Scripture: Luke 2:51-52
“Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart. Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and all the people”.
Patrick Sookhdeo, in his book “With the Eye of Faith” wrote, “He the Lord of heaven and earth, Sovereign Majestic King of the universe. Ruler and Sustainer of all life. Descends to earth and became Man”. In every area of His life, He was a perfect model and inspiration for all of humanity.
The account of the life of Jesus in the gospels focused mainly on His ministry years, with a greater emphasis on the last week. More attention has been given to the facts surrounding His Death, Burial, Resurrection and post-Resurrection ministry than perhaps any other period of His life. It is clear from the narrative that the synoptic gospel writers never sought to write His biography but rather to provide pertinent information about the nature and scope and source of man’s redemption.
Consequently, we are presented with very little information pertaining to His life before His public ministry. Interestingly though, from the meagre snippets scattered in the early sections of Luke’s gospel, we do learn quite a lot. Enough to serve as inspiration for our own spiritual development.
Following the minor mishap at the age of twelve, when His parents frantically searched for Him for a few days before they located Him in the temple, the narrative nonetheless, shows that He returned with them to Nazareth and was obedient to them. The issue of His obedience to His parents forms the foundation for His early and later life. This model of child growth and development is scriptural and Jewish education allows for parental input in home schooling, an educational activity that is not very much alive in the west.
Luke in his account spoke of the all-round development of Jesus. In his gospel 2: 51-52 he said, “Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and all the people”. This statement covers the major areas personality growth and development. Mental, physical, social and most of all spiritual development. These areas of growth culminates in a rounded personality.
Luke said that He grew in wisdom. His knowledge and understanding increased significantly as evidenced in His encounter with the Jewish intelligence of the time. These mind traits were not a bestowal resulting from deity but rather an acquisition from the rabbinical school in parental input. This offers inspiration for all believers in Christ. Particularly our children.
He increased in stature, according to Luke. This statement refers to His physical growth and development. While the information regarding His physical growth is very skimpy, we can nonetheless, safely assume that He grew up physically strong and healthy. He was obviously not anaemic or sickly but rather strong and healthy in His entire life. Again, this mode of physical growth provides an inspirational challenge for parents to monitor their children’s physical development.
The narrative continues to highlight His relation with people. He gained traction with the community. He gained favour with man. Jesus was not a social misfit. Rather He developed into a social gem. The masses went after Him; He was likeable, relational, compassionate, loving and kind. God gave Him favour with the people of His days, both Jews and Romans. Ministry involvement puts a very high onus on us to build strong relation with the community we serve. Ministry is not a job but rather a life given for the cause of the one who has already given His life for us. Inspired by the master Himself, we must love the people we serve.
Jesus sets, perhaps the most powerful inspirational challenge to us in His spiritual life. He gained favour with God. His relationship with God was unmatched. We saw Him constantly in prayer. His prayer life was un-paralleled. It seems evident from scriptures that Jesus was well set in His purpose from a very early stage in His life. At twelve, He recognized His Father’s business and His Father’s house. It is not unusual in Jewish context for young men to excel in the knowledge of the Torah as well as the rituals of religious practices. Jesus was far above His peers but yet reaches down to fallen man.
The life of Jesus provided inspiration for all young men and women in a world groping in spiritual darkness.