The Ministry of Jesus Christ – Synagogue at Nazareth


And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth; and they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” – Luke 4:16-22 (RSVCE)

Jesus going into the synagogue at Nazareth on the Sabbath day, takes the book and reads from the Prophet Isaias (61:1,2), a prophecy concerning Himself. He tells those present that on that day the prophecy is fulfilled. They wonder at His words, and say: “Is not this the Son of Joseph?”

It was the custom among the Jews to assemble every Sabbath day in the synagogue to read the Law of Moses. Any one present was allowed to read the Law, and to speak on what he had read. Jesus avails Himself of the opportunity thus afforded Him to proclaim His Divine Mission, and reads the passage in Isaias which describes the work that the Messias was to accomplish. How eagerly He is listened to! Something thrills the hearts of those present. They know not that it is God who speaks to them, but they are conscious

1) of the marvelous attractiveness of the speaker;

2) of His Divine authority;

3) of His superiority to all their ordinary teachers. So it always is with those whom God sends. Not so men outside the Church; they may talk beautifully, but they do not touch the heart.

What is it Christ proclaims? That He is come

1) to preach the Gospel to the poor, rather than to the rich;

2) to heal the contrite, not the proud;

3) to set at liberty the captive, and those who are crushed with a sense of sin.

Ponder on these conditions, and apply them to yourself.

Christ declares this scripture to be fulfilled in Himself. It must have seemed to his hearers a strange boldness in the Son of Joseph the carpenter. Yet He held them spellbound. They could not resist His gracious words. Can I resist them now?

MLA Citation

  • Father Richard Frederick Clarke, SJ. “Synagogue at Nazareth”. The Ministry of Jesus Christ: Short Meditations on the Public Life of Our Lord, 1892. CatholicSaints.Info. 16 April 2019. Web. 30 July 2021. <>