Luke – Doors Wide Open!
Parenting is challenging in the best of situations. Parenting involves unconditionally loving these growing humans who will make mistakes as they navigate life just as you made mistakes in your growing up years. “Oh no, he is just like me!” This should not be a grand revelation to us but it seems to be at times. “She thinks like I used to think about doing tasks I don’t like to do.” “Oh, what a short fuse!” He or She was born of you. Why is that a surprise?
But of course, it is much more than genes that influence our children. Our children reflect and imitate who they see and hear most…and that is you, dear parents. Parents, whether you know it are not, you are always teaching your offspring. They watch every move you make, even while having their heads down engrossed in technology. By the way, who provided that technology and taught them how to use it?
Now, consider parenting the Son of God. First born to Mary and Joseph, Jesus was raised by Mary and Joseph. He was a good student who learned with other Jewish boys. “The child grew up healthy and strong.” His parents must of provided for him well as he worked alongside Joseph the carpenter . “He was filled with wisdom.” God, His Father in heaven, provided His perfect decision making skills. Jesus had three “parents”–God, Mary and Joseph. With this combination, Jesus found “favor with God and mankind”.
As I ponder how it must have been as the human parent of the Son of God, who was without sin and perfect in every way, but still was taught the skills for being a good Jewish man someday, I am reminded that we, who are believers and followers of Christ, can have God in the middle of our own parenting and grand-parenting!
Are we asking too much help from others or asking God what is best as we raise His created to be and to do all that He intended for them according to HIS will, plan and purpose. Do we want our kids to be like us or to be a reflection of Christ?
I know our kids are perplexing and challenging, but don’t give up showing them Christ in You. Don’t give up loving them unconditionally. Always forgive as Christ forgave you…a million times a day if necessary. Guide, lead by example, nurture them with God’s Word of directions–the manual for living life skillfully. Pray with them, not just for them, so they will know how to pray. Say I’m sorry when you are wrong so they will know how and when to be sorry when they mess up. Let them know, without a doubt, when disagreements come in the latter years, that You are ALWAYS on their side, in their corner, loving them always…like Christ loves us.
Remain strong. Ask for wisdom, insight and understanding. God will answer this prayer quickly and in a timely manner, just when you need Him most. Pray for discernment for this provides “parent radar” for when our kids get too close to the fire of evil and evil’s schemes to snatch up our children. Pray for a church that teaches God’s Word to your children and supports you in your work to raise them to find and follow Christ.
These are things I ponder while reading Luke’s few words of Jesus’ growing up years. We have God as our helper, just as Mary and Joseph had God as their guide to raise Jesus in God’s ways that was taught to God’s people at that time. Even when perplexed, Mary and Joseph loved Jesus well. Jesus, Son of God, who would one day be their Savior. Wow. Can we wrap our minds around all these thoughts?
Luke 2, NLT
39 When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. 40 There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.
Jesus Speaks with the Teachers
41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. 42 When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. 43 After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, 44 because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends.
45 When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. 46 Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. 47 All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
48 His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”
49 “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they didn’t understand what he meant.
51 Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.
52 Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.
GOING DEEPER…(With the help of commentator, Warren Wiersbe)
What did Jesus do during the “hidden years” at Nazareth? Dr. Luke reports that the lad developed physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually (Luke 2:40, 52). In His incarnation, the Son of God set aside the independent use of His own divine attributes and submitted Himself wholly to the Father (Phil. 2:1–11). There are deep mysteries here that no one can fully understand or explain, but we have no problem accepting them by faith.
Jesus did not perform any miracles as a boy, traditions notwithstanding, because the turning of water into wine was the beginning of His miracles (John 2:1–11). He worked with Joseph in the carpenter shop (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3) and apparently ran the business after Joseph died. Joseph and Mary had other children during those years (Matt. 13:55–56; John 7:1–10), for the “until” of Matthew 1:25 indicates that the couple eventually had normal marital relations.
Luke gives us only one story from our Lord’s youthful years. Joseph and Mary were devout Jews who observed Passover in Jerusalem every year. Three times a year the Jewish men were required to go to Jerusalem to worship (Deut. 16:16), but not all of them could afford to do so. If they chose one feast, it was usually the Passover, and they tried to take their family with them, for it was the most important feast on the Jewish calendar.
People traveled to the feasts in caravans, the women and children leading the way and setting the pace, and
the men and young men following behind. Relatives and whole villages often traveled together and kept an eye on each other’s children. At the age of twelve, Jesus could easily have gone from one group to another and not been missed. Joseph would think Jesus was with Mary and the other children, while Mary would suppose He was with Joseph and the men, or perhaps with one of their relatives.
They had gone a day’s journey from Jerusalem when they discovered that Jesus was missing. It took a day to return to the city and another day for them to find Him. During those three days, Joseph and Mary had been “greatly distressed” (Luke 2:48, “sorrowing”). This word is used to describe Paul’s concern for lost Israel (Rom. 9:2) as well as the pain of lost souls in Hades (Luke 16:24–25).
Whether Jesus had spent the entire time in the temple, we don’t know. It certainly would have been safe there, and the heavenly Father was watching over Him. We do know that when Joseph and Mary found Him, He was in the midst of the teachers, asking them questions and listening to their answers, and the teachers were amazed at both His questions and His answers.
Mary’s loving rebuke brought a respectful but astonished reply from Jesus: “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49 nasb). It can also be translated “in the things of My Father” (nasb margin), but the idea is the same. Jesus was affirming His divine sonship and His mission to do the will of the Father.
The word must was often on our Lord’s lips: “I must preach” (Luke 4:43); “The Son of man must suffer” (Luke 9:22); the Son of Man “must be lifted up” (John 3:14). Even at the age of twelve, Jesus was moved by a divine compulsion to do the Father’s will.
Since Jesus “increased in wisdom” (Luke 2:52), we wonder how much He understood God’s divine plan at that time. We must not assume that at the age of twelve He was omniscient. Certainly He grew in His comprehension of those mysteries as He communed with His Father and was taught by the Spirit.
One thing is sure: Joseph and Mary didn’t understand! This was a part of the pain from “the sword” that Simeon had promised her (Luke 2:35), and no doubt it happened again and again as the boy matured. Years later, during His ministry, our Lord’s family didn’t understand Him (Luke 8:19–21; John 7:1–5).
Jesus is a wonderful example for all young people to follow. He grew in a balanced way (Luke 2:52) without neglecting any part of life, and His priority was to do the will of His Father (see Matt. 6:33). He knew how to listen (Luke 2:46) and how to ask the right questions. He learned how to work, and He was obedient to His parents.
The Boy Jesus grew up in a large family, in a despised city, nurtured by parents who were probably poor. The Jewish religion was at an all-time low, the Roman government was in control, and society was in a state of fear and change. Yet when Jesus emerged from Nazareth, eighteen years later, the Father was able to say of Him, “Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22).
May the Father be able to say that about us!
Dear Heavenly Father, Savior and Lord,
Thank you for helping us teach our children about you. When we made mistakes in decision making, you forgave and helped us to move on with help to learn from our mistakes. You gave us your extreme example of love and forgiveness. Help us to continue to live for You with You living in us. May our children and grandchildren see YOU in us. Continue Your work of salvation in and through us.
In Jesus Name, Amen