When Jesus walked planet earth in the first century, the failed religious system was exposed. Jesus’ most frequent run-ins were with the people that benefitted most from that failed structure, the Pharisees. The self-proclaimed “holiness crowd” (ironic, because of their lack of holiness) were self-serving, hypocritical, arrogant, and Jesus called them “snakes” and “white washed tombs.” They would eventually be key players in Jesus’ crucifixion. These same people who were so against Jesus also went to the synagogue. All the time. Whatever their motive, they were there. All of which makes the phrase Luke uses about Jesus’ regular routine so important. Luke wrote: “As was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day” (Luke 4:11).
Jesus didn’t avoid those who didn’t think like him or act like him. He knew the synagogue was full of hypocrites, still he went “as was his custom.” In spite of his conflicts with the “holiness crowd” and their eventual aiding and abetting in his execution, Jesus went “as was his custom.” Clearly, Jesus was revolted by their attitudes and actions (have you ever read Matthew 23?), still they sat down the pew from each other every Sabbath. The Person who need to worship the least, continued to go “as was his custom.” Jesus went because He wasn’t going for those disagreeable and disgruntled people, He attended public worship gatherings to glorify God. That should be our motivation too.
Does the church have problems? Of course. Are their more problems in today’s church than in Jesus’ synagogue? My guess is that the people attending are not plotting your death. Still people are people. People and institutions made up of people are imperfect. In the off chance, you find a perfect church, DO NOT ATTEND IT. Why? When you show up (or if I showed up for that matter), it will no longer be a “perfect” church. Newsflash: We ain’t perfect (NOTE: the previous use of “ain’t” displays my imperfections). The imperfect gathering of people for the expressed purpose of worship didn’t stop Jesus from attending and it shouldn’t stop us.
Bottom line: To those who have legitimate reasons for looking around the church and concluding, “these are not my people.” Don’t quit. To those of you who are feeling out of place, you are still needed in the church. Maybe more now than ever. Obviously, there are times when the environment is so toxic and anti-Christ, a person (for their own spiritual and emotional well-being) must exit, but find a new group of imperfect people that calls themselves the church to worship alongside. Your presence will make the group a little less perfect, but join anyway. Like Jesus, make it your custom.