Every Christian parent has likely asked the question, “I wonder what it was like to raise Jesus as a child?”
The Gospel of Luke offers a rare glimpse into the childhood of Jesus. He gives the only account of Jesus as a boy, between the time of His birth and His public ministry as a man. We have a fascinating look at Jesus at the age of twelve.
The Bible encourages us to be like Jesus. God’s ultimate goal is to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ. We are to love as He loves, obey as He obeys, and live as He lives.
A common approach to Christianity is to ask, “What would Jesus do?” In other words, when given a situation, it is wise for us to ponder how might Jesus respond or what might He say in the same situation. We are to imagine knowing the character of Jesus what He would do, and respond the same way.
As we read about Jesus at the age of twelve, let’s examine His example, and look for ways we may do as Jesus does. The main idea of the message today is: follow the example of Jesus and faithfully be obedient to God’s call on our life.
Luke’s boyhood account of Jesus tells of the circumstances of his family traveling to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. It is an annual custom for His family.
According to the Law, they only have to attend one feast per year. Furthermore, it is only required that the male of the household has to attend. In other words, it is only necessary that Joseph makes the journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem, and not the entire family.
Jesus belongs to a godly family. They do more than fulfill the necessary requirements of the Law. It is not easy to take the entire family and travel from Nazareth to Jerusalem. There are many costs involved. It requires planning. They can’t sleep in their own bed. They need to where to eat and sleep.
Joseph and Mary willingly go to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover as a family. They are godly people. They worship God from the heart. They want to celebrate God’s deliverance with God’s people every year. It is their custom.
Jesus is unique. Unlike us, Jesus chooses His parents. He chose to live in the household of Joseph and Mary. He identifies that they desire to have a godly family that worships God together. Jesus values having a godly home. He knows it is for His good. Living in a godly home with Joseph and Mary for parents will prepare Him well for His adult ministry.
What about us? Do we value a godly home? We do not choose our parents. However, as adults, we can choose whether or not our home is a godly home.
Let’s not be hasty in saying yes without thinking about the question. We need to answer this question with more than lip service. Do the priorities and agenda of our home reflect a godly pursuit?
Fathers, do you value a godly home? Are you protecting your family from undesirable influences? Are you leading your home with holiness? Are you setting the example of worship? Are you helping to teach your children to understand the Word of God? Are you fathers setting an example for the sons?
Mothers, do you value a godly home? Are you a good helpmate who helps your husband? Are you setting an example of being cheerful about the things of God? Is godliness a priority?
Children, do you complain when your parents make choices to worship God? Do you willingly submit to the sacrifice of getting up early on Sunday mornings? Are you happy when your parents restrict your video games or cell phone use? Do you enjoy obeying your parents?
Is your home a place where salvation is a celebration or is a duty? Is learning about God a joy, or an inconvenience?
WWJD? Jesus values a godly home.
Whether or not we are single, empty-nesters, grandparents, or a home with children, we all need to seek to have a godly home.
As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).
After they leave Jerusalem, Joseph and Mary discover that Jesus is not with the caravan of people who travel together from Nazareth to celebrate the Passover. In those days, it is safer and common for people to travel together.
Joseph and Mary belong to a community of people who are like-minded. They belong to a community who enjoy worshipping God. The caravan of people trusts one another. They share their food. They look after the children as a community.
Jesus values living among a godly community.
It is typical for people of a godly home to be part of a godly community. A godly community is not always the popular or the cool crowd. They are though, favorable. There are great benefits to being a part of a godly community.
Valuing a godly community means belonging. There are no lone-rangers in a godly community. A church is a godly community. It is more than attending Sunday mornings. Valuing a godly community requires taking part in the lives of other Christians.
Godly communities are generous with one another. They share burdens. They are sacrificial for the benefit of all. They pray for one another. Godly communities encourage one another spiritually.
The early church in Acts is a godly community of believers. Being an active member of a church community is part of valuing a godly community.
WWJD? Jesus values being a part of a godly community of believers.
When Joseph and Mary do not find Jesus among the community of believers, they returned to Jerusalem to look for Him. They realize He is missing after traveling for a day. They take a day to travel back and find Jesus on the third day.
Jesus is found in the temple, sitting among teachers, listening and asking questions. All who hear Jesus are amazed at His understanding and answers.
The humanity of Jesus cannot be overly stressed. Jesus is not an omniscient child. We need to understand that Jesus is born with an empty mind. Read verses 40 and 52. Both verses say that Jesus increases in wisdom. That means He makes an effort to study and learn about God, His purpose, and His ways.
As a child, it is likely Joseph and Mary tell Him of the testimony of Gabriel, Zacharias, Simeon, and Anna. Jesus searches the Scriptures to understand who He is as the Messiah. Jesus sees His study of God’s Word as a worthwhile endeavor.
Jesus desires to know God’s view on right and wrong. Jesus trusts God to be right. He knows it is profitable and good to be a student of the Scripture. Jesus asks questions. He is not shy, asking. Learning is important to Him.
We need to ponder this event in our hearts also. Jesus, at the age of twelve years, sits in the center of religious truth, at the Temple in Jerusalem, impressing the teachers with His questions and answers.
Jesus values learning about and knowing God.
Do you value knowing God?
Society if full of lies of what will make us happy, how we will find fulfillment, how the universe came into being. The world is full of deception of knowing God.
In the Garden of Eden, Satan sets out to fill the minds of people with lies. God seeks to save us by giving us the truth. When we set out to know God, by studying His Word, we are reversing the fall.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus is the embodiment of the Word. We get to know the Word of God; we get to know Jesus.
When we value knowing God, we study the Word of God. Unfortunately, we too often know more about this world than we know God.
Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. We value the treasures of our hearts. Our mouth reveals what we value.
There are so many things we learn in life. What is most important is knowing God. When we value knowing God, we know the plan of salvation better than the rules of the game Monopoly. Knowing God is to know more about His redemption with Israel than the history of the Skywalker family in Star Wars. When we value knowing God, we understand the intricacies of the Priesthood of Jesus better than how to succeed in Minecraft. We can recite the blessings of salvation quicker than the bill of rights.
Knowing about God is to know how He works in the universe. The forces of darkness are not overcome by strength, but by weakness, love, and humility. We learn His way that it is better to give than to receive. The more we learn about God, the more we fall in love with Him. Knowing God is to learn about the height, width, depth, and breadth of His love.
WWJD? Jesus values knowing God.
Joseph and Mary find Jesus, and are astonished to see Him sitting in the midst of the teachers in the Temple. Mary is dismayed and asks Jesus why He was not with them. She and Joseph had been anxiously looking for Him.
Mary is dismayed, but Jesus is not at fault. According to their culture, the age of accountability is thirteen, not twelve. Joseph and Mary are responsible for Jesus’ whereabouts. It’s not that He didn’t go with them. The fact is they left Him behind.
Jesus is not disrespectful. He is not sinning. He does not understand why they don’t know where they might find Him. He is where He is supposed to be. He doesn’t understand why they are looking for Him. If they know their child, they should know His calling. Where else would He be, but in His Father’s house?
It is as natural for Jesus to be at the Temple as it is for a cook to be in the kitchen and a carpenter to be in his shop. Jesus is self-aware. He knows His calling. He is obedient to God by preparing for ministry.
Joseph and Mary do not understand His response. It’s not the last time someone will not understand Jesus. When Jesus proclaims He must go to Jerusalem to be crucified, Peter does not understand and tries to correct Him. When Jesus tells heals the lame man by telling him his sins are forgiven, the Pharisees don’t understand. Martha doesn’t understand why Jesus takes so long to arrive in Bethany and was not in time to heal Lazarus.
People don’t always understand Jesus, Jesus knows His calling. He is perfectly obedient to His Father. He is always in the right place at the right time. Jesus remains obedient to God to the point of death, even death on the cross.
Jesus is submissive to His heavenly Father.
Are you submissive to your heavenly Father? We are submissive to our heavenly Father when our decisions and plans are based on God’s word. God is our Master. He is the ultimate authority in our life.
The best way for us to know if this is an area we need to work on is to ask someone who knows us and that we can trust to give us honest answers. Let’s ask our friend, do you think I am striving to live my life in a way that is submissive to God? Does my speech give evidence? Do you see me as a servant of the Lord? What about my character? Do I worship God? Is it evident I trust God’s ways and seek His will in my life?
Let’s allow our friend to answer. Let’s not try to justify ourselves. Instead, thank them, then walk to a prayer closet and ask God to help us be more submissive to His authority.
WWJD? Jesus is submissive to His heavenly Father.
Jesus returns home to Nazareth and continues in subjection to His parents. Jesus is submissive to His earthly authorities because He knows all authority is established by God.
We can measure the submissiveness of Jesus to His heavenly Father by observing how He responds to earthly authority.
Jesus understands God’s established authority of the home and obeys His parents. When Jesus wants to use a boat to sit in while He preaches to the crowd, He asks for permission. Jesus owns everything in this world, but God gave Peter the boat. So, Jesus asks Peter to use the boat. When it comes to paying taxes, Jesus said to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s (Mark 12:17).
When Jesus is before Pilate, Pilate asks Him, “Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?" Jesus replied to Him, "You would have no authority over Me unless it had been given you from God above.” (John 19:10-11).
Jesus is in subjection to earthly authorities because He is obedient to God.
Are you in subjection to your earthly authorities? Listen to what Paul writes to the Romans.
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. All authority that exists is established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God, and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. (Rom 13:1-2)
God establishes authority in every area of life. Citizens are to be submissive to the government authorities (Romans 13:1; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-14). Employees to be submissive to their employer (Colossians 3:22). Children are to be submissive to parents (Colossians 3:20). Wives are to be submissive to their husbands (Genesis 3:16; Ephesians 5:24; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:5-6). All believers are to submit to the authority of church leaders (Hebrews 13:17).
Not only are we to obey authorities, but we need to be very careful not to usurp the authority structure God establishes. Do not step in and interfere or disrupt the authority which God establishes.
WWJD? Jesus obeys the authorities God places in His life.
Before this account at the temple, Luke writes that as a Child in Nazareth Jesus continues to grow and increase in wisdom (Luke 2:40). At the age of twelve, the testimony of Jesus’ faithfulness to His calling continues to progress. After the event at the Temple, Jesus persists with increasing in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and men.
Do we want to be like Jesus? If we do, we need to look to His example. Jesus is faithful to His calling. He keeps His hand to the plow and doesn’t look back.
Jesus is faithful to His calling.
We need to be faithful to our calling. We are to follow the example of Jesus and faithfully obey God’s call on our life.
Obviously, our calling is not the same as Jesus. We are not called to be the Messiah and save the world. But, we are called to pick up our cross daily and follow Jesus.
People often seek to know God’s will for their life and want to know the big picture. We wonder if God will call us to be a missionary or some other ministry vocation. We, too often look at the big, important things while we neglect the small things in life.
Whenever I advise young people who ask about going into full-time ministry, I ask them about how they are faithful to the little things in life.
Do you want to know God’s will for your life? Let’s put aside the big picture and look at the little one. Here are the things we are all called to do. They are little things. Be thankful. Pray. Study the Scripture. Memorize and meditate on God’s word. Be kind. Be humble. Serve others. Share the gospel. Have a godly home. Be a part of a godly community.
Before going to another country as a missionary, prove you are faithful in this culture. If you are not a faithful church member in Plainfield, you won’t be in Pakistan. If you don’t learn how to share the gospel today in Windsor, you won’t share the gospel tomorrow in Korea.
Jesus said those who are faithful in little things are faithful with much (Luke 15:10). He speaks from experience. He learns how to be faithful in the little things as a child.
Faithfulness is an accumulation of being faithful in hundreds of little things. Faithfulness is being Christlike at home, school, work, and where you live. If we are not serving God where we are now, moving overseas as a missionary is not going to change things.
MAIN IDEA: Follow the example of Jesus and faithfully be obedient to God’s call on your life.