Ministry in the Synagogues

True biblical worship so satisfies our total personality that we don’t have to shop around for man-made substitutes. William Temple made this clear in his masterful definition of worship: For worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience b … More


The Sea of Galilee is an oval shaped body of water approximately eight miles wide and thirteen miles long. Historians tell us that in the first century some 240 boats regularly fished in its waters. It was here that Jesus publicly called His first two disciples Peter and Andrew (v. 18). He said, “follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (v. 19). Since this is a promise, can we really say we are following if we are not fishing? At once they left their nets and followed Him (v. 20). Soon after this he called James and John who were also fishermen (vv. 21-22). Out of the twelve disciples possibly seven of them were professional fishermen. Perhaps one of the reasons for Him calling so many fishermen was that they were busy people and not afraid to work. It has been said that in recent years the majority of missionaries have come from the farm. Perhaps this is for the same reason.

Jesus teaches, preaches and heals (vv. 23-25). His chief place of ministry was in the synagogue (v. 23). The synagogue not only was the primary place of worship but was also a place of study, community fellowship and where legal activity took place. Worship took place in the synagogue every Sabbath which began at sundown on Friday and ended at sundown on Saturday. This also served as a public school for boys. Often visiting dignitaries would be given an opportunity to speak. In the early part of Jesus’ ministry, He was welcomed in most of the synagogues and so this is where he launched His preaching and teaching ministry. The geographical extent of Syria is uncertain, but from the Roman viewpoint it was a province embracing all of Palestine (v. 24). We do know that large crowds followed Jesus from Galilee and the regions around it (v. 25).


If Jesus came by my home or to my place of work what would be my reaction? How do you think the majority of the people would respond?

Matthew 4:18-25 (English Standard Version)

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.

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