The Gospel of Luke highlights several places in the life of our Lord that give us a window into the habits of Jesus. His commitment to these habits revealed His character in moments of opposition, weariness, and even danger.
Three places. Three lessons. Three habits essential to your life.
Nazareth and Jesus’ Habit of Weekly Public Worship
And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. —Luke 4:16
God invented the Sabbath. In time, observing the Sabbath became the sign of all who determined to follow the Mosaic Covenant (Exod. 31:13). Today, even though a New Testament (i.e., New Covenant) believer no longer has the constraints of the Sabbath (see Rom. 14:5–6; Col. 2:16), the principle of weekly worship and rest still remains essential.
Some Christians, however, disenchanted with the hypocrisy in the church, have given up “the habit of meeting together,” in spite of the Bible’s clear command (Hebrews 10:24–25). Attending (and serving in) church isn’t an option for an obedient Christian. Why? Only in such a gathering can we experience corporate worship, fellowship, and expression of our spiritual gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ.
Ironically, going it alone is a hypocrisy all in itself. Jesus didn’t do that.
Jesus attended the synagogue weekly “as was His custom” (Luke 4:16). He went to worship and to offer His teaching gift, and not merely to observe and evaluate. What’s more, Jesus knew what He faced that day as He stepped across the threshold of the synagogue. He knew opposition awaited Him when He read from Isaiah and proclaimed that He, the Messiah, fulfilled Scripture.
We will also experience the hypocrisy of others. (And so do they when they rub shoulders with us.) That’s part of why we go. To learn to model grace and forgiveness—just as God does for us.
God has wonderful surprises for us in church He will give nowhere else.
The Wilderness and Jesus’ Habit of Private Prayer
But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.—Luke 5:16
One of the habits of Jesus revealed itself as He slipped away for some time alone with the Father. Here Jesus gives us a model of the value of our quiet time. The “wilderness” refers to “desolate” or “lonely” places. Wherever Jesus found Himself in the course of ministry, He also made it His habit to seek essential time in the “alone zone.”
On one such occasion, Jesus’ healing ministry proved so consuming that He took time alone with God to reaffirm the Lord’s priority to preach (Mark 1:35–38).
Other people have a great plan for your life. That plan includes you serving them. A regular, if not daily, time with the Father realigns our priorities that our spiritual life is more than serving. It begins with our walk with God.
The Mount of Olives and Jesus’ Habit of Following God’s Uncomfortable Will
And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. —Luke 22:39
During the Passion Week, Jesus made it a habit of “teaching in the temple, but at evening He would go out and spend the night on the mount that is called Olivet” (Luke 21:37). Luke doesn’t mention this custom so that we’ll camp out on the Mount of Olives. He refers to Jesus doing what He has always done—refusing to change His pattern when doing so could have eluded Judas’ betraying intentions. The Lord knew Judas would remember Jesus’ habit to bivouac in Gethsemane.
The betrayer would know right where to show up with the soldiers.