Paper 126, Section 4

First Sermon in the Synagogue

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126:4.1With the coming of his fifteenth birthday, Jesus could officiallyoccupy the synagogue pulpit on the Sabbath day. Many times before, in theabsence ofspeakers, Jesus had been asked to read the Scriptures, but nowthe day had come when, according to law, he could conduct the service.Therefore on the first Sabbath after his fifteenth birthday the chazanarranged for Jesus to conduct the morning service of the synagogue. Andwhen all the faithful in Nazareth had assembled, the young man, havingmade his selection of Scriptures, stood up and began to read:

126:4.2 "Thespirit of the Lord God is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me; he hassent me to bring good news to the meek, to bind up the brokenhearted, toproclaim liberty to the captives, and to set the spiritual prisoners free;to proclaim the year of God's favor and the day of our God's reckoning;to comfort all mourners, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joyin the place of mourning, a song of praise instead of the spirit of sorrow,that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord,wherewith he may be glorified.

126:4.3 "Seekgood and not evil that you may live, and so the Lord, the God of hosts,shall be with you. Hate the evil and love the good; establish judgmentin the gate. Perhaps the Lord God will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

126:4.4 "Washyourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings frombefore my eyes; cease to do evil and learn to do good; seek justice, relievethe oppressed. Defend thefatherless and plead for the widow.

126:4.5 "Wherewithshall I come before the Lord, to bow myself before the Lord of all theearth? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a yearold? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousands ofsheep, or with rivers of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression,the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? No! For the Lord has showed us,O men, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to dealjustly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God?

126:4.6 "Towhom, then, will you liken God who sits upon the circle of the earth? Liftup your eyes and behold who has created all these worlds, who brings forththeir host by number and calls them all by their names. He does all thesethings by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power,not one fails. He gives power to the weak, and to those who are weary heincreases strength. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for Iam your God. I will strengthen you and I will help you; yes, I will upholdyou with the right hand of my righteousness, for I am the Lord your God.And I will hold your right hand, saying to you, fear not, for I will helpyou.

126:4.7 "Andyou are my witness, says the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen thatall may know and believe me and understand that I am the Eternal. I, evenI, am the Lord, and beside me there is no savior."

126:4.8 And whenhe had thus read, he sat down, and the people went to their homes, ponderingover the words which he had so graciously read to them. Never had his townspeopleseen him so magnificently solemn; never had they heard his voice so earnestand so sincere; never had they observed him so manly and decisive, so authoritative.

126:4.9 This Sabbathafternoon Jesus climbed the Nazareth hill with James and, when they returnedhome, wrote out the Ten Commandments in Greek on two smooth boards in charcoal.Subsequently Martha colored and decorated these boards, and for long theyhung on the wall over James's small workbench.

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