SOAP Devotional 2014-10-27
Scripture – Observation – Application – Prayer
Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. (Matthew 4:23 NLT)
We could focus here on what he preached and what kind of things he healed, the diseases were chronic ongoing illnesses and the illness dealt with any kind of sickness, but for today’s observation I would like to look at the phrase “teaching in synagogues”. Since the return from Babylon, local houses of worship were established wherever there were ten Jewish men that could teach/discuss from the Word of God. It is from these houses of worship that we get our typical foundation for church governance and basic methods of worship in the Christian church today. By the time Jesus came they were in every major city in the known world. Some cities had many and Jerusalem was said to have up to five hundred synagogues. These houses of worship were where Jesus began his ministry and were where the apostles would go to first when evangelizing a new city. Contrary to what many say, the church did not begin in homes, it began in houses of worship. Christians were seen as just another Jewish sect and would use the synagogues on the day after the sabbath, Sunday, for worship and study.
Many today want to discount going to church for worship or being an active member in a local congregation, but to do so would be contrary to the way the early church taught. They want to go against “organized religion” even when doing so is contrary to the teaching of the apostles and the early church. Jesus taught the “Good News about the Kingdom” and a kingdom is not just a bunch of subjects going willy-nilly with no organization. We as believers need to find a church to be a part of. God did a lot to prepare the world for the spreading of the gospel and everything that was done served a purpose. Building these houses of worship was just a part of the long term plan. Be a part of a local church!
Father, do not let me ever forsake the gathering of the local church in a house of worship. Let me honor your plan rather than live with little to no commitment to your plan. Help me to encourage others to be committed to a local church of bible believing believers.