Friday, March 23, 2012

He Sat Down

It had to be more than just the few words Jesus spoke to those in the synagogue that Sabbath day which drove the people in His hometown to try and kill Him by tossing Him over the edge of the high cliff that Nazareth was built on. Something else had to have happened, something else took place.

According to Luke 4:14-15, after the temptation in the wilderness ... "Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all."

Because Jesus had been teaching in their synagogues throughout Galilee, in the power of the Holy Spirit, which they weren't used to ... He gained fame and honor as He explained in detail the Word of God as no one else had ever done. After all, He was the Word made flesh. Remember, at the age of twelve Jesus had taught in the Temple in Jerusalem and amazed the doctors of the Law. (Luke 2:46-47)

Josephus was a 1st century Jewish historian credited by many as recording some of the earliest history of Jesus outside of the gospels. He wrote that ... "When Jesus was about fourteen years of age, the chief priests, and the principal men of the city, were constantly coming to him to be more accurately instructed in matters relative to the law." If this were true, it is no wonder to find the leaders of the synagogues throughout Galilee now listening to Jesus, 16 years later to hear what He had to say.

Jesus was now ready to begin His ministry and Luke continues with the story, in verses 16-21 ...

"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. And there was delivered unto him (a rolled up scroll) the book of the prophet Esaias.

And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written
(Isaiah 61:1-2) ... ' The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.'

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

Temple etiquette was such that the one who read the Scripture, the Law, invariably stood up to do so; and in fact, it was not lawful for them to even lean against any thing while reading. When finished reading, that individual would sit back down in his seat.

The Jews generally sat while they taught or commented on Scripture. After Jesus read from the Isaiah scroll, He sat down as if to teach in His hometown synagogue, which was most likely expected of Him considering the fame generated from the other times He spoke throughout Galilee.

Luke makes note of the fact that all the eyes in the synagogue were fixed attentively on Him. Why were they watching Him? Was it His fame as a speaker or teacher? I believe it was more than that. They were watching because of where He took His seat. He took another seat instead of going back to his former seat.

Then as expected, He began to just speak to them out of His heart. In verse 22, Luke says that all spoke well of Him and of the grace that came out of His mouth, and they asked each other … "Is this not Joseph's son?"

So what's the real problem here? I think the problem was two fold ...

1.) After He read from the book, Jesus sat down in the chair that back then all synagogues had ... "in waiting" ... a chair reserved for the Messiah they expected someday to come and sit in.

2.) After being seated in Messiah's chair, Jesus, by saying ... "this day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears" ... was telling the very same people that watched Him grow up in Nazareth that He was the Messiah.

How could this be? They knew Him as the son of Joseph the carpenter. I am of the opinion ... because Jesus said in so many words that He was the Messiah and then taking His seat in that special chair must be what set them off in such a rage that they tried to kill Him.

May I suggest a shadow and type in this story of what was to come later in the Heavenly ministry of Jesus as our High Priest as shown in Hebrews 10:10.

In the Amplified Bible it reads this way … "we have been made holy through the offering made once for all of the body of Jesus Christ."

Now here is where it gets interesting. The writer in verse 11 continues with … "Furthermore, every human priest stands (at his alter of service) ministering daily, offering the same sacrifices over and over again, which are never able to strip the sins that envelop us and take them away."

Notice it says the priest "stands" in the place of service whether in the tabernacle or temple. Did you know there were not any chairs or seats in either the tabernacle in the wilderness, or later in the temple in Jerusalem? They were both different than the synagogues where the Scriptures were discussed each sabbath.

The priests always stood while they performed their duties in the tabernacle and temple. They couldn't sit down for two reasons.

1.) There were no chairs, and 2.) They were never finished offering sacrifices … it had to be done daily, over and over.

It gets better. As we continue reading with verse 12 … "Whereas this One Christ, after He had offered a single sacrifice for our sins that shall avail for all time, sat down at the right hand of God …" This time not in Messiah's chair, but in the Mercy Seat of Heaven.

Verse 14 ... "For by a single offering, He has forever completely cleansed and perfected those who are consecrated and made holy."

This is telling me, that what Jesus did … one time only … when He sprinkled His own Blood on the Mercy Seat in Heaven … was enough … to satisfy God the Father. Nothing else can be done, or should be done. It is finished for all time.

This is why the resurrected Jesus sat down at His Father's right hand … to show us He completed His work … it's now finished.

I really don't know, or even care if my opinion is right concerning what chair Jesus used when He sat down in the synagogue in Nazareth that day. I just wanted to show the shadow of what is important, the fact that all the priests of the past, together with all the offerings ever given … could not and did not match … the one offering Jesus gave, on and for, our behalf.

Because His work is finished, Jesus, our High Priest, unlike all of the other priests is now … seated ... once again.

Comments welcome.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful thought, Carl. Enjoy your posts. Wish I could put this one on the web but my webs are gone (the company went bankrupt and didn't notify anyone so they just disappeared. I guess it was time for them to go.... anyway, keep up the good work... willetta

Following Him said...

Thanks Willetta ... but after reading some of your stories ... well, mine just can't compare. You have a real talent.

My next post will be a short story I wrote for Easter, entitled "Three Nails." Hope you like it.

Sorry about your web provider, too bad.

Blessings ...

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