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Jesus and the Synagogue
How does our (modern, Western, Christian) image of the synagogue match the synagogue of Jesus’ time?
What can we – Jews and Christians – learn from the synagogue of Jesus?
= LXX for קָהָל and for עֵדָהBeit Knesset?Shul?Temple?
When we hear the word “synagogue”, modern Western Christians and Jews tend to think of
a building for Jews
Jews to do religious Jewish
, but they don’t give a complete picture
For if there come unto your
man with a gold ring, in fine apparel, and there come in also a
man in shabby
I will make those who are of the
Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars--I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you
He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read,
and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.
He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.
Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”
“Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown.
I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land.
Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in
in the region of Sidon.
And there were many in Israel with leprosy
in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only
.” Luke 4
Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,
and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.
At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.
God’s earthly dwelling place was the tabernacle and afterwards the temple. His great love to Israel is manifest in that, from his throne above the seven heavens, so far away…he came to dwell near his people in the goat-skin tent he bade them set up for him…If God has a tabernacle or temple on earth, it is not that he needs a place to dwell in, for his holy house on high was there before the world was created, but we might put it, because men need some visible thing by which to realize his loving presence. G.F. Moore
Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era
What can we – Jews and Christians – learn from the synagogue of Jesus’ time?
At the center, God’s word
Building serves community not vice versa
Must remember that building a community is more than “just” spiritual life and worship