The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.Luke 2:40(NASB)
The second chapter of Luke's gospel gives the greatest insight into Christ's early years, His childhood, and His pre-ministry preparation. Luke sets out a timeline that begins with His birth at Bethlehem, His circumcision and dedication, and His presentation to shepherds in the field and saints in the Temple.
It records the prophecy of Simeon and the testimony of Anna, the old prophetess, and allows us glimpses into His life in Nazareth, His extraordinary visit to the Temple at the age of 12, and the many silent years He spent as a young carpenter when, "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man."
Simeon's prophetic declaration and the wise words of Anna, help us to understand that the baby they saw was unique and special in so many ways, for He was identified as the "Salvation of God," and a "Light to lighten both the Gentiles and the people of Israel." Their testimonies also help us to understand the privilege and peculiar responsibility that God entrusted to His parents.
Both Mary and Joseph were part of the Jewish remnant who were waiting expectantly for their Messiah, and both were amazed at the things which were said about Him in those early days. Though born in the City of David, Jesus grew up in the little town of Nazareth where He grew and developed both physically and spiritually. Luke writes that He grew and became strong in spirit. He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God and spiritual blessing rested upon Him.
Like every little Jewish boy or girl, Jesus had to learn to walk and talk, to play and work, to interact with others, and to learn about the Law and the prophets of Israel. And this verse gives a little of the limited information we have about Christ's early life, for we read, "The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom... and the grace of God was upon Him."
Physically, the Lord Jesus continued to grow and develop and to become strong, as he passed through childhood to maturity. Developmentally, He increased in wisdom and understanding, while spiritually, we read that the grace of God was upon Him. Because Jesus had to experience the physical and emotional development that every child undergoes, we discover that He is well able to sympathise with every stage of our development and every circumstance we meet. He understands our infirmities for He was faced with the same temptations we face - yet Jesus was without sin.
Not only in His adult ministry but throughout His childhood and youth, the Lord Jesus was the sinless Son of God, Who learned obedience by the things that He suffered. He was born for a purpose - and that purpose was the salvation of the world. He learned to listen to His Father's voice and do only those things that He heard from His heavenly Father, for His food was to do the will of the One Who sent Him and to accomplish His work.
During His life, Jesus fulfilled every requirement of the Law. Not only did he honour His heavenly Father, but He gave honour to Mary, His mother, and Joseph, His adoptive earthly father, and the young Jesus lived in submission to them - even though He would be their Messiah and Lord. He submitted to their authority and was guided by their advice. And both parents set the young Man a good example, for they also obeyed what was written in the Law of Moses and brought up the little Lord Jesus in the way that He should go... and the favour of the Lord was upon Him.
Living after the Cross, in the age of grace, we are no longer under the Law, as was Jesus... but His life, from beginning to end, is a shining example to all of us on how to live for the glory of God - for He lived His sacred life and died His sacrificial death for the honour and glory of the Father in heaven.
Although Jesus was fully God, He laid aside His glory for a season and lived in total submission to the Father, in the power of the Spirit. He did only those things He saw His Father do and said only those things He heard from His Father. Jesus lived His entire life in total dependence on the Father and was willing to say NOT MY WILL, but Thy will be done.
May we learn from His example and be increasingly transformed into the likeness of Christ by reflecting His humble character and godly ways for His eternal His praise and glory.
Heavenly Father, I scarce can comprehend that God the Son would lay aside His heavenly glory and be willing to come to earth, be born as a little baby, and live a perfect life, so that He could die a sacrificial death for the sin of the world. Thank You for His wonderful example of obedience to You and thank You that He demonstrated to us how to live a life that was totally dependent on You. I pray that like the Lord Jesus, I would grow in grace and increase in wisdom and understanding, for Your praise and glory. I pray that I would learn to say, without hesitation, "Thy will not mine be done in all things." This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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