LUKE 2:49-52: “Jesus said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you realize that I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they didn’t understand what he meant. Then he returned with them to Nazareth and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. Jesus grew in wisdom and maturity. He gained favor from God and people.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Jesus grew! Have you ever stopped to think about the importance of this statement. There is not much written about Jesus’ childhood or early adult life. Yet, we know that Jesus was about 30 when He began His ministry (Luke 3:23). Think about that for a moment. Jesus spent 30 years living, growing, developing into a man – before He began His ministry. The account in Luke 2:49-52 gives us a glimpse of Jesus at age 12. We see that already Jesus’ knowledge of spiritual things was astounding. Yet, this knowledge was not complete. The end of verse 52 reads – “…Jesus grew in wisdom and maturity. He gained favor from God and people.”
When we think of Jesus, immediately we think of our Lord, walking the earth, teaching the parables, healing the sick, performing miracles. We do not often think of Jesus the student, learning the Scriptures, practicing His trade, learning social skills and how to relate to others. Simply because Jesus was God in human flesh does not mean that He possessed all of these abilities immediately. When God became flesh and dwelt among us, He truly became a man and limited Himself to all of man’s limitations, yet without sin. Being a perfect man did not negate Jesus from having to learn just like we do – line upon line, precept upon precept.
Why is this even important? I think we forget how much Jesus can empathize with our human condition. I think we place unrealistic expectations upon ourselves, that God did not even place upon Jesus. If Jesus reached the age of accountability (12-13 in Jewish traditions), then why did He not miraculously have all knowledge on the spot? Why did He continue to have to grow in wisdom and maturity? Why did the Father wait until Jesus was 30 before He began His earthly ministry? Why not age 18, age 21, age 25? Why? – Because Jesus was continuing to grow and develop into the man that the Father had called Him to be!
Learning, growing, developing, and changing are life long endeavors! There is never a moment in this life where we “arrive”! Nirvana is not a Christian concept. We are all constantly growing, constantly learning, constantly changing. Paul put it this way…
- “It’s not that I’ve already reached the goal or have already completed the course. But I run to win that which Jesus Christ has already won for me. Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don’t look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus.”.(Philippians 3:12-14 GW)
And here is the Good News! – As we struggle through this growth process, which includes times of failure and disappointment, JESUS UNDERSTANDS! Jesus had to go through growth and disappointment in His earthly development. Disappointment is not sin, it is one of the natural components of being human. Learning is not automatic – it is hard work. We do not master a skill or life itself without struggle, pain, and disappointment. This is why the writer of Hebrews proclaims…
- “We have a chief priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. He was tempted in every way that we are, but he didn’t sin. So we can go confidently to the throne of God’s kindness to receive mercy and find kindness, which will help us at the right time.” (Hebrews 4:15-16 GW)
So this morning, be encouraged! You are on the same pathway that Jesus walked! You are growing in wisdom, maturity, and favor with God and man. The process is not over, and God is not displeased with you and I. He is ever present to sympathize with our weakness and to extend His mercy, kindness, and help – at the right time! Let’s rejoice in what the Lord has done in our lives, and look with expectation and joy at what He is and will continue to do!
Let us press on toward the goal to with the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus!
In Jesus Name!