|The boy Jesus - Artist unknown|
TO CHEW ON: "And the child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon Him." Luke 2:40
Day eight of Jesus' life brought Joseph and Mary, with Jesus, to the temple in Jerusalem to perform the purification rites for Mary (Leviticus 12:2-8) and present Jesus, their firstborn male, to God (Exodus 13:2).
It was a day of ritual—and surprises when two elderly people came to them at separate times, prophesied over, and blessed Jesus. Mary and Joseph marveled over Simeon's predictions (Luke 2:29-31) and Anna's referring to their baby as a redeemer (Luke 2:38). No doubt Simeon's blessing addendum, about their baby's divisive destiny that would lead to a sword piercing Mary's own soul, was disturbing.
How reassuring to read, then, after all this was over and life settled down again, that Jesus "… grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him."
This verse witnesses to His humanity and his normal development as a child:
- "He grew..." Luke 2:52 tells us He "… increased in wisdom and stature…"
- "...and became strong in spirit..."
- "...filled with wisdom..."
Wayne Gruden reminds us that " … he went through a learning process just as other children do—he learned how to eat, how to talk, how to read and write, and how to be obedient to his parents (see Hebrews 5:8). This ordinary learning process was part of the genuine humanity of Christ" - Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 533.
- "… and the grace of God was upon Him."
Perhaps this "grace" was evident in how life treated Him, how well-liked He was, how easily He learned, how easy He was to get along with. No doubt the qualities of charis (sweetness, charm, loveliness, grace of speech) also emanated from Him.
I love to imagine what Jesus must have been like as a youngster—dark, curly hair, olive skin, lively eyes, with a quick mind and sharp intelligence, full of questions, probably surprising and delighting His parents with funny and wise observations.
Reading how Jesus' childhood turned out, I don't think it's surprising to admit we want something similar for our own children and grandchildren. Let's turn this description of His blessed growing-up years into a prayer for our own little ones.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, as You did, may the little ones in my life grow, become strong in body and spirit, be filled with wisdom and have God's grace upon them in every way. Amen.
MORE: Feast of the Presentation
Today the church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation. The day's liturgy begins with the following Collect:
Almighty and everliving God, we humbly pray that, as your only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts by Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.