Discovering His Habits: Luke 4:16-30

Focus Passage: Luke 4:16-30 (NIrV)

16 Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. On the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue as he usually did. He stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. Jesus unrolled it and found the right place. There it is written,

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me.
    He has anointed me
    to announce the good news to poor people.
He has sent me to announce freedom for prisoners.
    He has sent me so that the blind will see again.
He wants me to set free those who are treated badly.
19     And he has sent me to announce the year when he will set his people free.”

20 Then Jesus rolled up the scroll. He gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were staring at him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this passage of Scripture is coming true as you listen.”

22 Everyone said good things about him. They were amazed at the gracious words they heard from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

23 Jesus said, “Here is a saying you will certainly apply to me. ‘Doctor, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me this. ‘Do the things here in your hometown that we heard you did in Capernaum.’ ”

24 “What I’m about to tell you is true,” he continued. “A prophet is not accepted in his hometown. 25 I tell you for sure that there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah. And there had been no rain for three and a half years. There wasn’t enough food to eat anywhere in the land. 26 But Elijah was not sent to any of those widows. Instead, he was sent to a widow in Zarephath near Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel who had skin diseases in the days of Elisha the prophet. But not one of them was healed except Naaman the Syrian.”

28 All the people in the synagogue were very angry when they heard that. 29 They got up and ran Jesus out of town. They took him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They planned to throw him off the cliff. 30 But Jesus walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

Read Luke 4:16-30 in context and/or in other translations on!

Periodically, a word or a phrase helps draw us into some of Jesus’ habits or lifestyle choices. When choosing to write about someone, in order to keep things interesting, most of the space gets dedicated to the abnormal activities in that person’s life.

We don’t read about most of Jesus’ meals, or about any of the times He uses the bathroom. Those would be pointless things to include, because they are wholly uninteresting. Instead, the gospels are made up of events that help draw us into how Jesus was special, and onto events that were outside of the norm. Little space is dedicated to the day to day activities, that is, unless something unusual happens during one of those events.

This is the case in this passage. It started out as a routine visit to the local synagogue, but then it ends with Jesus being run out of town and almost killed. However, it is worth noting the key phrase that points us to His routine. It is in the first verse of this passage: “Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. On the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue as he usually did.” (v. 16)

This passage teaches us that it was normal for Jesus to attend the synagogue on most weekends. This could be translated into our time period by simply saying that Jesus attended church on most Sabbath days of the year.

Why is this important for us?

This is very important because it tells us that we won’t see it written about in other events – unless something significant happens, but just because we don’t see it written doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening.

Jesus’ 30+ years of life are condensed into four letters that together are 89 chapters of the Bible. This means that if we were to give equal weight to all years of Jesus’ life and not repeat anything, each year Jesus lived on earth should receive between two and a half to three chapters dedicated to it. We could also narrow this down even more to say one chapter, which should be no more than one thousand words for every four months of Jesus’ life.

There is no way that one thousand words could cover everything that happens in a four-month period of time, so the gospel writers edit and condense Jesus’ life. They focus in on Jesus’ three years of ministry, and they focus in on Jesus’ ultimate path towards the cross.

But just because they leave Jesus’ routines and lifestyle activities as only briefly mentioned doesn’t mean we cannot discover them if we look closely. It is only by looking closely at Jesus’ life that we will truly be able to be like Him and to become His representatives who are sent into today’s world!

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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