Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Jesus—blessed child

The boy Jesus - Artist unknown
The boy Jesus - Artist unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Luke 2-3; Psalm 113

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..." 
The phrase "strong in spirit"  used in the NKJV is not included in all versions. But that very phrase is used of Jesus' relative John the Baptist (Luke 1:80). I like its inclusion. It portrays Him as a physically healthy and spirited, perhaps strong-willed child—in a good way, of course. 
  • "...filled with wisdom..."  
[Sophia: broad and full of intelligence; the varied knowledge of things human and divine, acquired by acuteness and experience, extreme intelligence such as belongs to God.]

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."  
[CharisGoodwill, lovingkindness, favor; that which affords pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness, grace of speech.]

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.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 113

The Bible Project VIDEO: Luke ch. 1-2 (Gospel of Luke mini-series)

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.

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