“And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as was His custom, He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and He stood up to read.” Luke 4:16 (ESV)
“As was His custom” – four simple words that communicate volumes. What does that phrase, applied to your life tell everyone about you?
In many ways our customs define us because they tell us what things we have decided to give priority to in our lives. The ideal is to establish regular practices and habits that impart energy, provide stability and/or add meaning to life. When we think about daily routine – our dietary habits, ways in which we keep informed and engage with media and our exercise routines or the lack thereof all come to mind. But the most important customs to establish in life are the spiritual ones.
Jesus was a creature of habit when it came to His spiritual life. He made a commitment to habitual daily, weekly and even annual practices that nourished His personal relationship with His Heavenly Father. These practices also became the platform from which He launched a good portion of His ministry. Daily prayer, early in the morning or late at night (Mark 1:35 & 6:46), weekly engagement in worship and the Scriptures each Sabbath at the synagogue and regular attendance at the annual feasts in Jerusalem were the benchmarks of His spiritual life.
If Jesus, fully God, yet fully man, made daily communion with God and weekly engagement in worship the priority in His life, how much more should we? Paul, following in Jesus’ footsteps, began each week in the synagogue as well. “As was Paul’s custom, he went to the synagogue service, and for three Sabbaths in a row he used the Scriptures to reason with the people,” (Acts 17:2 NLT)