Jesus began his public ministry in Galilee by “teaching in their synagogues” and healing people there (Matthew 4:23).
According to the tradition at the time, a synagogue could form wherever there were 10 adult men, so chances are good that many of these dotted the cities and towns of Galilee. The local synagogue was more than simply a religious place of worship. In that society, it served as a church, a weekday school, and as a local governing council of sorts. Through the synagogue, community elders oversaw their Jewish neighborhoods, exercising authority over both civil and religious affairs—including even the power to scourge (beat and whip) those they considered lawbreakers.
It was the chief elder who ruled each synagogue. As such, he led worship services and chose a man from the community to preach at each meeting. It appears that Jesus was a popular choice for a synagogue speaker in Galilee at this time. That was, no doubt, at least partly due to the fame he was gaining from performing so many miracles in that area.
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