“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
I am going to not succumb to the temptation to talk about the New Year. After all, each day is a new day and we are called to rejoice and be glad in it. For this is the day the Lord has made. Rather, I want to look at this simple statement in Luke's Gospel about Jesus.
Read it over several times. Stop after each reading and reflect about the impact that Luke is making in this simple statement about Jesus. Luke has recorded the stories of John the Baptist and his birth to Zechariah and Elizabeth. He has told of the angel's visit to Mary, the trip to Bethlehem, the birth and presentation in the Temple. Then there are 12 years of silence and we find Jesus in Jerusalem with his parents. Now as they are on their way back to Nazareth, Luke sums up the early life of Jesus with this simple statement.
For me the key word in this verse is grew. We become concerned when things don't grow (except for our waistlines). We concentrate on making sure our children have the proper nutrition, etc. We want to make sure they have the best opportunities for growth. In some parts of the world parents sacrifice almost anything in order for their children to have a good education. They want their children to grow and become leaders in the communities and nations they are a part of. Parents go without in order for the children to grow...to get an education.
I also see Jesus growing in two directions: with God and with man. He learns the Bible stories. He attends, faithfully, the synagogue and reads the treasured text of the history of God and Israel and the world. But he also learns about the world. He draws his parables from life around him. Images of tiny seeds that grow into big trees. From weeds that come and choke out the good seeds and keep them from growing. He knows what it means to have a shallow foundation and roots that sink deep into the soil. He has the knowledge of family and relationships. He grows in all aspects. He is a well-rounded person, growing in wisdom and stature, of men and of God.|
This verse is a challenge to us to make sure that there are opportunities for growth. We need to be sure that we are prepared to tell the stories of our history – God's and ours (how many of us really know the history of FBC/MLT and can tell it if we are asked?). How well do we know the stories of the Bible so that we can tell them to our children and our children's children?
How are we growing? Are we discovering new ideas and insights from the Biblical text and from life? We are called also to grow in wisdom and stature.
Growth only comes when we expose ourselves to the world around us and to the stories of faith. Join with me to read the Bible in 2008 – to hear again the stories of our history and to help us as we write the continuing story of FBC/MLT growing in wisdom and stature.