Learning to Grow

Key Verse: “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”
—Luke 2:52

Selected Scripture:
Luke 2:40-52

IT WAS EVIDENT AS THE young child Jesus grew, that he was not to be like other children of his generation. Whereas it would seem normal for a child to develop wisdom and the spiritual graces as they approach full adulthood, yet in Jesus we see these characteristics operating in a lad of less than twelve years of age. Luke 2:40 states, “The child grew, and waxed strong … , filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.” It was a tribute to his upbringing by Mary and Joseph and their reverence for the Lord (see lesson for December 21), as well as the fact that he was the only begotten Son of God, that caused Jesus to develop these qualities so early in life.

Every year Jesus’ parents and other family members went to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of the Passover, as required by the Jewish Law. When he was twelve years old they made this trip once again, “after the custom of the feast.” (vs. 42) On this occasion, however, Jesus desired to do more than just be with the family and so, when his parents and other family members left Jerusalem after the feast to return to Nazareth, he stayed behind, unknown to Mary and Joseph. After traveling for a full day they realized their son was missing from the group, and they returned to Jerusalem to see if they could find him.

After looking for three days, they did not find their son Jesus. If they had but realized the spiritual mindset of their beloved son, they would have no doubt looked much more quickly in a place such as the Temple for his whereabouts. It was indeed there, in the house of God, that they found him. Jesus’ presence in the Temple at the young age of twelve was not merely as an observer, but as an active participant in the conversation that took place among the Jewish religious leaders. “After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.”—vss. 46,47

Mary explained to her son that she and Joseph had been searching for him to the point of sorrowing, fearing that perhaps something evil had befallen him. Jesus’ reply was rather surprising, “Why were you searching for me? … Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (vs. 49, New International Version) Although Jesus’ response to his mother’s concern seems on the surface to be a little disrespectful, it really was not. He simply was reminding her that if she had stopped to think about who he was, as had been told to her, as well as Joseph, by the angel prior to his birth, she should not be surprised at all to find him there in the Temple. Notice though that Jesus, upon realizing the great concern of his mother, immediately left the Temple and joined the family again for the trip back to their home. “He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them.”—vs. 51

It is after this experience that we find the words of our Key Verse recorded, giving us the indication that Jesus continued to be an obedient son to his earthly parents, and that he also continued to grow spiritually, ‘in favour with God.’ Thus, he was growing into manhood, to be the one who would eventually give his life for our redemption.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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