: Matthew 2:1-23; Luke 2:41-52; Mark 1:2-8; Matthew 3:1-12; Luke 3:1-18; Mark 1:9-11; Matthew 3:13-17; Luke 3:21-22
Today’s reading covers the largest part of Jesus’ life. It basically covers everything from when he was born until he was baptized in his late 20’s. So it covers 25 + years. You can read today’s passages in about 14 minutes or so. In 14 minutes you can read about 25 + years of his life. You can find out how Jesus was raised as a child, teenager and young adult.
There are some apocryphal books that purport to tell the story of Jesus as a child or teenager. But religious scholars over the last 2000 years have consistently doubted their veracity. Today we know very little about those years in Jesus’ life. Here is what we do know.
Jesus was a faithful boy devoted to God
Luke 2:41 – 43a (NLT)
41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. 42 When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. 43 After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem.
Jesus obviously was raised in a devout observing Jewish family. His family made efforts and sacrifices to partake in the important Passover festival.
Jesus was a well behaved child
Luke 2:43b – 46a, 51 (NLT)
His parents didn’t miss him at first, 44 because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends.
45 When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. 46 Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple,
51 Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.
How many of us parents would have allowed our son to walk back home from Jerusalem without keeping a good eye on them? You can only trust a 12 boy to come back with others if you had built up quite a bit of trust. These verses are not a judgment against Mary and Joseph as bad parents, but a praise of how much they trusted him.
Jesus was preparing for his ministry from an early age
Luke 2:46 – 50 (NLT)
46 Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. 47 All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
48 His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”
49 “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they didn’t understand what he meant.
When in the temple Jesus took time to listen to and ask questions of the religious leaders. He was getting a sense of what was the religious climate he was going to challenge in the final years of his life. From these first conversations with the Rabbis he made an impression.
Jesus was well-rounded
Luke 2:52 (NLT)
52 Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.
Admittedly, this is one of my favorite verses. It meant so much to me when I studied it as a Navigator some 25 + years ago. In 16 simple words it tells a great story. From the time of the temple event until Jesus was baptized this is all we know about him. One simple verse tells us that Jesus:
Grew in wisdom – he learned about the world around him; he was smart.
Grew in stature – he grew physically, an obvious one, but nonetheless he grew in a physical world.
Grew in favor with God – He maintained a relationships with God the Father. He was devout and spent time in The Law of Moses and the Prophets. He went to temple and listened to and spoke to rabbis.
Grew in favor with all the people – He was a social being. Jesus was not a monk studying his scriptures in a little room awaiting the first day of his ministry. His ministry was to be with and for people and he spent time to grow in favor with all the people.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our children could do as Jesus did during those teen and young adult years? Wouldn’t it be great if we could say that they grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and all the people?
How to make it happen
Now I am assuming if you have read this far you want to know how to raise your children the way Jesus was raised. The answer lies in the very first verse we quoted today:
Luke 2:41 – 43a (NLT)
41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. 42 When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual.
Mary and Joseph taught Jesus about devotion to God. They brought him to the temple. They showed him to respect the scriptures and teachers. They trusted him and provided opportunities for him to grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and all men. My prayer for you is that you will be empowered through God’s love to be able to do the same with your kids.