted to just as sacrifices were for purposes also not related to Jesus.  But he was a Jew under the Law of Moses.  He came to fulfill it, not to bypass it.  He submitted to both John’s immersion and the sacrifices for the same purpose “to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15).

When Jesus and his apostles finished that last Passover meal, they went to the garden.  On the way, Matthew 26:30 and Mark 14:26 tells us they “sung a hymn.”  This passage, like John 9:31 is often misapplied.  Some interpret John 9:31 to teach that God doesn’t hear the prayer of a non-Christian.  How could that be the meaning when it was stated prior to Jesus’ death when those involved were incapable of becoming Christians?  Some point to the word “sung,” leaving the impression that it would have been sinful if a mechanical instrument of music had accompanied them.  That interpretation, like the one given for John 9:31 misses the time period of both passages.  You cannot take a scriptural event prior to the cross and read it as if it was made after the cross and Jesus’ ascension.

Jesus was born a Jew, lived as a Jew, died as a Jew, was resurrected as a Jew, and ascended into heaven as a Jew.  He did Jewish things in Jewish ways, for Jewish purposes.  While he was in the flesh here upon earth, he never spoke to nor saw a Christian.  His church or saved assembly had not yet been built.  To put it in a simpler form, Jesus was never a Christian.  He was a Jew who lived under the Law of Moses that he came to fulfill.  He had to die to accomplish that work.

We gave him all our sins when he died upon the cross.  In that sacrificial act, he made it possible for those who put their trust in him to receive the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

But when the right time came, the time God decided on, he sent his Son, born of a woman, born as a Jew, to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law so that he could adopt us as his very own sons.  And because we are his sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, so now we can rightly speak of God as our dear Father.  Now we are no longer slaves but God’s own sons. And since we are his sons, everything he has belongs to us, for that is the way God planned” (Galatians 4:4-7).