THE PREACHING OF JESUS AT NAZARETH, AND ITS
RESULT. Luke 4:14-31
Saturday, March 01, 2014
PASTOR/TEACHER CHARLES e. WHISNA...
hearing.”
22 And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were
falling from His lips; and ...
here related, some considerable time had intervened. John, in his
Gospel, gives a somewhat detailed account of this period...
We can learn from the Lord's visit to the assembly of worshippers in the Jewish
synagogue:
We are not to lightly to forsak...
Thus as a word of note: Today we must ourselves take note of how we
regard Christ.
We must see Him as the Head over all th...
Jesus Christ’s mission as preaching and teaching
Lk 4:43 pp Mk 1:38 See also Mt 11:5 pp Lk 7:22; Mk 6:6; Jn
7:16; Ac 1:1
J...
The results of Jesus Christ’s preaching and teaching
Jesus Christ invited a response
Mt 11:28-30 See also Mt 13:23 pp Mk 4...
the same with this first one; because we cannot think that the
Nazarenes, after being so enraged at His first display of w...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synagogue
There are many theories of the origin of a gathering place called
synagogue. The Gr...
"assembly" of Jesus' followers would do well to remember that the roots
of the church are in a community living and worshi...
in the Temple courts was unusual not so much because of his age, but
because of the wise questions he asked, see Luke 2:41...
The new community of Jesus was born out of the synagogue.
Believers were to become assemblies, not single individuals seek...
constructs primarily. This is made clear by both the etymology and usage of the
term in Jewish and non-Jewish lit. The wor...
synagogue can be ascertained from the society which existed under Pers. and
later Hel. rule. The removal of the Levitical ...
synagogues is similar to the Graeco-Romanesque of the contemporary pagan
constructs. Of special importance is the Jewish t...
built in Dura Europus and various parts of Egypt and the worship of the Jews from the
Diaspora mentioned in Acts 2:9-11, w...
some separation down the center. In the Rom. age many of these buildings were of a
type of Corinthian Gr. design with free...
C. Furniture and decoration. The furniture of the ancient and early medieval synagogue
was utilitarian and connected with ...
does contemporary Christian art of the period to the sculpting of the mosaics. Again, the
scenes are of the various festiv...
development of the rabbinate. In the OT, the authority of the Jewish community was
vested in the convention or council of ...
term and thus only confused the meaning of the word. As with all offices of the ancient
Israelite religious state, the azz...
The reading of the se
liah zibbur and the interpretation of the me
tōrgmān were preceded
by the public proclamation of the...
Heb., Torah, Talmud, and Jewish law in general. Although the modern rabbinate still
inherits the background of Pharisaic J...
when they came into more frequent contact with the Jews as a result of the
Renaissance. The high place accorded the Psalms...
===================================================================
Luke 4:15: And he taught in their synagogues, being gl...
All members of a Jewish community could participate in the community life
of the synagogue.
Some Jewish traditions hold th...
prophets were either kept in a portable chest and brought to the synagogue for worship or were kept in the
Synagogue itsel...
because we are made that way through Jesus (1 Cor. 12:12-13). In our fractured, broken world, with all its self-
preoccupa...
of his time. It is significant that he came to Jerusalem at age 12,
already wise; then he learned a trade from His father ...
for to read.
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his
custom was, he went into the synagogue on ...
visit is before that recorded in Mark 6:1-6; Matthew 13:54-58 which was just
before the third tour of Galilee. Here Jesus ...
his interest in his home town.
To read (αναγνωναι — anagnonaī ). Second aorist active infinitive of
αναγινωσκω — anaginos...
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14
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Luke 4 14 31 cew manuscript 03 01 14

  1. 1. THE PREACHING OF JESUS AT NAZARETH, AND ITS RESULT. Luke 4:14-31 Saturday, March 01, 2014 PASTOR/TEACHER CHARLES e. WHISNANT 03/01/14 ttp://www.studylight.org/com/tpc/view.cgi?bk=lu&ch=4 Jesus’ Public Ministry 14 And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. 15 And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all. 16 And 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. 17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, Isaiah 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, 19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” 20 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your
  2. 2. hearing.” 22 And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” 23 And He said to them, “No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’” 24 And He said, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown. But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naan the Syrian.” 28 And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; 29 and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, He went His way. 31 And He came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and He was teaching them on the Sabbath; 32 and they were amazed at His teaching, for His message was with authority. 33 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, Let’s set the scene by reading verse 14:“Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.” We know from the opening chapters in the Gospel of John that after performing His first miracle in Cana (John 2:1-11), Jesus spent about a year ministering in the south, in the area known as Judea, where he challenged Nicodemus to be born again (John 3:3). Then, on his way back north, he ministered to the Samaritan woman (John 4:1-42), and then went to Galilee (John 4:43). Jesus spent the first 30 years of his life in this area so He was very well- known and the news about Him “spread through the whole countryside.” This literally means that “talk ran rapidly in every direction.” =========================================== ========= http://www.jesus-story.net/buildings_NT.htm Life of Jesus christ Buildings Jesus knew: Luke 4:14 LukeAnd Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. Between the events of the temptation and the preaching at Nazareth
  3. 3. here related, some considerable time had intervened. John, in his Gospel, gives a somewhat detailed account of this period which Luke omits. Shortly after the temptation, took place the concluding incidents in the Baptist's career, which Luke summarized in his brief statement (Luke 3:19, Luke 3:20), when he tells us of the arrest and imprisonment of the fearless preacher by the Tetrarch Herod.. John tells how the Sanhedrin sent some special envoys to the Baptist, asking him formally who he really was. After this questioning, John in his Gospel mentions the calling of Andrew, Simon, Philip, and Nathanael, and then records the first miracle of Jesus at Cana in Galilee, and how the Lord visited Capernaum. He then proceeds to relate some of the circumstances which took place at the Passover at Jerusalem, and how the Lord drove out the men who profaned his Father's house. He writes down, too, the particulars of Nicodemus the Pharisee's visit to Jesus by night. The Master then proceeded, as is here related by Luke, "in the power of the Spirit," who descended on him formally at his baptism, into Galilee, and on his journey thither tarried at Samaria, resting on the well there, and talking with the woman in those memorable words recorded by John at length in his fourth chapter (verses 4-42). Rapidly the report of what he had done at Cana, the fame of his marvellous words at Jerusalem, Samaria, and other places, spread through all the central districts of the Holy Land. http://www.studylight.org/com/rwp/view.cgi?bk=41&ch=4 =============================================================== ===== JESUS READS THE SCRIPTURES (Matthew 4:12-17; Mark 1:14-15) (Luke 4:14-31) JESUS IN THE SYNAGOGUE AT NAZARETH READING TO THE CONGREGATION SCRIPTURE READ THE TEXT, EXPLAINING THE TEXT, APPLIED THE TEXT ITS CALL EXPOSITIONAL PREACHING/TEACHING These verses relate events which are only recorded in Luke. They describe the first visit which our Lord paid, after entering on His public ministry, to the city of Nazareth, where He had been brought up. Taken together with the two verses which immediately follow, they furnish an awfully striking proof, that “the carnal mind is enmeity againt God (Romans 8:7)
  4. 4. We can learn from the Lord's visit to the assembly of worshippers in the Jewish synagogue: We are not to lightly to forsake any assembly of worshipers which professes to respect the name, the day and the book of God. There may be many things in such an assembly which might be done better: there may be a deficiency of fullness, clearness, and distinctness in the doctrine preached. There also may be a lack of unction, and devoutness in the manner in which the worship is conducted. But so long as no positive error is taught, and there is no choice between worshiping with such an assembly, and having no public worship at all, it becomes a Christians to think much before he stays away. Jesus here is going to give the congregation at Nazareth something about His ministry , and His office. We are going to see that Jesus used Isaiah's prophecy that tells about the coming of the Messiah, why He came into the world. And Jesus is going to tell those who were listening to Him that day, that He Himself was the Messiah of whom these words that were written long ago were about Him, we are going to learn today. Jesus is going to open the Old Testament roll and he is going to express and try to impress on His Jewish hearers, the true character of the Messiah, whom He knew all Israel were th4en expecting. He wel lknew that they were looking for a mere temporal king, who would deliever thelm from Roman dominion, and make them once more, foremost among the nations. And such expectation, He would have them understand, were premature and wrong. Messiah's kingdom at His first coming was to be a spiritual kingdom over hearts. His victories were not to be over wordly enemies, but over sin. His redemption ws not to be from the power of Rome, but from the power of the devil and the world. It was in this way, and in no other way at present, that they must expect to seethe words of Isaiah fulfilled.
  5. 5. Thus as a word of note: Today we must ourselves take note of how we regard Christ. We must see Him as the Head over all things. We must see Him as Jesus as the Friend of the poor in Spirit, the Physician of the diseased heart, the deliverer of the soul in bondage. If we are to have any hope of our salvatioN We must learn to know Jesus Christ , to know Him by inward experience, as well as by the hearing of the ear. Without which we shall died in our sins. But you should also note about the manner in which in many churches today how the teaching of Jesus Christ is often heard. We are going to see after Jesus finished His sermon they were amazed at the manner of His sermon, the way Jesus delivered His sermon, and they could not find any flaw in the exposition of Scripture that they had just heard. Here was the problem.... its in the text later. (There hearts were utterly unmoved and unaffected. They were so full of envy and enmity against the Preacher. In short, there seems to have been no effect produced on them, except a little temporary feelings of admirdation. Sad to say its not hard to believe that there are people today in Christians churches that are in any better state of mind than our Lord's hearers at Nazareth. There are 1000's who do listen regularly to the preaching of the Gospel, and admire it while they listen. They do not dispute the truth of what they hear. They even feel a kind of intellectual pleasure in hearing a good and powerful sermon. But there religon never goes beyond this point. Their sermon hearing does not prevent them living a life of thoughtlessness, wordliness and sin. What had Jesus been doing before this event: =============================================================== ========== Luke 4:14-31 Verse 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. 2363 Jesus Christ, preaching and teaching of A vital feature of Jesus Christ’s ministry, focusing on his authoritative proclamation of the kingdom of God.
  6. 6. Jesus Christ’s mission as preaching and teaching Lk 4:43 pp Mk 1:38 See also Mt 11:5 pp Lk 7:22; Mk 6:6; Jn 7:16; Ac 1:1 Jesus Christ was regarded as a teacher and prophet Jn 1:38 “Rabbi” was an honorific title given to Jesus Christ unofficially by the people. See also Mt 16:14 pp Mk 8:28 pp Lk 9:19; Mt 23:10; Mt 26:25; Mk 9:5; Mk 10:51; Jn 13:13 The sources of Jesus Christ’s preaching and teaching Jesus Christ’s words were grounded in Scripture Lk 24:27 See also Mt 4:4 pp Lk 4:4; Dt 8:3; Mt 21:16; Ps 8:2; Mt 22:29-32 pp Mk 12:24-27 pp Lk 20:35-38 Jesus Christ’s words came from God Jn 7:16 See also Jn 3:2; Jn 8:28; Jn 12:49-50 Jesus Christ spoke in the power of the Spirit Ac 1:2 See also Lk 4:14-15; Jn 3:34; Jn 6:63 The content of Jesus Christ’s preaching and teaching The kingdom of God Lk 9:11 See also Mt 4:17,23; Mt 6:33; Mt 13:24; Mk 1:15; Jn 3:3 God as Father Jn 14:8-14 See also Mt 6:31-32 pp Lk 12:30-31; Mt 10:32-33; Mt 18:10; Mk 11:25; Jn 5:17-23; Jn 8:18-19 Jesus Christ’s own identity Jn 4:25-26 See also Mt 16:13-17 pp Mk 8:27-30 pp Lk 9:18-21; Lk 4:20- 21; Lk 24:44; Jn 10:11; Jn 14:6-7 Jesus Christ’s mission Mk 9:31 pp Mt 17:22-23 pp Lk 9:44 See also Mt 20:17-19 pp Mk 10:32- 34 pp Lk 18:31-34; Lk 19:9-10; Lk 24:46; Jn 6:51; Jn 10:14-15 How people should live Mt 5:48 See also Mt 5:20-22,43-44; Mt 7:12; Mt 19:21-24 pp Mk 10:21- 25 pp Lk 18:22-25; Mt 22:35-40 pp Mk 12:28-31; Lk 6:35; Jn 13:34-35; Jn 15:12-13 The future Mk 14:62 pp Lk 22:69 See also Mt 10:15 pp Lk 10:12; Mt 12:36-37; Mt 24:1-2 pp Mk 13:1-2 pp Lk 21:5-6; Mt 24:36-44; Mt 25:31-33; Lk 17:26- 35 Jesus Christ criticised false teachings Mt 15:6-9 pp Mk 7:6-7 See also Isa 29:13; Mt 7:15-16; Mt 16:12; Mt 23:2-4; Mk 12:38-39 pp Lk 20:45-46
  7. 7. The results of Jesus Christ’s preaching and teaching Jesus Christ invited a response Mt 11:28-30 See also Mt 13:23 pp Mk 4:20 pp Lk 8:15; Mt 22:8-10; Lk 14:21-24; Jn 5:24 Jesus Christ looked for an obedient response Lk 11:28 See also Mt 7:24-27; Mt 11:15; Mt 13:23 pp Mk 4:20 pp Lk 8:15; Mt 28:20; Mk 4:9; Jn 14:23-24 People responded to Jesus Christ’s preaching and teaching Jn 12:42 See also Mt 8:19-22 pp Lk 9:57-60; Mt 13:10-15 pp Mk 4:10-12; Jn 4:39; Jn 6:68-69 Characteristics of Jesus Christ’s preaching and teaching It had authority Mt 7:28-29 See also Mt 21:23 pp Mk 11:28 pp Lk 20:2; Mt 22:22 pp Mk 12:17 pp Lk 20:26; Mk 1:22 pp Lk 4:32; Mk 1:27; Jn 7:15 Jesus Christ lived out what he preached and taught Jn 10:38 The “miracles” (literally “works”) conveyed the same message as Jesus Christ’s words. See also Mt 11:29; Mt 16:24 pp Mk 8:34 pp Lk 9:23; Jn 13:15,34 Jesus Christ’s preaching and teaching methods His use of lessons drawn from people’s experience Mt 9:16-17 pp Mk 2:21-22 pp Lk 5:36-37; Mt 12:11-12; Mt 18:12 pp Lk 15:4; Lk 9:62; Lk 13:15-16 His use of parables Mt 13:34 See also Mt 13:3 pp Mk 4:2 pp Lk 8:4 His use of everyday objects Mt 6:26-29 pp Lk 12:23-27; Mt 22:19-21 pp Mk 12:15-17 pp Lk 20:24-25 His use of questions Mt 6:25-28; Mt 21:24-25 pp Mk 11:29 pp Lk 20:3-4; Lk 10:36- 37 =============================================================== ======= • Note. - A large gap here occurs, embracing the important transactions in Galilee and Jerusalem which are recorded in John 1:29-4:54, and which occurred before John‘s imprisonment (John 3:24); whereas the transactions here recorded occurred (as appears from Matthew 4:12, Matthew 4:13) after that event. The visit to Nazareth recorded in Matthew 13:54-58 (and Mark 6:1-6) we take to be not a later visit, but
  8. 8. the same with this first one; because we cannot think that the Nazarenes, after being so enraged at His first display of wisdom as to attempt His destruction, should, on a second display of the same, wonder at it and ask how He came by it, as if they had never witnessed it before. ============================================================== ========== Luke 4:15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. His miracles, his words touching and eloquent, perhaps too a dim memory of marvels which had happened years before at his birth, shed round the new Teacher a halo of glory. It was only when, instead of the Messianic hopes of conquest and power which they cherished, a life of brave self-denial and quiet generosity was preached, that the reaction against him set in. The men of Nazareth, with their violent antagonism, which we are about to consider, were only, after all, a few months in advance of the rest of the nation in their rejection of the Messiah. http://followtherabbi.com/guide/detail/he-went-to-synagogue He Went To Synagogue. The New Testament records more than 10 occasions on which the ministry of Jesus took place in the synagogue. He Went To The Synagogue The New Testament records more than 10 occasions on which the ministry of Jesus took place in the synagogue. The Gospels record that "Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues." Yet the Christian reader rarely ponders the significance of such an apparently common structure so central in Jesus' ministry. The synagogue provided a ready platform for the teaching of Jesus and later the apostle Paul. In that way, it proved to be a significant part of God's preparing exactly the right cultural practices for his Son's ministry. But more than that, Jesus, his disciples, and Paul (as well as most early Jewish followers of Jesus) went to the synagogue to worship. The synagogue was not simply a place to share God's Word, but also an important part of the Jewish people's relationship to God. It might surprise modern Christians to discover that many church practices are based on synagogue customs that Jesus followed. Understanding the synagogue and its place in Jesus' life and teaching is an important step in hearing his message in the cultural context in which God placed it. THE ORIGIN
  9. 9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synagogue There are many theories of the origin of a gathering place called synagogue. The Greek word means "assembly" and is used in place of the Hebrew word meaning "congregation" or "community of Israel." Originally, it probably referred to the gathered people and over time came to refer to the place of assembly as well. It is never used to refer to the Temple, which was God's dwelling place and not primarily a place of assembly for the community. No one but Levites and priests could enter the Temple. All members of a Jewish community could participate in the community life of the synagogue. Some Jewish traditions hold that there were places of assembly for the study of Torah during the time of the Temple of Solomon. At the most, the Old Testament indicates that the practice of prayer, with or without sacrifice, which was to be so central to the synagogue, had already begun (Ps. 116:17; Isa. 1:11,15; 1 Sam. 1:10ff). The beginning of the assembly of people for the purpose of study and prayer (the Jewish way of describing worship) appears to be the Babylonian exile after the destruction of the first Temple. Jewish scholars believe Ezekiel's reassuring promise that God would provide a "sanctuary" (11:16) for his people is a reference to the small groups that gathered in their homes during the exile to recall God's covenant, his law, and especially the redemptive promises of the prophets. It is likely that these godly people, having learned a hard lesson about the importance of obedience to God, assembled regularly to study his Torah to prevent the sins of their ancestors from being repeated. A group of experts in the law and its interpretation taught and studied in small associations at humble locations called "houses of study." These places of study, and the reflection on the need to be obedient, are the roots of the synagogue, a sanctuary to inspire obedience to God. In spite of the later emphasis on prayer and study in the place of assembly, it is likely the main focus of the early gatherings of Jewish people was simply the need to maintain their identity as a people living in a foreign and pagan country. That the synagogue began as the center of the Jewish social life is confirmed by the fact that it was the community center in the first century as well. The synagogue was school, meeting place, courtroom, and place of prayer. In some towns, the synagogue may even have provided lodging for travelers. It was the place where small groups of Jewish students assembled for Scripture reading and discussion of the Torah and oral tradition. This meant that worship and study, friendship and comnity celebration, and even the governing of the community were all done by the same people in the same place. It appears that the early church patterned itself after the synagogue and continued the same practice of living and worshiping together as a community, often in private homes (Acts 2:42?47). The modern
  10. 10. "assembly" of Jesus' followers would do well to remember that the roots of the church are in a community living and worshiping together. Worship (prayer) was a natural extension of the life of the community. SYNAGOGUES OF JESUS' TIME By the first century, a synagogue was found in most of the towns and villages of Galilee. The Gospels specifically mention those of Nazareth (Matt.13:54) and Capernaum (Mark 1:21). Archaeological evidence is scant for those early synagogues, though later ones left much more substantial remains. Typically, they were built on the highest point in town or on a raised platform. As long as the Temple stood in Jerusalem, synagogues apparently did not face Jerusalem. In some cases, the front facade had three doors. Inside there were benches on three sides of the room. There was a small platform where the speakers or readers would stand, and it is possible that a small menorah (a seven- branched candlestick), like the one in the Temple, stood on that platform. The floor was usually dirt or flagstones, and common people probably sat on mats on the floor, while the important people sat on the stone benches (Matt. 23:6). In later synagogues, elaborate mosaics with a variety of designs covered the floor (none exist from Jesus' time). There was a seat for the reader of the Torah called the Moses Seat (or the Seat of Honor), because the Torah recorded the words of Moses so the reader was taking Moses place (Matt. 23:2). The Torah scrolls and the writings of the prophets were either kept in a portable chest and brought to the synagogue for worship or were kept in the Synagogue itself in a permanent Torah cabinet (called the holy ark). Outside was a Mikveh (ritual bath) for the symbolic cleansing required for entrance into the synagogue. Local elders governed the synagogue, a kind of democracy. While all adult members of the community could belong to the synagogue, only adult males age 13 or older could be elders. A local caretaker (unfortunately sometimes called "ruler" in the English Bible), called the hazzan, was responsible for maintaining the building and organizing the prayer services (Mark 5:22, 35?36, 38; Luke 8:41-49, 13:14). The hazzan was sometimes the teacher of the synagogue school, especially in smaller villages. He would announce the coming Sabbath with blasts on the shofar (ram's horn). Although the hazzan was in charge of worship services, the prayer leader, readers, and even the one who delivered the short sermon could be any adult member of the community. All were recognized as being able to share the meaning of God's Word as God had taught them in their daily walk with him. In this way, the community encouraged even its youngest members to be active participants in its religious life. (Jesus' encounter with the wise teachers
  11. 11. in the Temple courts was unusual not so much because of his age, but because of the wise questions he asked, see Luke 2:41-47.) The hazzan also cared for the Torah scrolls and other sacred writings and brought them out at the appropriate times (Luke 4:1-20). Priests and Levites were welcome to participate in synagogue life, including worship, but they had no special role except that only priests could offer the blessing of Aaron from the Torah (Num. 6:24?27) at the end of the service. SYNAGOGUE AND SABBATH While the synagogue building functioned as a community center, school, court, and place of study during the week, on the Sabbath it served as the place where the assembly met for prayer (1). When the first three stars could be seen on Friday evening, the hazzan blew the shofar to announce that the Sabbath had begun. The people gathered at twilight to eat the Sabbath meal in their homes. All the food was already prepared because no work was permitted during this time in most traditions. The following morning, the community gathered in the synagogue building. The service began with several blessings offered to God. The congregation recited the Shema: "Hear, 0 Israel: The LORD our God, the Lord is one"(Deut. 6:4). The Torah scrolls would be brought out by the hazzan and would be read in several portions, sometimes as many as seven. Different people were scheduled to read a portion each week. The readings were determined according to a set schedule, so the reader would have no choice of the passage read. Following the Torah portion, a section from the prophets (called the Haphtarah) would be read by the same or another reader. After all readings, a short sermon would be offered, often by the reader of the Torah or Haftarah. Any adult member of the community was eligible to speak the sermon called the derashah. The sermon was frequently quite short (Jesus spoke only a few words, Luke 4:21). The service ended with a benediction using the Aaronic blessing found in the Torah (Num. 6:24-26), if a priest was present to offer it. Jesus spent much time in synagogues (Matt. 4:23). He taught in them (Matt. 13:54), healed in them (Luke 4:33-35; Mark 3:1-5), and debated the interpretation of Torah in them (John 6:28-59). Clearly, he belonged to the community of the synagogue, because when he visited Nazareth, he was scheduled to read the Haphtarah (Luke 4:16-30) and may have read the Torah as well as he concludes with a provocative derashah. This is a remarkable example of God's preparation, as the passage Jesus read was exactly the passage that he used to explain his ministry. The early Christians continued to attend synagogues, though with a new interpretation of the Torah, now that Jesus had been revealed as Messiah (Acts 13:14).
  12. 12. The new community of Jesus was born out of the synagogue. Believers were to become assemblies, not single individuals seeking God alone. We address God as "our Father" because we are his assembly. We are one body because we are made that way through Jesus (1 Cor. 12:12-13). In our fractured, broken world, with all its self-preoccupation, the model of the synagogue, the picture of the community of God, presents an alluring message. We would do well to understand the synagogue of Galilee. THE SYNAGOGUE SCHOOL Boys and girls went to school in Galilee though boys continued till they were 15 if they displayed unusual ability while the girls were married by that time. Students probably attended school in the synagogue and were taught by the hazzan or a local Torah Teacher. Study began at age five or six in elementary school, called bet sefer. The subject was the Torah and the method was memorization. Since the learning of the community was passed orally, memorization of tradition and God's Word were essential. At first students studied only the Torah. Later they began to study the more complicated oral interpretations of the Torah. Question-and-answer sessions between teacher and student were added to the memorization drills. The more gifted students might continue after age 12 or 13 in beth midrash (meaning "house of study," or secondary school). Here began the more intense process of understanding and applying the Torah and oral tradition to specific situations. The truly gifted would leave home to study with a famous rabbi to "become like him" as a talmid (disciple). Although their discussion and study might be held in the synagogue, these disciples would travel with their rabbi, learning the wisdom of Torah and oral tradition applied to the daily situations they faced. By the time a person was an adult, he knew most of the Scriptures by heart. If someone recited a passage, the audience would know whether it was quoted accurately or not. Jesus, in keeping with his culture, would simply begin with "It is written ..." knowing his audience would recognize an accurate quote. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^ Encyclopedia of the Bible: SYNAGOGUE, the general term for a congregation of Jews, people of Jewish religious faith and by extension the name of the building or structure in which such worship or other exercise takes place. Like the word “church” the term applies to the body of Jews acting corporately and not to the physical
  13. 13. constructs primarily. This is made clear by both the etymology and usage of the term in Jewish and non-Jewish lit. The word is universally understood as describing Jewish religious bodies and is applied to no other. As can be seen below the term has traditionally been applied to the Jewish communities in the Diaspora and thus has found its way into many languages where it is a regular and accepted term: Lat. synagōga, -ae; Ger. Synagoge, -en; and likewise in French, Dutch, and even Russian and Japanese. The tension between sacerdotalism and memorialism which has divided the synagogues of Europe and Israel is paralleled by similar disputes throughout the history of the Church. Also comparative is the point of view in regard to the place of the OT in the life of the religious body. In the same fashion that doctrinal revisions have overwhelmed the Church, so breadth of interpretation and lack of conformity is found in the synagogue. I. The name Synagogue is derived from the Gr. συναγωγή, G5252, a term for any gathering of people for religious or secular purposes. The term is derived from the common verbal form Gr. συνάγω, G5251, “to gather” “to gather together,” “to bring together” (Matt 2:4 “assembling”; Mark 6:30; Luke 12:17; John 4:36 et al. frequently). The nominal form is used for any type of area or location where things or people gather or are gathered. It is a widely distributed classical term and is used in inscrs. as well as texts; e.g. W Asian inscr. of Cybele; Thucydides, et al. The earliest application of the term to the OT is found in the LXX itself. It is used to render nineteen different Hebraic words and expressions but in eighty percent of the occurrences it is equivalent to Heb. ‫ה‬֒ ‫ד‬ָ‫ע‬ֵ , H6337, “gathering,” which appears 145 times in the OT and which is rendered as synagōgē in 127 cases. The next most frequent equivalence is Heb. ‫הל‬ָ ‫ק‬ָ , H7736, “assembly,” “convocation” (Gen 49:6, et al.), which is usually restricted to gatherings of people. Some authorities have offered the suggestion that the trs. of the various VSS of the LXX utilized the Aram. Targ. equivalent, Aram. ‫תא‬ָּ ‫ש‬ְׁ ‫ני‬ִ‫כ‬ְּ , which is much closer to Gr. synagōgē than any of the Hebraic terms involved. This supposition is without the necessary evidence but would explain the change in meaning which came about between the time of the OT, and the LXX and NT. In these later documents the synagogue and not the Temple is the central institution of Jewish worship for the vast majority of the Jews. II. History of the synagogue institution The history of the synagogue as an institution among the Jews is exceedingly difficult to trace to its source. Its origins seem to lie outside of Pal. and apart from that sector of Jewish life which governed the country and wrote the OT. The later traditions of the Aram. period assume the antiquity of the synagogue. There is little documentary evidence before the Hel. Age, the Elephantine Papyri and the NT for any synagogue. However, it must have come into being in the confused and disorganized state of affairs between the fall of the first commonwealth and the establishment of the second. A. Origin. Certain of the historical aspects which led to the formation of the
  14. 14. synagogue can be ascertained from the society which existed under Pers. and later Hel. rule. The removal of the Levitical and other sacerdotal officers from Jerusalem deprived the Temple of its necessary complement of attendants. The prohibition of journeys to Jerusalem and the loss of revenue must have rendered the unified cult center inoperative. The collapse of the old religious state meant a great increase in personal rather than official religious functions, a trend seen in the great prophetic voices, Isaiah and Jeremiah, even before the final collapse and a theme renewed in Daniel. The necessity to preserve the Torah, the five books of Moses, not merely as the central religious document but also as the only communication of Jehovah to His people motivated corporate Torah study. This trend was enforced by the pressure for syncretism with the Persian and Grecian paganism and the slow deterioration of the classical Heb. language. The result was a move to preserve not only the Torah but also its ancient speech. The first desire brought about the recension of the MT, the second the Massoretes themselves. However, both grew up not in Jerusalem, but in the small Diaspora communities and in the lands later won by force of Jewish arms under the Maccabees and their followers. All that can be surely stated is that the synagogue arose as a corporate Torah study with all of the legal and binding relationships such a community would form among alien and displaced Jews. The later lit. always connects the origin of the synagogue with the period of Babylonian captivity and return under Ezra and Nehemiah. The terminology used for the great gathering and restatement of the Torah under Ezra is variant and uncertain showing that new institutions were in formation. The scholarly treatment of the problem has tended to fall under the influence of two opposing schools of thought. The traditional one that Moses founded the synagogue is as old as the Targums and cited by Josephus (Apion, II, xvii, 75). It was popular at various times throughout the recent centuries. The second thesis that the synagogue was of societal origin and appeared during the Exile was proposed by the Italian humanist Carlo Sigonio (1524-1584). His views wrecked havoc among the more conservative Jews and Christians of the time but were finally dominant in the treatment by the Dutch theologian Campegius Vitringa (1659-1722). In the modern period the synagogue and its teachings have been related in the views of many authorities with the documentary hypothesis and certain types of redaction. Their opinions, however, have not been universally accepted and the inherent subjectivity of the method renders the results questionable. Many other theories have been proposed, some locating the synagogue among the legal-political institutions of Israel rather than the religious. On the other hand some very modern views would tend to see it as the focus of town life in what was really a nation of villages. This view is supported by the excavation of ancient synagogue sites. The worship of the synagogue was very different from that of the Temple, in that it had no sacerdotal rituals and supported no sacrosanct priesthood. Instead a new order of religious leaders arose to serve the synagogue, the rabbi. The Hegelian dialectics which have been described as existing between Temple and synagogue cannot be supported from the documents. The influence of the Persians and the Hel. Greeks over the spread of the synagogue cannot be denied, and there is every reason to assume that although it was Babylonian in origin it was to some degree Gr. in spirit. The architecture of the early
  15. 15. synagogues is similar to the Graeco-Romanesque of the contemporary pagan constructs. Of special importance is the Jewish temple at Elephantine in upper Egypt. The papyri discovered there in dicate that animal sacrifices took place and yet there is no evidence that this was true within the meeting houses in Pal. In fact the DSS indicate a strong preference for sacrifices and rituals only in the Temple in Jerusalem. It may be that the synagogue was only one type of worship arrangement known at the time and that it was the one which survived the Rom. destruction of the great Temple. It is even highly probable that one or more synagogues existed within the Temple compound in Jerusalem and it may have been there that Jesus was found sitting among the lawyers at the age of twelve (Luke 2:46). It is also clear from the later traditions that the basic unit of the synagogue was ten men who gathered for prayer. This would be similar to the OT congregations. B. The intertestamental period. The vast growth of the synagogue and its appearance throughout the Diaspora is noted in many documents from the time between the OT and NT. Both Philo and Josephus regularly mention the synagogue as do the earliest rabbinical sources. The dominant language of its services became Aram. as the Pers. empire waxed and waned and the central autonomy of Israelite kingship faded into the past. In the new religious rituals, the chanting of the prayers and the reading of the Biblical text became the central function of the service. The officers of the new religious communities were given new titles and soon after the conquest of Alexander they are pronounced in Gr. to a degree that centuries later they were transliterated into consonantal script and introduced into the Heb. of the Mishnah and Talmud. This was the formative period that saw the final supremacy of the synagogue. It was the customary center of the Jewish community and house of worship throughout the known world in Jesus’ time. C. The NT period. The term “synagogue” is used in the gospels over thirty times while an even greater frequency appears in Acts. It is assumed in both the Talmudic lit. and the NT, that this was the valid leadership and executive of Judaism, no matter whether it was in Jerusalem or Corinth. A few inscrs. have been located from synagogues of this era and they are distinctive in that they are in Gr. uncials written in the Hel. style. The most extensive is the Theodotus Inscription found on Mount Ophel not far from the ancient Temple precinct. It specifically states that the purpose of the building upon which it was a marker was for “reading of the law,” and that it was to serve as a hostel. The concept is Hebraic but the form is very obviously Gr. even to the titles of the officials mentioned: e.g. αρχισυνάγωγος, G801. Other inscrs. from the Galilee area often list OT characters or̓ indicate the donors but in epigraphic Gr. It is this cosmopolitanism and appeal to the common conscience which marks the synagogal success. The gospel narratives mention a number of small towns in Galilee and the synagogues where Jesus taught (Matt 4:23; 9:35; Luke 4:16, 33). An additional group in this area has been excavated. They are small buildings with porches and columns often distyle in antis with stone seats and an outer portico. They must have served as law courts, schools, libraries and market places as well as for the Sabbath service. It is also clear that the Jewish males took part in the service. The most important legacy of the 1st-cent. synagogue was the form and organization of the apostolic church. D. The Diaspora synagogues. The growth of popular religious organizations in Pal. was paralleled by similar establishments among the Jews of the dispersion. Large halls were
  16. 16. built in Dura Europus and various parts of Egypt and the worship of the Jews from the Diaspora mentioned in Acts 2:9-11, was presumably in synagogues in all those widely scattered places. In all some fifty synagogues have been located within Pal., a few more in Syria, and perhaps another ten in the neighboring lands of the E Mediterranean. There must have been hundreds of others by the end of the 2nd cent. a.d. By that time the original Gr. term had come to mean exclusively a Jewish house of worship. These communities were displaced but in many cases had attained considerable wealth and their synagogues are richly carved and well appointed with the crafts of their time. Like the church the synagogue was becoming an institution of stature and capital and both were to produce a long and involved literary tradition, the church the Patristic writings; the synagogue, the Talmud. E. The medieval, renaissance and modern age. As the Jews moved through the W Mediterranean and up into Spain and France they built and rebuilt synagogues. Where Christian states forbade public buildings a new tradition of private and semi-private chapels arose. Some of these have been found and many are well known from lit. The education of the young was more and more a function of the community through the synagogue, and its ancient tradition of a “Torah study” became very strong as the common speech became eroded and finally ceased to function in alien societies. From the 8th cent. the synagogues of Spain at Toledo were the centers of European Jewry. Later the same situation held true in Austria and E Germany from which such travelers as Petahia of Ratisbon and others set out before the year 1000 to communicate with the great synagogue centers of the Orient. The change of the millennium found Jewish synagogues stretching from England to the borders of China. However, the uneasy peace in which the Jews had lived between the Christian Holy Roman Empire and the Islamic E finally evaporated in the crusades. The reaction to the inability of Western Christian feudalism to regain Pal. led to pogrom after pogrom against the Jews. Thus they were driven into the newer lands of the Baltic coast and along the rivers of Orthodox Russia. There the great synagogues of Breslau, Leipzig, Vilna, Moscow and the like held sway over world Jewry. In the 18th cent. Spanish and Portuguese Jews began to migrate to North America, the earliest American synagogue being the Congregation Touro of Newport, R.I. founded in 1763. However, several congregations in Philadelphia were soon functioning thereafter and the Maimonides College became their first institution of higher learning. The modern synagogue can take many forms and be found in many places, but its primary function still continues to be that of house of worship, school for study and social center for the Jewish people. III. Architecture and function The architecture of the early Middle Eastern synagogues was similar to that which prevailed throughout the Hel. and later Rom. age. The synagogue grounds were surrounded by a low wall within which the synagogue met. Documents from Turkey and other countries of the early Medieval period show that often the congregation met out- of-doors although at other times in private rooms. Usually this room was divided in some fashion into a sector for men and a separate and lesser room for the women. In the magnificent Moorish and Italian synagogues this women’s section took the form of a balcony running around three sides of the room and reached by outer stairs up through a sort of narthex. In the earliest Palestinian synagogues, such as that at Masada and those at Capernaum, Chorazin and Kefr Bir’im stone seats in the form of a double tier ran the length of three walls. Such buildings had either a separate balcony for women or
  17. 17. some separation down the center. In the Rom. age many of these buildings were of a type of Corinthian Gr. design with free standing columns in the front portico and arranged in rows within the sanctuary to support the vaulted ceilings. A. Location. In accord with certain Talmudic instructions which must have been in the oral lore of Judaism, all the synagogues were built in such a fashion that the congregations could face Jerusalem. The legal lore of the synagogue is found in the opening paragraphs of the Tractate Megillah. The customs resolving the matter of synagogue construction are later. The common practice was to erect the building on a small hill or prominence, sometimes near water but always in such a fashion that the back wall which faced the door was toward Jerusalem. The Temple in Jerusalem represented the sacerdotal element and ritual in Judaism and so the elaborate ceremonial architecture of the later synagogues was unnecessary until after the destruction of the Temple in a.d. 70. Whether or not the local synagogues were built as models or miniatures of the great Temple, or whether they were conceived as centers for the rituals is debated. By the 1st cent. the style of construction was set and the synagogue was located in the center of the market square. B. Structure. By the 1st Christian cent. the basilica type of building with its massive and ornamented façade became the standard synagogue form. However, the extent of symbolism and the expanse was limited by the economic ability of the congregation. There is no clearcut evolution of synagogal architecture and each community of the Diaspora seems to have built structures eclectic to their situation. The widespread use of the half square and round columns and the elaborate shell niches, both associated with Rom. buildings, demonstrates how deeply the Graeco-Roman civilization altered the Jewish mind. In or about the middle of the blank wall opposite the entrance doors was the location of the niche or chamber in which the sacred rolls of the Torah were kept. Such cabinets or chests called in Heb. ’arōn hā-Qōdes, set in the E wall were often ornamented and decorated with hangings and embellishments of considerable value. One of the most interesting appointments of the early synagogues was the genīzah, a place either in a cellar or pit or in an old attic high in the wall where the worn and frayed parchment scrolls were placed. Since they bore the divine name of God they could not be desecrated or destroyed and so their contents called semōt were interred. Ancient scrolls of inestimable value have been discovered in a number of genizahs from synagogues. In the center, later front, of the hall was an upraised platform on which the scrolls were placed for reading, the bema which was also used for the sermon, a sort of explanation of the text. Special coffers, cabinets and closets for the ritual implements were later added through time-honored tradition and specific names became applied to them. Certain differences have also developed between the Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews because of their different cultural backgrounds. The German-Russian synagogues were more on the ord er of Gothic and Romanesque style churches, while the Spanish- Portuguese synagogues, some of the most magnificent ever built, were influenced by Mediterranean styles with Arabesque vaults and other such features. In modern times the synagogues of the Western world have shown all the innovations of contemporary architecture; pre-stressed concrete, stainless steel, glass and plastics have been used in these timeless expressions of Israel’s faith. The magnificence of Frank Lloyd Wright’s design for Beth Shalom, N of Philadelphia, Beth Am in suburban New York and many recent synagogues in Europe and Israel are based upon ancient traditions and symbolisms but stated in the avant garde of the 20th cent.
  18. 18. C. Furniture and decoration. The furniture of the ancient and early medieval synagogue was utilitarian and connected with the service. The Torah Ark was frequently carved or encrusted with some type of decoration and covered with magnificent hangings and covers called paro etḥ and often richly ornamented with silver and gold embroideries. The bema or lecterns were carved and inlaid, and often the great seven-branched candelabra, menorah, was also richly decorated and examples of the finest in the casting and etching arts were found in their manufacture for the wooden synagogues of Poland, Lithuania and Russia. Many smaller articles, lamp stands, the ritual implements for the high holy days of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and the lesser pilgrimages of Pe a , Shavuotṩ ḥ and Sukkoth were found in the synagogue. Special vestments and scroll tabernacles, usually in the form of elaborate miniatures, as well as the communal wedding rings were also kept in the special cabinets provided. Of special beauty are the Torah Crowns, exquisite tiaras with precious and semiprecious stones hung or held over the Torah Ark, or carried about in procession. Few people in history have held any book in such esteem and reverence that finery of such value was lavished upon the ornamentation of it. It is a sight of strange and reverential beauty. The decoration of the synagogues was a subject of much debate and alteration of tastes. The earliest ones often show a strangely exotic degree of profusion in Hel. and Rom. motifs. The ancient congregations at Capernaum and Chorazin decorated their edifice with stone lions, elaborate bands of botanomorphic design and epigraphic inscrs. in uncial Gr. They carved many similar natural motifs on the furniture, and pomegranates, grapes and similiar fruit and vegetables are seen. This type of symbolism was developed from the OT as the Temple was to have such ornamentation in the same fashion as the wilderness Tabernacle. However, strict prohibition against the portrayal of the human form was also in evidence. Under times of persecution the elaboration of the synagogue became simpler and as various mystical movements caught the popular fancy of Christian and Jew alike in the high Middle Ages the churches and the synagogues were often devoid of very much ostentation. There is no evidence that when the flavor of the arts was renewed in the Renaissance the Jewish synagogue builders followed suit. The types of murals and decorations which later played such a basic part in the humanist movement were never popular among the Jews. The strange mixture of classical themes and Christian symbolism seen in the art of the Renaissance was not adopted in the synagogue. Even the scrolls themselves are free of miniature paintings, initial embossing and the other church decorations of the time. However, an Arab. Muslim custom did become widespread, viz. the decoration of the upper parts of the synagogue with inscrs. which were later inlaid or leafed with gold, silver, or bronze. Such texts from the OT with the use of the unvaried Heb. script made a pleasing decorative device. The words of the Scriptures were often carved into the wood work and paneled walls. The glass windows were painted but stained glass came to the synagogue long after it came to the church and then its designs and motifs are carried over from the glyptic arts, and often only Heb. letters were placed in them. The innovative notions of the buttress and span which allowed the vast areas of glass in Chartres and Notre Dame are nowhere in evidence in the construction of the synagogues. One decorative feature which survived the ages in the synagogue was the use of mosaic tiles. Numerous elaborate natural figures including the signs of the zodiac and small animals are found. The ancient synagogue at Beth Alpha is esp. noted for these fine mosaics, much of the furniture and ritual of the religious year are shown in these illustrations. Few synagogue frescos have survived from antiquity but those from Dura Europus, and elsewhere, show artistic affinities as
  19. 19. does contemporary Christian art of the period to the sculpting of the mosaics. Again, the scenes are of the various festivals with some few architectural constructs and what may be patriarchal stories in smaller registers. The motif of the sun, the wheel, the candle, the plant, the fruit, and the various Gr. running figures, arrow and egg and dart are all found in the synagogue. Reverence for the creation has been a continuing theme in such art and pure color and its blending and disjunction has become the theme of many modern synagogue treasures by Marc Chagal and other contemporary masters. Since the purpose of the non-sacerdotal church buildings and the synagogues are functionally similar their furniture with the exception of the ritual implements is practically indistinguishable. With the present pressure toward ever wider ecumenicity growing, it is conceivable that future synagogues and churches will be nearly identical. D. Religious and educational usage. In the OT, it is impossible to separate religion from education. No ancient society subscribed to the modern notion of “secular.” The community as a whole was responsible for the education of children and youths and this took place in the synagogue. The later instruction of youth in the Bible and the Talmud was carried on in the yeshivot, the special schools for pre-rabbinical studies. In the earlier periods such usage of the sanctuary was frowned upon but as the Heb. language and learning began to fade from daily life the preservation of the ancient heritage became a sacred mission and the synagogue was used for the purpose. In this regard both lower schools and libraries of Hebraic and later Yiddish books were housed in the synagogue. To the greater number of Jews the synagogue was a teaching organization and its house a school (Yiddish still refers to it as schul), but to the Gentiles of the Graeco-Roman world it was a school of philosophy. Since the primary responsibility of the adult Jew in the corporate synagogue service was to read, reading the unpointed Heb. text of the Torah was the goal of synagogue education. The earliest lessons were undoubtedly in the form of simple memorizations of Biblical passages followed by simple readings such as the familiar shema. The advanced students read the lessons from the great synagogue scrolls in which they were guided by the commonplace synagogue official known as the azzan.ḥ It was in these simple schools that the elaborate oral tradition which grew up around the Torah began to take form. Unfortunately there is hardly any evidence derived from archeology of the shape or substance of these studies except for some Egyp. papyri which may be fragments of school texts. The early Jewish lit. of the Haskalah movement in Eastern Europe grew out of the synagogue school. The personages and episodes which are vividly portrayed by such masters as Sholem Aleichem give the non-Jew a vital picture of life in the agricultural communities of Europe where the synagogue and its services were the center and crown of life. In such lit., the teacher is a man both respected and satirized in the community. The restrictions of modern life have rendered the majority of synagogue schools operable only on Sunday. However, they have survived and flourished as instructors in Jewish culture and art as well as Heb. language and religion. The future of the synagogue in education appears to be leading in the direction of general community social service and many newer synagogues have the phrase “Jewish Community Center” in their names. A parallel development has begun in the Church as it seeks to secularize its appeal. IV. Organization and offices Over the centuries the roles of the synagogue officers have altered and the needs of the Jewish community have changed. The most important alteration has been the
  20. 20. development of the rabbinate. In the OT, the authority of the Jewish community was vested in the convention or council of “elders,” ziqney, “elders of—” (Gen 50:7, et al.). The ritual and ceremonial administration was under the direction of the Levitical priesthood assisted by a number of groups of professional aids such as singers, musicians and the like. These officials represented a special and privileged class in the state. After the collapse of the monarchy and its attendant feudalism and the rise of an entrepreneurial class in the period of Hellenism the offices of the synagogue were open to all. The increased democratization led to wider participation and a common religious interest. Without this change Judaism would never have survived the Hel. age and would have followed the other archaic religious states into oblivion. There were about five in number; however, some of them were prob. simply voluntary and carried no stipend or salary. A. Elders and rulers. The chief executive of the synagogue was called in Heb. rosh hakeneset, Gr. αρχισυνάγωγος, G801, “president of the synagogue.” This official was̓ known also among pagan associations, but by the 1st Christian cent. was more commonly applied to the Jewish officials and by the 5th cent. exclusively so. The name has also been found upon epigraphic inscrs. He was responsible not merely for the upkeep and operation of the house but also for the order and sanctity of the service (Luke 13:14). Three individuals in the NT are so designated: Jairus (Mark 5:22; Luke 8:41); Crispus (Acts 18:8); and Sosthenes (18:17). The interesting fact that two of these are Gentile names indicates the degree of syncretism Hel. Judaism had permitted. The archisynagōgos had the responsibility of selecting the Torah reading and may have read it himself in the congregation. At first the evidence indicates that this was an elective office only becoming hereditary and finally perfunctory after centuries of the synagogue’s existence. The pl. which appears in Acts 13:15, archisynagōgoi, has been the center of some debate, but a text from Apamaea in Syria contains a listing of three such officials and uses the pl. term. A similar difficulty has arisen concerning the simpler term Gr. αρχων, in the phrase αρχων της συναγωγης, “leader of the synagogue,” which̓ ͂ ̓ ͂ ͂ appears only in Luke 8:41. This term is rare but has been located in contemporary inscrs. as an alternate and less proper form of archisynagōgos. Since the terms were still in a state of flux and as yet not fixed in the literary language, it is to be expected that such variants would be found. The second functionary in the synagogue was the azzan ha-ḥ keneset, “servant of the synagogue,” Gr. υπηρέτης, G5677, “servant,” “helper” (̔ Luke 4:20) and later used of ministers of the Gospel (Luke 1:2; Acts 26:16, et al.). The duties of the azzanḥ undoubtedly varied, but included at various times cleaning the premises, removing and replacing the scrolls, and perhaps overseeing the teaching of the children; but this has been debated. He also carried out the corporal punishments of the council (Matt 10:17; 23:34; Mark 13:9). In later times the azzanḥ became the chief singer of the service and the term is now used for “cantor.” In modern times the azzanḥ is also the director of religious education, and many Jewish institutions of higher learning offer curricula in the proper administration of the synagogue schools. The title and its etymologies have had a wide expansion. However, it is now accepted that the term was originally an Assyrianism in late Jewish Aram. derived from Akkad. azānuḥ (m), meaning “superintendent,” “overseer.” Although the title was sometimes used for a position as “sexton,” it was usually applied to one of the high officers of the synagogue. The fact that the azzanḥ handled the sacred scrolls while in the synagogue points to the importance of the office. Most older commentators utilized an Arab. etymology for the
  21. 21. term and thus only confused the meaning of the word. As with all offices of the ancient Israelite religious state, the azzanḥ was functional. No doubt the functions varied from town to rural communities and from great to humble congregations, but the importance of the office grew with time. As the festivals and ceremonies developed along separate lines in Diaspora Judaism, so did the officers of the synagogue. The result is that a bewildering array of functions and honors are assigned to the azzanḥ in the lit. of the rabbis. One can only surmise the initial purpose of the office. It appears that the best tr. in regard to the evidence is “second in authority.” The modern responsibility of heading the synagogue school seems to have arisen after the Renaissance The third officer of the ancient synagogue was the ‫דה‬ָ‫ע‬ֵ ‫ח‬ַ ‫לי‬ִ‫ש‬ְׁ , “leader of the prayers,” lit. “messenger of the congregation.” This individual was chosen as representative of the congregation in whose place he responded to the liturgical prayers. Some scholars have assumed that he fulfilled the role of priest in this delegated responsibility, but it is clear that he was not sacrosanct and acted as a layman. In the NT period, the function could be assigned to any adult male in the congregation who was of good standing in the synagogue. It may be in this regard that Jesus read the passage from Isaiah 61 in the synagogue at Nazareth (Luke 4:17-28). In later tradition the se liah zibbur lost this spontaneous quality and was a regularly employed person of the congregation. There is an opinion that in the absence of any person willing to act as se liah zibbur the chief officers might act themselves in this capacity. Undoubtedly this practice led to the merging of the office of se liah zibbur with the permanent one of azzanḥ so that the distinction between them became obliterated and the two terms interchanged. In the later synagogues of European Jewry, the liturgy became fixed with musical anthems and the office of the azzanḥ and the se liah zibbur required cantorial training and musical talent. A number of less certain officers are found in records and discourses on the synagogue. Some of these must have existed in Rom. times and have been absorbed into the later offices of the congregation. One of these was the Heb. ‫מן‬ָ ‫ג‬ְּ‫ר‬ְ‫ו‬ּ‫מת‬ְ , “interpreter,” “translator,” a person who was apparently chosen from the congregation to interpret the text of the Scripture from Hebrew into Aram. for the purpose of the lesson. This practice may be involved in the phrase, “which being interpreted is,” found six times in the NT (Matt 1:23; Mark 5:41; 15:22, 34; John 1:41 and Acts 4:36). The root of me tōrgmān is used as the name of such a VS in Aram., “Targum.” This custom may also be in view in Paul’s exhortation in regard to speaking in tongues, “if there be no interpreter” (1 Cor 14:28). The whole complex problem of the usage of Hebrew, as against the more common Aram. and Gr. is difficult to unravel in light of the paucity of 1st cent. MSS. The me tōrgmān played a very important part in the synagogue service in areas such as Galilee where Judaism of the Hebraic period had no tradition. A similar sort of personage must have functioned in lands of the Diaspora where Gr. and Lat. were spoken, because the inscrs. on such synagogue buildings are usually in those languages and rarely in Heb. It was the notion of a Targumic tr. for use in the synagogue which led to the formation of the LXX and Lat. Vul. In the smaller synagogues where no Yeshiva or Torah-Talmud study was attached the azzanḥ undoubtedly fulfilled this function also. There is evidence that Heb. teachers may have also interpreted orally the Scripture readings, possibly even commenting upon them.
  22. 22. The reading of the se liah zibbur and the interpretation of the me tōrgmān were preceded by the public proclamation of the shema prayer. This was stated by a special officer the, “Herald of the Shema.” This officer prob. read the shema prayers as found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and followed by passages from 11:13-21; Num 15:37-41; after which the congregation answered “Amen.” Such a public use of the prayer was always led by an officer and was referred to by a different terminology than that of private prayer. There is some evidence that the public praying of the shema was read from a scroll and that other passages such as Exodus 20 may have been included. Some scholars have interpreted this action of the reading of the Decalogue as the promulgation of God’s imperial decree, His law. Thus they would associate this “Herald of the Shema” with the notion of the “Herald of the Gospel” mentioned in 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11 and 2 Peter 2:5. This would accord well with the scriptural use of terms of royalty and the court to describe the reign of God. The lit. of Judaism of all the ages makes clear that the kingly court of God was the synagogue in the Jewish mind and that the most sacred place and the utmost reverence was afforded the Torah. It was in light of this devotion that all the offices of the congregation took their place and authority. From the archisynagōgos, to the “herald” all were servants of the Torah. When in the medieval period the decalogue was no longer used in the congregational worship and the scrolls were no longer read for the shema prayers, then the character of the congregational offices changed also. Several administrative positions appear in the later history of the synagogue. The chief of these is the “collector” or “almoner,” whose task it was to collect and distribute funds for the poor. The public giving of alms was a feature of the late Jewish religious community. It is mentioned in the rabbinic lit. and frequently in the NT (e.g. Matt 6:2-4, et al.). The gospels and other contemporary sources indicate that while the Temple in Jerusalem was supported by the royal establishment and received its revenue from special taxes, the synagogues were voluntary and free offerings were commonplace. There is no doubt that the “collector” or “almoner” of the synagogue who ministered to the poor was the model for the “deacon,” διάκονος, G1356, (Phil 1:1; 1 Tim 3:8, 10, 12, 13). In later rabbinic times when the sacerdotal rituals were replaced by the synagogue service this usage was retained. It is this tradition which has become the base for the many Jewish philanthropic organizations which have brought aid to both Jews and non-Jews throughout the world. In the Christian Church the model of the synagogue organization was retained in the Old Catholic Church and reclaimed in the Reformation. The Catholic churches from medieval times have followed the principle of sacerdotalism basic to the Temple and the Levitical priesthood. B. Rabbis and laity. The actual origin of the rabbinical office is lost in antiquity. The term “rabbi” is of great antiquity and can be traced to Akkad. usage. In the Biblical context it simply means “teacher,” “master,” and was at no time a sacerdotal or ordained office. Any laymen learned in the Torah and Jewish law could be called “rabbi.” In the tradition of Babylonian Judaism the term was pronounced “rāv.” After the destruction of the Temple and its officialdom some attempt appears to have been made to continue the sacerdotal offices, but as the majority of Jews moved in succeeding generations to the area of Galilee the rabbinical system arose. During the High Middle Ages it assumed the authority and primacy in the synagogue. When this time came the rabbinate was supreme and no longer one of the laity. The ordination to the rabbinate was not based upon some noumenal contention, but was determined by the individual’s knowledge of
  23. 23. Heb., Torah, Talmud, and Jewish law in general. Although the modern rabbinate still inherits the background of Pharisaic Judaism it is more concerned with learning than ritual. In fact, most Jewish rituals are performed in the home with the father or eldest son officiating. The synagogues in Catholic lands have tended to retain livery for the rabbis and certain laity, and rich vestments for certain services. On the other hand those thriving in Protestant cultures have assumed many aspects of congregationalism and the dress of the bourgeoisie. This cultural syncretism has been the subject of both encouragement and scorn within Jewish circles for the whole of this cent. The rise and progress of the State of Israel has tended to make the synagogues of the Diaspora emulate oriental Judaism in an ever increasing number of aspects. The contemporary rabbi is not only a Torah teacher but also a representative and instructor in Jewish custom, much of which is initiated and preserved in terms of Israel. V. The service A. Shema. The recitation of the shema and the blessings accompanying was the central portion of the simplest synagogue service which as few as ten male members might enact. It was traditionally held that this prayer service stressing the monotheism of Jehovah was instituted by Moses himself. The eighteen short prayers which make up the general blessing are certainly earlier than the Christian era and may be pre-Aramaic. The prayers in the service were always followed by the general “Amen” said by the congregation. B. Scripture and sermon. The reading of the whole Torah in Heb. was the central act of congregational worship and has been carried down in various forms to the present day. The Torah was divided into 154 or 155 sections and read through in its entirety in a three-year cycle. The selections were known as Sedariym and there is evidence in the writings of Philo Judaeus, Flavius Josephus, the NT and the Patristic authors that this system was in vogue in NT times. A reading from the prophets in the Jewish canon was also given in the form of the Haphtarah. Both of these were followed by Aram. interpretation. An extempore commentary followed given by a learned member of the congregation, a visiting rabbi or possibly a visitor from another congregation. It is this custom which was apparently the means of Paul’s frequent invitations to preach in the synagogues (Acts 13:14-41, et al.). The combination of Torah plus Haphtaroth together is called the Chumash. After the lectionary readings and on some occasions between them there were prob. cantorical renditions of the Psalms which were followed by set congregational responses. In the Temple worship these passages were sung by antiphonal choirs but in the local synagogues they were congregational. There were undoubtedly some sung parts which terminated the service. Just what part a formal sermon played is unknown. However, it is clear from the discourses of the prophets and kings of the OT, that exhortations based upon the Torah were not unknown. The traditional material of the Targ. and the involved rabbinic commentaries of the Mikraoth Gedoloth must have originated as running commentaries and organized sermons once delivered in the synagogue. Since Judaism had little evangelistic appeal during the early Diaspora the true sermonic type of presentation never developed. Later rabbis appear to have adopted the type of personal appeal in their homiletics which had already developed in Christian circles. One important point concerning the synagogue service is that it was led by the members of the congregation. The sacerdotalism so often associated with later liturgical forms in Christian tradition were unknown in the synagogue. Undoubtedly this factor was obvious to the Reformers of the 16th cent.
  24. 24. when they came into more frequent contact with the Jews as a result of the Renaissance. The high place accorded the Psalms in the Reformed congregations of France, Switzerland and Holland may be traced to the synagogue service. C. Fasts and festivals. The OT festivals of the Jewish religion follow the agricultural year. Since it was impossible after the diaspora for all the Jews of the Mediterranean world to return to the Temple in Jerusalem, many of the congregational feasts were held in the synagogues. These were held on the same date and at the same time as the Temple ceremonies. Most of the feasts celebrated in the Jewish calendar are of later origin and appeared during the time of the synagogue. Only the faintest remnant of the great sacrifices of the atonement are still observed and these are wholly limited to the household observance of Pesaḥ, “passover,” which occurs in March-April. In the social gatherings of the synagogue it is more frequently the holidays of the State of Israel which are observed, e.g. Israeli Independence Day, fifth of Iyar (May 14th) and the celebrations are derived from the Jewish cultures of central Europe. D. Administration. The addition of Heb. schools has expanded the traditional role of the synagogues to seven days a week. The result has been a development of a professional corps of educators, teachers and administrators to operate the system. Many synagogues in various parts of the world are large community centers and thus provide a wide array of social services as well as the formal religious services. The traditional oversight of the synagogue in the hands of a board of “elders” has not materially changed during the long history of the institution, although for efficiency’s sake many synagogues also have a separate board of financial trustees. Unlike the variety of religious and structural variations in Christian church denominations, the rabbi is the executive of the synagogue in all cases. Bibliography There are a large number of Jewish encyclopedias and special reference volumes on all aspects of the synagogue. The reader is directed to these under the special headings listed above, also to E. Goodenough, et al., Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman Period (1953 on); C. V. Vitringa, De synagoga vetere libri tres (1696); A. Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, I (1883); L. Löw, “Der synagogale Ritus,” Gesammelte Schriften (1898); W. O. E. Oesterley and G. H. Box, Synagogue (1907); M. Rosemann, Der Ursprung der Synagoge (1907); M. Friedländer, Synagoge und Kirche in ihren Anfängen (1908); I. Elbogen, Der jüdische Gottesdienst in seiner geschichtlichen Entwicklung (1913); H. Kohl and C. Watzinger, Antike Synagogen in Galilaea (1916); ed. E. R. Bevan and C. Singer, The Legacy of Israel (1927); R. Krantheimer, Mittelalterliche Synagogen (1927); L. Finkelstein, “The Origin of the Synagogue,” Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research (1930), 49-59; S. Zeitlin, “The Origin of the Synagogue,” Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research (1931), 69-81; E. L. Sukenik, The Ancient Synagogues of Beth-Alpha (1932); Ancient Synagogues in Palestine and Greece (1934); The Ancient Synagogue of El-Hammeh (1935); G. Girmunski, “L’architettura delle sinagoghe in Europa” (in Italian), Israel X (1936), 397- 408; L. Rost, Die http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+4%3A+25-26&version=NASB
  25. 25. =================================================================== Luke 4:15: And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. His miracles, his words touching and eloquent, perhaps too a dim memory of marvels which had happened years before at his birth, shed round the new Teacher a halo of glory. It was only when, instead of the Messianic hopes of conquest and power which they cherished, a life of brave self-denial and quiet generosity was preached, that the reaction against him set in. The men of Nazareth, with their violent antagonism, which we are about to consider, were only, after all, a few months in advance of the rest of the nation in their rejection of the Messiah. http://followtherabbi.com/guide/detail/he-went-to-synagogue He Went To Synagogue. The New Testament records more than 10 occasions on which the ministry of Jesus took place in the synagogue. He Went To The Synagogue The New Testament records more than 10 occasions on which the ministry of Jesus took place in th synagogue. The Gospels record that "Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues." Yet th Christian reader rarely ponders the significance of such an apparently common structure so central in Jesu ministry. The synagogue provided a ready platform for the teaching of Jesus and later the apostle Paul. In that way, proved to be a significant part of God's preparing exactly the right cultural practices for his Son's ministry. Bu more than that, Jesus, his disciples, and Paul (as well as most early Jewish followers of Jesus) went to the synagogue to worship. The synagogue was not simply a place to share God's Word, but also an important part of the Jewish people's relationship to God. It might surprise modern Christians to discover that many church practices are based on synagogue customs that Jesus followed. Understanding the synagogue and its place in Jesus' life and teaching is an important step in hearing his message in the cultural context in which God placed it. THE ORIGIN There are many theories of the origin of a gathering place called synagogue. The Greek word means "assembly" and is used in place of the Hebrew word meaning "congregation" or "community of Israel." Originally, it probably referred to the gathered people and over time came to refer to the place of assembly as well. It is never used to refer to the Temple, which was God's dwelling place and not primarily a place of assembly for the community. No one but Levites and priests could enter the Temple.
  26. 26. All members of a Jewish community could participate in the community life of the synagogue. Some Jewish traditions hold that there were places of assembly for the study of Torah during the time of the Temple of Solomon. At the most, the Old Testament indicates that the practice of prayer, with or without sacrifice, which was to be so central to the synagogue, had already begun (Ps. 116:17; Isa. 1:11,15; 1 Sam. 1:10ff). The beginning of the assembly of people for the purpose of study and prayer (the Jewish way of describing worship) appears to be the Babylonian exile after the destruction of the first Temple. Jewish scholars believe Ezekiel's reassuring promise that God would provide a "sanctuary" (11:16) for his people is a reference to the small groups tha gathered in their homes during the exile to recall God's covenant, his law, and especially the redemptive promises of the prophets. It is likely that these godly people, having learned a hard lesson about the importance of obedience to God, assembled regularly to study his Torah to prevent the sins of their ancestors from being repeated. A group of experts in the law and its interpretation taught and studied in small associations at humble locations called "houses o study." These places of study, and the reflection on the need to be obedient, are the roots of the synagogue, a sanctuary to inspire obedience to God. In spite of the later emphasis on prayer and study in the place of assembly, it is likely the main focus of the early gatherings of Jewish people was simply the need to maintain their identity as a people living in a foreign and pagan country. That the synagogue began as the center of the Jewish social life is confirmed by the fact that it was the community center in the first century as well. The synagogue was school, meeting place, courtroom, and place of prayer. In some towns, the synagogue may even have provided lodging for travelers. It was the place where small groups of Jewish students assembled for Scripture reading and discussion of the Torah and oral tradition. This meant that worship and study, friendship and community celebration, and even the governing of the community were all done by the same people in the same place. It appears that the early church patterned itself after the synagogue and continued the same practice of living and worshiping together as a community, often in private homes (Acts 2:42?47). The modern "assembly" of Jesus' followers would do well to remember that the roots of the church are in a community living and worshiping together. Worship (prayer) was a natural extension of the life of the community. SYNAGOGUES OF JESUS' TIM By the first century, a synagogue was found in most of the towns and villages of Galilee. Th Gospels specifically mention those of Nazareth (Matt.13:54) and Capernaum (Mark 1:21 Archaeological evidence is scant for those early synagogues, though later ones left muc more substantial remains. Typically, they were built on the highest point in town or on raised platform. As long as the Temple stood in Jerusalem, synagogues apparently did no face Jerusalem. In some cases, the front facade had three doors. Inside there were benches on three sides of the room. There was a small platform where the speakers or readers would stand, and it is possible that a small menorah (a seven-branched candlestick), like the one in the Temple, stood on that platform. The floor was usually dirt or flagstones, and common people probably sat on mats on the floor, while the important people sat on the stone benches (Matt. 23:6). In later synagogues, elaborate mosaics with a variety of designs covered the floor (none exist from Jesus' time). There was a seat for the reader of the Torah called the Moses Seat (or the Seat of Honor), because the Torah recorde the words of Moses so the reader was taking Moses place (Matt. 23:2). The Torah scrolls and the writings of the
  27. 27. prophets were either kept in a portable chest and brought to the synagogue for worship or were kept in the Synagogue itself in a permanent Torah cabinet (called the holy ark). Outside was a Mikveh (ritual bath) for the symbolic cleansing required for entrance into the synagogue. Local elders governed the synagogue, a kind of democracy. While all adult members of the community could belong t the synagogue, only adult males age 13 or older could be elders. A local caretaker (unfortunately sometimes called "ruler" in the English Bible), called the hazzan, was responsible for maintaining the building and organizing the prayer services (Mark 5:22, 35?36, 38; Luke 8:41-49, 13:14). The hazzan was sometimes the teacher of the synagogue school especially in smaller villages. He would announce the coming Sabbath with blasts on the shofar (ram's horn). Although the hazzan was in charge of worship services, the prayer leader, readers, and even the one who delivered the short sermon could be any adult member of the community. All were recognized as being able to share the meaning of God's Word as God had taught them in their daily walk with him. In this way, the community encouraged even its youngest members to be active participants in its religious life. (Jesus' encounter with the wise teachers in the Temple courts was unusual not so much because of his age, but because of the wise questions he asked, see Luke 2:41-47.) The hazzan also cared for the Torah scrolls and other sacred writings and brought them out at the appropriate times (Luke 4:1-20). Priests and Levites were welcome to participate in synagogue life, including worship, but they had no special role except that only priests could offer the blessing of Aaron from the Torah (Num. 6:24?27) at the end of the service. SYNAGOGUE AND SABBATH While the synagogue building functioned as a community center, school, court, and place o study during the week, on the Sabbath it served as the place where the assembly met fo prayer (1). When the first three stars could be seen on Friday evening, the hazzan blew th shofar to announce that the Sabbath had begun. The people gathered at twilight to eat th Sabbath meal in their homes. All the food was already prepared because no work wa permitted during this time in most traditions. The following morning, the community gathered in the synagogue building. The service began with several blessings offered to God. The congregation recited the Shema: "Hear, 0 Israel: The LORD our God, the Lord is one"(Deut. 6:4). The Torah scrolls would be brought out by the hazzan and would be read in several portions, sometimes as many as seven. Different people were scheduled to read a portion each week. The readings were determined according to a set schedule, so the reader would have no choice of the passage read. Following the Torah portion, a section from the prophets (called the Haphtarah) would be read by the same or another reader. After all readings, a short sermon would be offered, often by the reader of the Torah or Haftarah. Any adult member of the community was eligible to speak the sermon called the derashah. The sermon was frequently quite short (Jesus spoke only a few words, Luke 4:21). The service ended with a benediction using the Aaronic blessin found in the Torah (Num. 6:24-26), if a priest was present to offer it. Jesus spent much time in synagogues (Matt. 4:23). He taught in them (Matt. 13:54), healed in them (Luke 4:33-35; Mark 3:1-5), and debated the interpretation of Torah in them (John 6:28-59). Clearly, he belonged to the community of the synagogue, because when he visited Nazareth, he was scheduled to read the Haphtarah (Luke 4:16-30) and ma have read the Torah as well as he concludes with a provocative derashah. This is a remarkable example of God's preparation, as the passage Jesus read was exactly the passage that he used to explain his ministry. The early Christians continued to attend synagogues, though with a new interpretation of the Torah, now that Jesus had been revealed as Messiah (Acts 13:14). The new community of Jesus was born out of the synagogue. Believers were to become assemblies, not single individuals seeking God alone. We address God as "our Father" because we are his assembly. We are one body
  28. 28. because we are made that way through Jesus (1 Cor. 12:12-13). In our fractured, broken world, with all its self- preoccupation, the model of the synagogue, the picture of the community of God, presents an alluring message. We would do well to understand the synagogue of Galilee. THE SYNAGOGUE SCHOOL Boys and girls went to school in Galilee though boys continued till they were 15 if the displayed unusual ability while the girls were married by that time. Students probabl attended school in the synagogue and were taught by the hazzan or a local Torah Teache Study began at age five or six in elementary school, called bet sefer. The subject was th Torah and the method was memorization. Since the learning of the community was passe orally, memorization of tradition and God's Word were essential. At first students studied only the Torah. Later they began to study the more complicated oral interpretations of the Torah. Question-and-answer sessions between teacher and student were adde to the memorization drills. The more gifted students might continue after age 12 or 13 in beth midrash (meaning "house of study," or secondary school). Here began the more intense process of understanding and applying the Torah and oral tradition to specific situations. The truly gifted would leave home to study with a famous rabbi to "become like him" as a talmid (disciple). Although their discussion and study might be held in the synagogue, these disciples would travel with their rabbi, learning the wisdom of Torah and oral tradition applied to the daily situations they faced. By the time a person was an adult, he knew most of the Scriptures by heart. If someone recited a passage, the audience would know whether it was quoted accurately or not. Jesus, in keeping with hi culture, would simply begin with "It is written ..." knowing his audience would recognize an accurate quote. The Mishnah (the written record of the oral traditions of Jesus' time and after) recorded that the gifted student began study of the written Torah at age five, studied oral traditions at age 12, became a religious adult at 13, studied the application of Torah and tradition at 15, learned a trade at 20, and entered his full ability at 30. Although this was written after Jesus, it represents the practice of his time. It is significant that he came to Jerusalem at age 12, already wise; then he learned a trade from His father until his ministry began at age 30. His life seemed to follow the education practices of his people quite closely. He surely attended the local school of Nazareth and learned from grea rabbis as well. Being addressed as "Rabbi" certainly indicated someone who had learned from a rabbi. He certainly selected a group of students who followed him, learning as they went. And everywhere his audience had the knowledge of the Bible on which Jesus so often based his teaching. Notes (1) Christians describe the church activity of formal interaction with God as "worship." Jews describe th same activity in synagogues (or, in Bible times, in the Temple) as "prayer." In Jesus' parable, the ta collector and Pharisee go to the Temple to pray (Luke 18:10). Their activity certainly included prayer, fo going to the Temple to pray meant going at the time of worship and sacrifice. The Temple is called th House of Prayer (Isa. 56:7; Luke 19:46), meaning "the place of worship." The Mishnah (the written record of the oral traditions of Jesus' time and after) recorded that the gifted student began study of the written Torah at age five, studied oral traditions at age 12, became a religious adult at 13, studied the application of Torah and tradition at 15, learned a trade at 20, and entered his full ability at 30. Although this was written after Jesus, it represents the practice
  29. 29. of his time. It is significant that he came to Jerusalem at age 12, already wise; then he learned a trade from His father until his ministry began at age 30. His life seemed to follow the education practices of his people quite closely. He surely attended the local school of Nazareth and learned from great rabbis as well. Being addressed as "Rabbi" certainly indicated someone who had learned from a rabbi. He certainly selected a group of students who followed him, learning as they went. And everywhere his audience had the knowledge of the Bible on which Jesus so often based his teaching. Notes (1) Christians describe the church activity of formal interaction with God as "worship." Jews describe the same activity in synagogues (or, in Bible times, in the Temple) as "prayer." In Jesus' parable, the tax collector and Pharisee go to the Temple to pray (Luke 18:10). Their activity certainly included prayer, for going to the Temple to pray meant going at the time of worship and sacrifice. The Temple is called the House of Prayer (Isa. 56:7; Luke 19:46), meaning "the place of worship." Verse 15 And he taught (και αυτος εδιδασκεν — kai autos edidasken). Luke is fond of this mo s wisdom. As Ron Ritchie points out, the ministry of Jesus was Spirit-empowered, widely- known, well-received, and synagogue-centered. We see in verse 15 that He “taught in their synagogues.” Jesus is known for many things – He was a miracle-worker, a preacher, a good man, but He’s primarily known as a Teacher. Almost every town had a synagogue. A synagogue was known as a place for praise, prayer and preaching and came about after the Babylonian Captivity when the Jews returned to their land and needed places to congregate. During the time of Jesus, the Temple was in Jerusalem and people headed there for special feast days, but each community, if it had at least 10 Jewish men, had a synagogue. Similar to local churches, they provided a place for spiritual needs to be met on a weekly basis. Philo, an ancient historian, referred to synagogues as “houses of instruction.” ===================================================== ======= JESUS' REJECTION AT NAZARETH: (Matthew 123:53-58 and Mark 6:1-6) Luke 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
  30. 30. for to read. 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. This had been for years his practice in the little synagogue of the village where was his carpenter's shop. Children at the age of five years were admitted into the synagogue, and at thirteen attendance there was part of the legal life of the Jew. These synagogues were the regular places for religious gatherings every sabbath day, and also usually on Mondays and Tuesdays, besides on other special occasions. We hear of them after the return from the Captivity, and probably they existed long before. Some think that in Psalms 74:8 there is a reference to them. And stood up for to read. The holy books were always read standing. The ruler or elder presided over and directed the synagogue service. The priest and Levite had no recognized position in the synagogue. Their functions were confined to the temple and to the duties prescribed in the Law. It was not unusual for the synagogue officials, if any stranger was present who was known to be competent, to ask him to read and to expound a passage in the Law or Prophets. On the Sabbath, the service would very often begin with the singing of Psalms 145-150. Then, the Shema Then, the Shema would be recited, which we quoted last week fromDeuteronomy 6:4-5: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” This was followed with a time of prayer. Then a passage would be read from one of the first five books of the Bible, then a time of praise and more prayer. Following that, an older man, or a visitor would be invited to read from one of the prophets and then preach from the text that was read. At the end there would be more praising and prayer, capped off by a benediction from Numbers 6:24-26: “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” This would be followed by lunch – and you thought our services were long! Our Lord was well known in Nazareth, and of late had evidently gained a great reputation as a preacher. It was, therefore, most natural that he should be asked to take a prominent part in the sabbath services. Verse 16 Where he had been brought up (ου ην τετραμμενος — hou en̄ tethrammenos). Past perfect passive periphrastic indicative, a state of completion in past time, from τρεπω — trephō a common Greek verb. This
  31. 31. visit is before that recorded in Mark 6:1-6; Matthew 13:54-58 which was just before the third tour of Galilee. Here Jesus comes back after a year of public ministry elsewhere and with a wide reputation (Luke 4:15). Luke may have in mind Luke 2:51, but for some time now Nazareth had not been his home and that fact may be implied by the past perfect tense. As his custom was (κατα το ειωτος αυτωι — kata to eiothos autoi). Second̄ ̄ perfect active neuter singular participle of an old ετω — etho (Homer), to bē accustomed. Literally according to what was customary to him (αυτωι — autoi dative case). This is one of the flashlights on the early life of Jesus. Hē had the habit of going to public worship in the synagogue as a boy, a habit that he kept up when a grown man. If the child does not form the habit of going to church, the man is almost certain not to have it. We have already had in Matthew and Mark frequent instances of the word synagogue which played such a large part in Jewish life after the restoration from Babylon. Jesus grew up going to the synagogue every Sabbath. Now He is back in his hometown of Nazareth, and true to form we read in verse 16 that “on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom….” Let me make the obvious point that going to synagogue was part of His regular weekly schedule. Because this was His habit, He didn’t get up in the morning and wonder if He should go, or allow anything else to get in the way of going, or not go if He was tired, or stay home because He didn’t like something in the service. It was His custom to go, no matter what. I love seeing how so many of you have made a commitment to attend services each week. May your tribe increase! Jesus grew up going to the synagogue every Sabbath. Now He is back in his hometown of Nazareth, and true to form we read in verse 16 that “on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom….” Let me make the obvious point that going to synagogue was part of His regular weekly schedule. Because this was His habit, He didn’t get up in the morning and wonder if He should go, or allow anything else to get in the way of going, or not go if He was tired, or stay home because He didn’t like something in the service. It was His custom to go, no matter what. I love seeing how so many of you have made a commitment to attend services each week. May your tribe increase! Stood up (ανεστη — aneste). Second aorist active indicative and intransitive. Verȳ common verb. It was the custom for the reader to stand except when the Book of Esther was read at the feast of Purim when he might sit. It is not here stated that Jesus had been in the habit of standing up to read here or elsewhere. It was his habit to go to the synagogue for worship. Since he entered upon his Messianic work his habit was to teach in the synagogues (Luke 4:15). This was apparently the first time that he had done so in Nazareth. He may have been asked to read as Paul was in Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:15). The ruler of the synagogue for that day may have invited Jesus to read and speak because of his now great reputation as a teacher. Jesus could have stood up voluntarily and appropriately because of
  32. 32. his interest in his home town. To read (αναγνωναι — anagnonaī ). Second aorist active infinitive of αναγινωσκω — anaginoskō ̄ to recognize again the written characters and so to read and then to read aloud. It appears first in Pindar in the sense of read and always so in the N.T. This public reading aloud with occasional comments may explain the parenthesis in Matthew 24:15 (Let him that readeth understand). And, as his custom was, he went … - From this it appears that the Saviour regularly attended the service of the synagogue. In that service the Scriptures of the Old Testament were read, prayers were offered, and the Word of God was explained. See the notes at Matthew 4:23. There was great corruption in doctrine and practice at that time, but Christ did not on that account keep away from the place of public worship. From this we may learn: 1.That it is our duty “regularly” to attend public worship. 2.That it is better to attend a place of worship which is not entirely pure, or where just such doctrines are not delivered as we would wish, than not attend at all. It is of vast importance that the public worship of God should be maintained; and it is “our” duty to assist in maintaining it, to show by our example that we love it, and to win others also to love it. See Hebrews 10:25. At the same time, this remark should not be construed as enjoining it as our duty to attend where the “true” God is not worshipped, or where he is worshipped by pagan rites and pagan prayers. If, therefore, the Unitarian does not worship the true God, and if the Roman Catholic worships God in a manner forbidden and offers homage to the creatures of God, thus being guilty of idolatry, it cannot be a duty to attend on such a place of worship. The synagogue - See Matthew 4:23. Stood up for to read - The books of Moses were so divided that they could be read through in the synagogues once in a year. To these were added portions out of the prophets, so that no small part of them was read also once a year. It is not known whether our Saviour read the lesson which was the regular one for that day, though it might seem “probable” that he would not depart from the usual custom. Yet, as the eyes of all were fixed on him; as he deliberately looked out a place; and as the people were evidently surprised at what he did, it seems to be intimated that he selected a lesson which was “not” the regular one for that day. The same ceremonies in regard to conducting public worship which are here described are observed at Jerusalem by the Jews at the present time. Professor Hackett (“Illustrations

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