When Jesus returned to Galilee after he had spent 40 days in the desert, he was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. He began to teach and preach everywhere he went, and the people quickly developed affection and admiration for him. By the time he reached Nazareth, where he had spent his childhood, it was the Sabbath, so he went to the synagogue.
When he was handed a scroll, Jesus stood up, unrolled it and found a passage from Isaiah. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, and to let the oppressed go free.” Jesus had read with such eloquence and conviction that the people in the synagogue just stared at him, wondering what else he might say.
Jesus rolled the scroll up again and handed it to the attendant. Then he said, simply yet firmly, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Immediately people began whispering to each other, wondering what Jesus meant by such words. Someone said, loud enough for Jesus to overhear, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”
“No prophet is accepted in his own native place,” Jesus continued. “There were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when severe famine spread over the entire land, but he was sent only to a widow in the land of Sidon. There were many lepers during the time of Elisha, but only Naaman the Syrian was cleansed.”
The mood of the people in the synagogue changed from awe to anger. They stood up as a group shouting threats at Jesus. They chased him to the top of the hill on the city limits, prepared to cause him harm if they caught him. But Jesus walked through the crowd of hostile people as if he were invisible and he left the area in safety and solitude.
Jesus went from Nazareth to Capernaum. When he taught in the synagogue there, the people were amazed by the powerful manner in which he read the Scriptures. A man who had an unclean spirit challenged Jesus in the synagogue. Jesus healed the man by scolding the spirit to be quiet.
Someone said, “What is there about his word? With authority and power he commands the unclean spirits and they come out.”
READ MORE ABOUT IT:
1. What did Jesus say about the passage he read from Isaiah?
2. Why did Jesus have to leave Nazareth in such a hurry?
The land that borders the Mediterranean Sea, where the people we read about in the Bible lived many years ago, has cool, wet winters and hot, dry summers. The mountainous regions receive more rain than the plains that are closer to sea level.
Sometimes summers are so harsh that a lot of the area becomes like a desert. This type of weather may have caused some of the droughts and famines that are written about in the Bible.
Water is so important to life, it has been called our most precious natural resource. A well on a person’s property was considered very valuable. Rain could be scarce, and fresh water was not always easy to find. Some cities had wells that the public could draw water from. A cistern is similar to a well, but it is a reservoir that has been dug to collect and preserve rain water. Some families had to carry water a long distance to bring it home. Even today, we should always conserve water and all natural resources.
Sava, also called Sabas, became a monk at the young age of 17. With the help of his father, he established a monastery in Greece in order to train Serbian monks.
He earned a reputation for his kind and gentle, yet thorough, way of teaching. When Sava returned home to Serbia to try to settle a dispute between his brothers, he found that his homeland was practicing a combination of Christianity and paganism. There were few clergy members in the area who had received strong religious training, so Sava enlisted the monks of his own monastery to train the Serbian monks and to create several new monasteries.
Because of his work, Sava rose to the positions of bishop and archbishop. He is the patron saint of Serbia because he brought religious reform to the region and trained and appointed Serbian monks to work in their own country. Before he died in 1235 he made two pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
We remember him on Jan. 14.