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…
Let us notice the chief points of interest connected with Christ's first appearance as the Messiah, proclaiming the gospel in the home of His childhood.
I. THE PLACE. He was ready to preach where He had been known all His life. Many resolve to become disciples of Christ as soon as they get away among strangers. They say they have not courage to follow Him amongst their own friends. Every one knows their past sins. Their friends would laugh at them. Their changed lives would attract general attention. But, the greater the change, the more reason for showing it at home. Jesus had no past sins laid to His charge when He went back to His own home to preach glad tidings. If your past character has been upright, the remembrance of it will give weight to your testimony as a disciple of Christ. If your past life has been evil, no one will be so moved by the genuineness of the change in you as those who knew you before your conversion.
II. THE ASSOCIATIONS. He preached in the synagogue. It was His custom to attend there. He always worked through the regularly organized channels for religious labour, and among those who professed to be religious. There are those who profess to be followers of Christ, who stand apart from the Churches because of the imperfections of Christians. They cannot work with or enter into fellowship with Christians. But they find no warrant for this in the example of Jesus. The Jewish Church was corrupt; yet He worked in and with and through it, till they cast Him out.
III. THE TIME. He preached on the Sabbath. He used holy time for holy work. His work was always holy, always appropriate to time and place. But He honoured the Sabbath in its true meaning as the day of worship.
IV. THE SUBJECT. It was a text from the Bible. No one ever expounded the Scriptures as He did. He was Himself the Word. God had spoken through the prophets. His Word of old had been the revelation of Himself. Now the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. The living speech and living speaker revealed the mind of God. His words were spirit and life. But they never thrust into the background what had been already spoken. Those who would follow Christ will love the Bible, and will grow holy by receiving and obeying it, and will persuade others through it to believe on Jesus Christ. Without it we are defenceless against the attacks of the adversary.
V. THE SOURCE OF THE PREACHER'S POWER. The Spirit of the Lord was upon Him. It empowered Him to make known the gracious message of salvation, and Himself the Saviour. Before leaving the world He bestowed this Divine gift on His disciples, and it is promised to every one who believes on Christ and seeks it. He is ready to anoint every believer for service. Whoever empties himself of pride, self-seeking, all sin, and asks for that gift simply that he may glorify God, will receive it.
VI. THE SERMON. He was Himself the explanation of His text. His presence spoke and made His words luminous.
VII. THE RECEPTION OF THE SERMON. His hearers lacked the sense of the Divine presence. They were filled with worldliness and pride, and could not appreciate the heavenly gifts which Christ brought. With no consciousness of inner want, they sought only outward things. They judged Him first by His personal appearance and manner, and the graciousness of His words; they were pleased. Then they remembered His humble position in society, and their impression began to change. Then they recalled the fame of His miracles, and they began to desire to be entertained by wonders. Then they saw that He was exposing their prevailing sins, and they were enraged. But the truth which He presented they could not discern, and they saw the frame not the picture; the vessel, not the contents. They sought entertainment, flattery, agreement with themselves, not truth. They thrust for ever salvation and their Saviour, with murder in their hearts.
VIII. THE ESCAPE. The only wonder which they would be likely to remember was that by which He separated Himself from them for ever. A mob is always unreasoning. Some sudden feeling or event may change its purpose as quickly as it was started. Many times the courage and firmness of a single man has dispersed enraged multitudes. When Marius, once the honoured consul of Rome, was being dragged to execution by a yelling, cursing crowd, he fixed his eye on the man who came forward to kill him, with the words, "Slave I dost thou dare to kill Marius?" The soldier dropped his sword and fled, and with him the panic-stricken mob. When Napoleon came back to France from exile, and met the troops sent to oppose him, they, at the sight of him, changed their purpose, and welcomed him as their commander. Jesus, with the majesty of grace and truth, so awed His enemies, that their rage was restrained, and He passed through them unharmed. But oh i had they welcomed the Prince of Peace, even at that last moment, how different their destiny would have been.
(A. E. Dunning.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.