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Verse 16. And, as his custom was, he went {l}, &c. From this it appears that the Saviour regularly attended the service of the synagogue. In that service the Scriptures of the Old Testament were read, prayers were offered, and the Word of God was explained. See Barnes on "Mt 4:23".


There was great corruption in doctrine and practice at that time, but Christ did not on that account keep away from the place of public worship. From this we may learn—

1st. That it is our duty regularly to attend public worship.

2nd. That it is better to attend a place of worship which is not entirely pure, or where just such doctrines are not delivered as we would wish, than not attend at all. It is of vast importance that the public worship of God should be maintained; and it is our duty to assist in maintaining it, to show by our example that we love it, and to win others also to love it. See Heb 10:25. At the same time, this remark should not be construed as enjoining it as our duty to attend where the true God is not worshipped, or where he is worshipped by pagan rites and pagan prayers. If, therefore, the Unitarian does not worship the true God, and if the Roman Catholic worships God in a manner forbidden, and offers homage to the creatures of God, thus being guilty of idolatry, it cannot be a duty to attend on such a place of worship.

The synagogue. See Mt 4:23.

Stood up for to read. The books of Moses were so divided that they could be read through in the synagogues once in a year. To these were added portions out of the prophets, so that no small part of them was read also once a year. It is not known whether our Saviour read the lesson which was the regular one for that day, though it might seem probable that he would not depart from the usual custom. Yet, as the eyes of all were fixed on him; as he deliberately looked out a place; and as the people were evidently surprised at what he did, it seems to be intimated that he selected a lesson which was not the regular one for that day. The same ceremonies in regard to conducting public worship which are here described are observed at Jerusalem by the Jews at the present time. Professor Hackett (Illustrations of Scripture, p. 232) says:


"I attended the Jewish worship at Jerusalem,

and was struck with the accordance of the ceremonies

with those mentioned in the New Testament. The sacred

roll was brought from the chest or closet where it was

kept; it was handed by an attendant to the reader; a

portion of it was rehearsed; the congregation rose and

stood while it was read, whereas the speaker, as well

as the others present, sat during the delivery of the

address which formed a part of the service."

{k} "Nazareth" Mt 2:23 {l} Mt 13:54; Joh 18:20; Ac 13:14; 17:2

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