Luke 2: 40, 51, 52 And the child (Jesus) grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him. And He went down with them (Mary and Joseph), and came to Nazareth and was subject unto them: but His mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
And God spoke all these words, saying:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
By the time a child is twelve they have grown quite a bit and are on the precipice of puberty and adulthood. The challenges grow and by this time they have come to recognize right and wrong and have been exposed to the world system and the attacks of evil on their soul. Most children by this point are searching for “something or someone” to fill the void in their heart. They are showing definite interests and areas of proficiency and aptitude. Some children are naturally kind, loving, polite, and respectful while others are stubborn, defiant, sneaky, rude, and inconsiderate of others. Children have experienced stomach aches, fever, flu, chicken pox, cuts, bruises, bad dreams, bites, stings, choking, and the birth of siblings, a death of a family member or friend, and come in contact with disease, deformity, disability, and mental handicap. Playground, school, religious experiences, family traditions, and travel have all left impressions of joy, sorrow, pride, disappointment, and frustration. Laughter, tears, fears, pain, excitement, anticipation, learning, failure, success, criticism, and accolades are all part of the collective experience. (From the Mother’s Almanac by Marguerite Kelly and Elia Parsons)
For Jesus, it was no different. He found it hard to be subject to His earthly parents by age twelve. (Luke 2:40-52), He had to do chores, He had to go to synagogue (both church and school), He heard His Heavenly Father’s name taken in vain, He was tempted by others to lie, steal, cheat, covet, and look at a first century version of Playboy, the village prostitute. We know from scripture He was tempted but was without sin. (Hebrews 4:15) This is all because He made the right choices. The exposure to temptations were the same as ours and were the most difficult in areas where man is most selfish and wants life to go his way. He dealt with death, disease, and disability around Him and He was at this point helpless to intervene for He had not yet received the Holy Spirit’s power. (Luke 3:22) He, like us, was dependent on His earthly parents for guidance, protection, and education.
He grew in wisdom as all children do. Day by day through education and experience.
He grew in stature as all children do. Day by day, cell by cell, gaining height, weight, strength, physical ability, agility, and athleticism. He grew in favor with God and man by making good choices, being respectful, honoring his mother and father, other adults, and his peers. He was kind, considerate, and helpful. He listened when spoken too. He was obedient. It really may be possible to live as Christ! We do so by thinking of others as more important than ourselves and putting God first. (Philippians 2:3-4) Was this easy for Jesus? I do not think so. He was placed in the crucible of life just as we are. Each day a series of decisions and choices (temptations) are presented and with each one we alone choose God’s way or our own way. God’s way gains us favor with God and man. Our way, creates most of the problems we encounter and cause in the lives of others. Something to pause and really contemplate, today.
Romans 14:12 “Therefore, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Because Jesus made the right choices in each experience He was without sin and found to be the perfect Lamb of God to take away my sin. The law of Moses was given not to condemn God’s children but to convict them of their need for a Savior and to prove that in this world we will have trouble but He came to overcome the world. (John 16:33)
Jesus was brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4) by Mary and Joseph but the choices were His alone. Jesus displayed His heart every day: the heart of gentleness, love, and compassion of God the Father. Like His great, great grandfather, King David, He was growing into a man after God’s heart. He would one day hear HIs Father’s voice from Heaven say: “THIS IS MY BELOVED SON IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED!” Those were words He longed to hear. (Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22)
Your Heart by Chris Tomlin
Treading by grace