Description: This unique story is the only one capturing Jesus as a child. During His entry into manhood, Jesus travels to the Temple with His parents for Passover. He learns to obey His parents and learns from the Scribes and Teachers.
Keywords: Gospel, Jesus, God, Luke, narrative, Son of God, Bible, Sermon, Bible Fellowship Church, BFC, Whitehall, Northern Lehigh
Date: January 03, 2016
Speaker: Pastor Tim
Scripture: Luke 2:39-52
Video: Watch this Sermon
Audio: Listen to this Sermon (time 47:22)
Notes: Read Sermon Notes
Transcript (new way)
1 “Jesus’ Humanity” (Luke 2:39-52) CLARENCE REHRIG: “And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. “Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. “After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.’ “And he said to them, ‘Why were you looking for 2 me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” May God bless the reading of his word. PASTOR SCHMOYER: All right. Parents, I’m excited to share the story with you as a parent and you’re a parent, I’m excited to show you the childhood of Jesus. I’m excited to show you this because I want you to be more aware of your own children’s abilities, natural tendencies, and, let’s be honest, deficits. They’re children. They’re growing, they’re maturing. And so, parents, I’m excited to share this with you for that reason. I’m also very excited, parents, that we might see how parenting God must have been. All right? That would be a very tense situation I’m sure, for when we’re trying our best as parents, and here’s this kid that knows far more and far better than we do. And so I want to encourage you as well that even parenting God, Mary and Joseph and Jesus all had worries, all had headaches, and even had clashes. So there’s hope 3 for us in our parenting. Okay? If Jesus and his parents had some tensions, then that means that we can kind of negotiate through those timid waters and those scary situations. Kids, I’m just super-excited for you. All right? I’m excited for you because you’re going to get to see God in your shoes, God in the situation that you’re facing. All right? In this awkward stage of being an adolescent, preadolescent, Jesus being 12 years old, and in this portion of scripture we’re going to see Jesus going through those awkward and clumsy stages of being a preteen and being a teenager and just being misunderstood by your parents. Teenagers, do you ever feel that way? Yes. Okay. Okay, so we’re being awkward and tense right now as well. Maybe I’m being understood in my question. Do you ever feel misunderstood? All right. Well, Jesus and his parents both felt misunderstood by one another, and I’m hopeful that when we see this family, that our families will be changed, our families will be encouraged, and as we see this family navigating adolescence and the growing up of the children, that we’ll all be encouraged. Some doctrine. Okay? Jesus is God, and we’ve been banging that drum since the beginning of time. 4 All right, Jesus is God, and so we know that from the book of Luke. What did the angel Gabriel say to Mary? And, therefore, this child shall be called what? The Son of the Most High, the Son of God. And so he is; he’s God, he’s fully God. But today what we’re going to really see is while he’s fully God, he’s also fully human. And imagine as a young child grows up — we joked about being laid in a manger, being helpless, being wrapped in swaddling clothes, being totally dependent on your parents; and today there’s this middle point where he’s a teenager. He’s kind of almost an adult, but he’s still a kid. He still has communication issues, he still has to talk more with his parents as all teenagers do; and as parents of teenagers we need to talk to our kids. And so Jesus is growing. I’ve spent all week trying to wrap my head around this. How does God grow? Both at the beginning of our text and at the end of our text it says Jesus increased. Jesus increased in wisdom. What does it look like for God to grow in wisdom when he’s fully man just as much as he’s fully God? And we’ll unpack all of these ideas and tensions and curiosities as we go through today’s passage. Jesus is fully God and fully 5 man. The church has always said this from the dawn of its creation and inception, the four gospels all echo this point. He’s both God and man a hundred percent. He’s not a mishmash, he’s not sometimes God and sometimes man; he’s always both a hundred percent. He’s not half God and half man; he’s a hundred percent both. We catalyze this in the year 325 with the Nicene Creed, and up on the screen we’re going to show this. “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, light of lights, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father … who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man; he suffered, and on the third day he rose again …” Let’s just zero in on that so you can see that a little better. Go to the next slide, and we’ll see just the important pieces for today’s topic. So “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, very God of very God.” See, Christians from 2,000 years ago and Christians today, to believe in the Christian faith is to believe what’s underlined there, that Jesus is God of very God. One of the things that I clipped out to 6 increase the font size, it said he’s of one substance and equal with the Father. Everything God the Father is, God the Son is that as well. The only difference is they’re two people with two functions, but they are both a hundred percent God, as well as then the Holy Spirit is the third of that trinity. They’re all a hundred percent very God of very God. But then notice at the very end of what I have on the screen, he was incarnate and he was made man. So he’s not playing the part, he’s not pretending; he is man. God became man. This is what the angel announced to Mary: that the power of the Most High will overshadow you, that the Holy Spirit will come down upon you, so that the offspring will be called the Son of God. We read in the beginning of our worship time John chapter 1 where it says “In the beginning the Word was with God, the Word was God,” and then in verse 14 of the same chapter John says, “the Word became flesh.” He didn’t wrap himself in flesh, he didn’t enter flesh; he became flesh. So the scripture and the creed and our beliefs today, Jesus is both God and man. How can this be? How can he be fully God and 7 fully man? Well, that’s your devotional time this afternoon, friends; that’s for you and God to pray about, to devote your attention to. But all of these scriptures shout this truth: the Word became flesh; Jesus is a hundred percent God and a hundred percent man. And today we see his humanity. So you will need two things as we get rolling in the passage. You’ll need your sermon notes on the green sheet, and you’ll need your connection card as we walk through it together. Luke is interesting because Luke is the only one of the gospel writers that records any story of Jesus’ childhood. Matthew records his birth as well as Luke. John speaks theoretically and philosophically about Jesus’ incarnation and birth. Mark doesn’t really do anything with it. Mark kind of picks up right with Jesus’ public ministry. But this is the only of the four gospels that talks about Jesus being a kid. And so for you kids, especially pay attention; listen, hear what God is going to do. Teenagers especially pay attention. And then parents, as you’re parenting your kids, pick up some of the things that we’re going to talk about today. I’m excited to see what we’ll cover. Jesus grows in three ways in this passage. He 8 grows physically, he grows in wisdom, and he grows in spirit; and I just want to unpack what that looks like for God to grow in these areas. Basically what we’re coming to is the fact that God humiliates himself, steps down out of his high, lofty position in order that he might relate with you. He’s experienced every heartache and every joy, every tension, every awkward moment that you’ve ever experienced. He did it without sinning, and so that gives us some power. Okay? Just because I face this doesn’t mean I have to lash out; just because I experience this doesn’t mean I have to go with the way the whole world goes. Jesus went through this, and I don’t need to lash out in ways that are sinful and negative. What does it look like for God to grow physically? Look in your passage in verse 39 of chapter 2. We see here that when they had performed this dedication, what we covered last week, they returned into Galilee and into their own town of Nazareth. Do you remember back at the beginning of chapter 2, why did they have to leave Nazareth? This is group interaction time. Why did they have to leave Nazareth to begin with? Because of the census. Okay? And so 9 Caesar Augustus all the way over in Rome told them here in Nazareth, Every one of you go to your hometown, the town of your ancestors, so we can count you all and take census of all of you; and so they had to leave Nazareth to go to Bethlehem. Now they’re finally, after being counted, after giving birth to Jesus, now they’re returning to their hometown. Jesus, in verse 39, grows up in Nazareth. All right. As a young boy he’s living life in a very plain, ordinary village. There’s nothing to speak of when it comes to Nazareth. In fact, don’t the Pharisees and Sadducees tease him about this. When they find out Jesus is from Nazareth, what is their response? Well, what good can come out of Nazareth? Okay. And I say to them, hey, my parents were born in Nazareth. All right. I wasn’t. I was born in Bethlehem. I’ll let you mill on that. I was born in Bethlehem. Verse 40. Here we see, okay, he grows. “The child grew and he became strong.” This word strong speaks of his size; that he’s buffing up, that he’s getting stronger. That he’s not a little sissy kid; he’s gaining bulk, he’s gaining muscle. What did all the young boys do back in those days? They would follow their dad off to work; they’d start doing what 10 their dad did, their dad would apprentice them. And what was Joseph, what was his career? He was a carpenter. That word carpenter could mean woodworker. It can also mean construction worker. And so Jesus is growing up on the site with Dad, the work site with Dad. He’s hanging drywall, he’s putting on roofs, he’s putting up, you know, studs and beams; and he’s working, he’s gaining muscle with his dad. They didn’t have drywall back then just so you know. Anyway, he was doing that kind of labor, and he’s beefing up; he’s becoming strong, he’s increasing in size. What does it look like for the omnipotent, all-powerful God to grow in size? Did you ever when you were a kid think about this? Could God make a rock so heavy he couldn’t lift it? And my answer always was yes, he could, and then he would figure out a way to lift it. I mean so God can both create and figure out how to manhandle that thing. But here Jesus is growing. He’s changing from a baby infant into a young man, and he’s right at the cusp of entering adolescence, puberty; and he’s gaining muscle, he’s growing in size. Verse 52, he increases in stature. This doesn’t speak of his size, 11 it speaks of his height; that he grew up, he became tall, that he’s becoming a man. Verse 42 now says that he joins his parents in their custom of going to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. And so Jesus begins one of these very important rites of passage. You can remember some of your rites of passage. Do you remember when you got your library card? And so in first grade I remember walking to the Whitehall Public Library from Gockley School, and all of us kids, first-graders, got a library card. And what are they saying to you by giving you a library card? We’re going to see if you’re responsible. This is what all rites of passage are all about: Are you responsible? We’re going to let you on New Year’s Eve stay up till midnight with us. Remember the little kids are all tucked into bed, but you’re the big kid now and you can stay up with us to midnight. My son just had one rite of passage this week. All the girls were away, they were all having fun with visiting a friend, Rachel and all of my daughters, and Nathaniel stayed home with me, and he saw — and you’ll all have words with me afterwards — he saw his first PG-13 movie, Star Wars. There’s no romance and 12 there’s no language; it’s just kind of robot violence. But we saw his first rite of passage, right, a PG-13 movie. This kid is growing up, he’s becoming a man. And I just wanted to publicly affirm this guy. Here he is in a pinch, he’s running the projector today. He’s never done that before and just right on the spot. I think he did pretty well I guess. He’s tracking with me right now. So way to go, little man. You’re growing. And so these rites of passage, right, into maturity. Some of you teenagers just got your driver’s license, and you’re learning what it is . . . your parents are trusting you to go driving on your own and be your own person. The teenage years are very awkward, very awkward, because you’re still a kid and you can’t do everything, but you feel like you’re growing up and you want to do everything. All right. Physically you’re not quite a man, a woman yet, and mentally you’re not quite there yet but you feel like you are, wisdom you’re not quite there yet but you think you are, and this is this tense period. Jesus went through that period of time, that tension where here he is in Jerusalem, and he stays behind, right? He stays with the teachers when his parents leave. And I love verse 44, because it is 13 after all the parents’ fault. “The parents supposed him that he was in the group, and they went a whole day’s journey and then they began searching for him.” They give the boy a little bit of freedom with this new rite of passage, a little bit of freedom, and what does this kid do with it? He’s a kid after all. He doesn’t stay with the group; he thinks he can run off and be his own man. And the world is a dangerous place. Don’t you parents feel that, that this world is a dangerous place? What day was it? On New Year’s Eve, whatever day that was. Wednesday was it? Thursday, whatever day it was. We went to the Peeps Fest in Bethlehem. Rachel ran the 5K, the best time she’s ever done. I’m proud of that girl. And so I was watching the kids while she was doing her run, and of course they’re all filled with peeps. So what do kids do when they’re filled with sugar? They’re running in every direction. And Evelyn especially, she just always wants to be the leader of the pack, and she’s always off on her own, on up ahead of us, and I’m always calling her to come back. And why does Papa always do that? You don’t know what strangers do. What do we teach our little kids? Stranger danger. And here this 12-year-old kid is in Jerusalem, 14 the capital of the world as far as the Jew is concerned, and Mom and Dad are a day’s journey away. Imagine that tension, imagine. And they suppose, and so it is kind of the parents’ fault I think. Verse 44, the parents suppose that he was in the group. Maybe he was with Uncle Richard, maybe he was with Aunt Betsy, maybe he was with some friends from Nazareth, and they just suppose that he’s with the group. It’s kind of like here at church where one of the rites of passage is sometimes we let our kids sit with their friend instead of sitting with Mom and Dad, and then you kind of look over and they’re not there. Where are they, why are they not there? And right now I’m looking over for Nathaniel, but he’s up there. I know he’s up there. Jesus is growing through this awkward point of puberty, of adolescence. All right. He gets to join in the group activity, he’s growing up. Just imagine the biology that’s happening to our God. God for the first time understands the weirdness of teenage life. He’s getting a bit taller, his voice is getting a bit deeper, his beard is starting to bud. Imagine what puberty looks like for God, all the awkwardness, all the confidence issues; that we don’t feel quite 15 confident but we do feel confident. And what do we always say about teenagers? They think they’re invincible. So Jesus is going through all of these tensions as well. He is fully man as much as he is fully God. Here in this passage we hit a universal marker of adolescence; the miscommunication with parents. Teenagers, is that a part of teenage life, miscommunicating with parents? They don’t understand where I’m coming from, I don’t understand where they’re coming from; do you feel that ever? Hinder back to those years if you would. In verse 44 the parents suppose, they suppose that he’s in the group. Now they go looking for him. Look in verse 48. “When the parents finally saw him they were astonished, and the mother said to him, Son, why have you treated us this way? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress. Don’t you understand how we feel?” And of course Joseph should have stepped up. Now, Mary, he’s just a boy. Right? But Joseph doesn’t do that. Mom is doing all the talking. Don’t you understand how we feel? And the answer — parents, now listen. The answer, for Jesus and for your kid, the answer is no. 16 Teenagers don’t understand how parents feel. They’re not parents yet. I remember having conversations with my parents when I was a teenager, and I didn’t understand how they felt, but now I do understand completely how they felt. Jesus wasn’t there yet. In other words, the God of the universe, the almighty and all-wise, comes down, becomes human, lowers himself, and puts his wisdom on mute so that he can experience all of human experience. Imagine God delighting in learning how to walk. Imagine God learning how to walk to Jerusalem for the first time ever to celebrate his Passover. Imagine God experiencing that and on the road to Jerusalem feeling, I know in 30 years I’m going to walk this road and it’s going to feel a little different. Imagine our God experiencing things for the first time and experiencing adolescence and the awkwardness and learning how to relate to his parents and experiencing the miscommunications that all of us felt when we were teenagers. And parents, your teens feel that way that you felt when you were a teenager, so God help all of you. And I’m just about at the cusp of it, Nathaniel, right? We’re just about to go through that together, buddy. I’m excited. To teach the kid to shave, to teach the kid what it’s like to 17 love a woman the right way. I’m excited. Imagine Jesus discovering girls. I don’t want to be weird about this, but listen, he went through everything we went through, yet without sin. Hebrews 4 verse 15, he has gone everything you’ve gone through, yet without sin, and Jesus for the first time as a teen discovering girls. Parents, I want to encourage you on this. Okay? Parents, I want to encourage you, do not ever confuse the immaturity of your kid with rebellion. They’re not the same thing. Don’t ever confuse ignorance with disobedience. Those two things aren’t the same. Don’t ever confuse childishness with defiance. Those are different. Here Jesus is being childish. He is not considering the thoughts and the feelings of his frantic parents. This does not mean Jesus was rebellious, it doesn’t mean he was disobedient. They never gave him the command: now stick with your mom and your dad. All right? They assumed, verse 44, they assumed. And so teenagers are going to be free because Mom and Dad are just assuming. All right? Don’t confuse immaturity with rebellion. Jesus is not rebellious, but he is immature; that is, he is not considering the feelings of his parents. That’s 18 not sin, I wanted to tell you that, because Jesus did that. He did not think of his parents. He was so busy, so enthralled. It was his first time in Jerusalem, he’s actually doing what he came to earth to do. He’s been waiting 12 years to interact with all these teachers. These questionings of verse 45 and 46, these question-and-answer sessions go a whole lot different 20 years later. Remember Jesus as an adult starts asking questions and being asked questions by the Pharisees and Sadducees. When he’s a kid they think it’s amazing. When he’s an adult they want to crucify him. So imagine Jesus knowing all of this and feeling this is my one shot, let me get it in when I’m 12 years old, and he’s interacting. That’s all he’s thinking about; all he’s thinking about is himself. That’s not a sin until it becomes rebellion, disobedience, defiance, and Jesus is not there; but Jesus is being an adolescent kid. And so, parents, navigate those waters with your kids well. Don’t presume that they’re disobeying you just because they can’t read your mind. And I do that all the time; I do that all the time. I expect that my kids are going to do this because that’s what I would do. But they’re kids and they haven’t 19 experienced the extra 20 years that I’ve experienced, and so of course they’re not going to do what I would have done. Of course they’re not going to pick up the Kix from the kitchen table; they’re just going to let it lie because it’s going to get swept up. Well, who does it get swept up by? By the grownups that are mature and will think of those things. In Jesus’ adolescence he made one important decision. Now, kids, listen. In Jesus’ physical growth, in his adolescence, he made one decision that will change your life, kids. Verse 51. “When he went down with them, they came to Nazareth, and he was submissive to his parents. His mother treasured up all these things in her heart.” Teenagers, you have one decision that you get to make: Am I going to discard all of the experience and wisdom of my parents? Am I going to treat them as if they knew nothing? They’ve never been in my shoes, they don’t know what I’m going through. And are you going to believe and swallow the lie of the world, because that’s what that is, or are you going to trust that while your parents might not have been in the particular circumstance — there wasn’t internet when they were kids — but I’m going to decide in my heart, I think they know what they’re talking about. I’m 20 going to entrust myself to them; I’m going to listen to the words that they have to say; and as I grow as an adult, as I learn to grow from childhood to adulthood, yes, I’m going to learn to start making my own choices, but I’m going to make my own choices from the pool of wisdom that they provided for me. Let’s not run away to this place of I’m just going to make up my own whole life because those idiots don’t know what they’re talking about. Oh, friends, Mama Mary and Papa Joseph knew nothing of life compared to what Jesus already knew, but he suspended his pride — and it’s right for Jesus to be proud. He is God. He suspended his pride to submit to them. And if the God of the universe can do that with his earthly parents, guys, we got a lot of listening to do, we got a lot of life experience to glean. You can repeat your parents’ mistakes or you can learn from them. Just one observation. As I was getting older — my parents were fairly good kids when they were kids, fairly good young adults when they were young adults. And I’m pretty sure my parents never did drugs. But on TV and all my friends at school were always talking about, well, my parents did drugs, so why can’t I do drugs? They experimented, why can’t I experiment? 21 And as the kid of the parents that never did all that, I just reflected on that. If my parents would have, would I have entered into the folly that they entered into or would I have listened to them. Listen, I ruined my life with this, so you don’t ruin your life with this. All right? Learn from the wisdom of your parents. It’s not drugs, it’s not sex, it’s not all these things; it’s every life experience. I don’t want to repeat the mistakes my parents made, and I don’t want my kids to repeat the mistakes I made, so I want to learn from my parents because I want my kids to learn from me. I want to glean from their experience because I want my kids to glean from my experience. I want them to pass it down to me so I can pass it down to my kids. See, that’s maturity, that’s growth, that’s wisdom. And before we get to Jesus growing in wisdom, he decided to submit, and I just wanted to encourage you with that. And one last thing about this growing physically. As a kid, as a teen, as an adult, as an older adult, we’re all all the time, almost always going through physical changes; at all times in our life we’re always going through physical changes. So no matter what your stage of life is, we need to all decide, I’m 22 going to use my stage of life — and this is our connection point: “I will use my stage of life to serve the Lord’s plans and to grow close with him.” Jesus used his adolescence to grow closer with the Lord God. He in his journey to Jerusalem worships his Father, right? This is my Father’s house. Where did you think I would be? Of course I’m going to be in my Father’s house, and he used his adolescence to serve the God of the universe. And friends, if Jesus decided that, let us decide that as well. Now we go on to our second idea, “Jesus Grows in Wisdom.” We see it at the beginning, we see it at the end. Go back to verse 40. Here he is “filled with wisdom,” as a young boy filled with wisdom. In verse 52 at the end of the passage he increases in wisdom. And so that’s some encouragement for all of us. Okay? You might think I know the Bible backwards and forwards, I don’t need to listen to this sermon. Friends, listen, Jesus was filled with wisdom, and then later he increased in wisdom. How does that work? Well, as the network television tells us, those little public service announcements, we never stop learning. This is Jesus. He’s filled with wisdom, but now he grows in wisdom. I want to talk with you about wisdom just momentarily. 23 Jesus growing in wisdom. You know, as the God of the universe, almighty, all-wise, now he comes down and becomes a human, wraps himself in flesh, is a baby, grows up and starts learning how to talk. Imagine the God of the universe, goo-goo, ga-ga. Imagine that. Imagine God learning how to write. He is the Word, but he’s learning how to write. I’m sure he went to Hebrew school and learned how to write the scriptures as all good Hebrew boys did, and I’m sure that he struggled in his studies the way that all the kids did, because he went through everything that we went through. And here in today’s story we see him growing in wisdom, because when Mom and Dad come to him in their distress and they say, What are you doing to us, Son? He says, Didn’t you know I’d be about the things of my Father? I’m in my Father’s house; I’m doing the things that my Father wants. And Mom and Dad’s reaction is they didn’t understand what he was talking about. Jesus not being able to communicate, teenage God not being able to formulate thoughts so that he could pass them on to the people that needed to hear them. Jesus growing in wisdom. This event helps Jesus experience human life more. He’s growing in his experience, he’s growing in wisdom. 24 I want you to go in your Bibles to Proverbs chapter 2. If you don’t want to turn there, just write it down, Proverbs chapter 2 verses 1 through 10. And really all of Proverbs is about wisdom, but this is a beautiful thing about a young boy, a young person. And so I’m going to read it. I want to apply it to Jesus, and then I want to apply it to you. Proverbs chapter 2 verse 1, I’ll read verses 1 through 6. “My son” — and that’s why I bring it up about Jesus. “My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Jesus grew in that way, Jesus inclined his ear in that way. Listen, Jesus had to be taught. Even here in the passage what is he doing? He’s listening to the teachers, and then he’s asking the teachers questions. Jesus grows in his wisdom; he’s open to hearing. And how many of us have closed up our ears? 25 We don’t want to listen, we think we’ve arrived. I don’t need any more of this religion, I’ve arrived at my comfortable place in my faith. And Jesus doesn’t exhibit that at all. Jesus grows; Jesus changes; Jesus gets more information. And so if the God of the universe decides to live his life that way, who are we to not, right? If the all-wise one listens and learns, why can we not listen and learn, why can we not grow? And perhaps for you, you’re saying to yourself, well, how can I grow, how can I learn? And our second connection point is a decision that maybe you want to make as far as growing in your wisdom. “I will intentionally seek wisdom so that my decisions honor God and show care for others.” Jesus in this passage, he was not wise yet because he did not show concern for his parents’ feelings, and he grew in that way and he submitted himself to them, and he respected them and their feelings more. That is a decision of wisdom. That is an act of wisdom, caring for others rather than merely caring for yourself. Jesus here grows in wisdom. We saw Jesus grow physically, we saw him grow mentally in wisdom; and now we see him growing spiritually in his relation with God, in his religious 26 affections, in his spirit Jesus grows. We see it in verse 40 of Luke chapter 2. In Luke chapter 2 verse 40 it says that he had the favor of God on him. That speaks of his spiritual ability and spiritual desire and hunger. In the very end of verse 52 it says he grew in the favor of God. And so in 41 and 52 Jesus is growing in favor with God. We see him also in verse 41 and 42, he’s going to the temple to worship. Jesus is going to church. He’s regular in attendance, he’s submitting himself to the worship gathering and to be with God’s people. That’s an act of his growing in spirit. A lot of people, they say, well, I don’t need church. I heard it just two weeks ago: I don’t need church. I’m a Christian, I love the Lord Jesus; I don’t need to be there. And friends, Jesus decided to be there. Jesus decided to grow in spirit and to be with God’s people and to worship the Lord, and those are things you can’t do on your own. You can listen to a TV preacher; you can listen to Pastor Tim or Pastor Aaron on our website; you can listen to anybody. The world is your oyster. But you can’t be with people in your living room. I mean you can be with two or three people, but you can’t be with God’s people, you can’t assemble with God’s people. 27 You can’t pray with those who need prayer; you can’t encourage those who need a lift up; you can’t weep with those who weep and you can’t rejoice with those who rejoice in your pajamas. You just can’t do that. And so Jesus goes into worship as an act of seeking to grow in spirit. He, verse 46, engages with his teachers. He takes that opportunity to rub shoulders with the wise ones, to seek their wisdom and to learn from them. And friends, we all need to keep learning. I was chastised a little bit when I first started my degree, on seeking out my doctoral degree. And I’m done with all my coursework, I just have to finish up my dissertation. Please keep bugging me about that. It’s easy to go to class; it’s hard to be on your own and write it on your own, so that’s a tension for me. Pray for me and nag me about it. But I was criticized early on, like why — you don’t have time for this. And friends, I want to model for you that everyone keeps learning, everyone seeks wisdom, everyone listens to teachers. The teacher listens to teachers, everyone listens to teachers, and it’s important to interact and engage. If you need me, call me, email me, text me. I’m not almighty, 28 all-wise like the God of the universe; but I’m close to him. I love him, I love his Word, and so interact with me and interact with other teachers of God’s word. We see also Jesus growing in spirit in verse 49. When Mom says, What have you been doing? Why have you not cared about our distress? Jesus’s reply speaks of his growth in spirit. He says this: Oh, Mom, didn’t you know that I’d be about the things of my Father? Didn’t you know I’d be in my Father’s house, didn’t you know I’d be about my Father’s business? All the translations render that differently. But Jesus here is expressing his passion for God and his passion for God’s house. Remember he grows up. Later in John chapter 2, and he’s in the temple and he chases out the money changers with a whip, and what is John, the writer’s reaction to all of this? Well, it was written long, long ago in the Psalms, “Zeal for my Father’s house will consume me.” And so Jesus here, even in this passage, is passionate about his Father’s house. Jesus grows in spirit. I want to encourage you, let 2016 be the year where you grow in spirit, where you tend to this tender soil of your spirit. So one last connection 29 point, maybe God is showing you that you need to kick your spiritual walk up a notch. “I will reclaim my responsibility to accelerate my spiritual growth” in this new year. I will reclaim my responsibility to accelerate my spiritual growth. And you might be wondering, well, Pastor Tim, isn’t spiritual growth up to the Lord and aren’t I just waiting on the Lord to grow in my faith? And my answer is no. Listen to what Paul said. “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you to will and to do his good pleasure,” Philippians chapter 2. He says to you, work out your salvation. He said about God, he is at work in you. And so don’t just wait for God, wait for yourself; go, do it, energize yourself; take action, take the helm, put your spiritual walking into action. You know where you need to grow, you know where you need to give up sin, you know where you need changing. Talk about it and say, God, we’re going to do this this year; we’re going to grow this year. One last parable about Jesus. All you football fans will like this one. I’m a self-admitted atheist when it comes to sports, but this is what I got for you. It’s too good to pass up. You heard this week 30 about our good friend Chip Kelly, right? Someone told me a joke even as we were coming in. Chocolate chip cookies are Chips Ahoy, and so that’s the national cookie of the Eagles. Anyway, this week Eagles coach Chip Kelly was fired as the coach of the Eagles, he was fired by the team’s owner. This is huge in the sports world. I don’t care at all, but I know a lot of you sports people will love this story, and it might help connect the dots to Jesus being a kid. Coach Kelly had a unique role in national football because he was both the coach and the general manager. As a coach he coaches the team members; as general manager he picks the people that are on the team. All right. This is a unique role because in all of football there’s only two coaches that have this position. The guy at the Patriots that I don’t know or care about, but he’s been there for years and years and years and years and he earned that. Chip Kelly, this is his first time ever being a coach, and he gets that role right away. He didn’t earn it, but he’s got that power. He hires all the people and he coaches them, so this is his unique role. With his audacious power — all right? His role as a coach is to live life with his team members, to 31 invest in them personally one on one, to train them on the field but to train them as human beings; to be good dads, to be good husbands, to care for their families; and to invest in them emotionally, spiritually, mentally. He has a lot of abilities, a lot of freedoms as this powerful coach; a lot of power, a lot of ability, a lot of freedom. And so this man decided with his power he was going to stand away from his people, from his players; that they’re in the locker room, I’m in my office. He never rubbed shoulders with them except when they’re on the field. The owner realizes this, sees that the team is struggling, realizes that Chip Kelly isn’t investing in these guys, and the owner fires him. Why? Because he in his pride of his position did not stoop and lower himself to care for the people that he supported, right? Jesus is the complete opposite of Chip Kelly, right? Because Jesus — I don’t know if the guy loves the Lord, I know nothing about his faith. I don’t really care, but it works as an analogy. Because Jesus, although he’s the King of the universe, God of very God, he stoops down, comes down to support us, love us, invest in us, and experience the tensions that we experience. He doesn’t stay up here in his 32 office; he comes down to be with us. This is our God. A lot of people don’t like the incarnation; they can’t wrap their head around why the God of all power would limit his power and restrict himself and humiliate himself. While they don’t understand that and while they don’t like that, I delight in that; because here I am in this flesh in need of direction and help, and my God comes down to live my life, to be with me, to experience all of the joys and sorrows I’ve experienced, and then to speak into my life. This is so important, because all of Jesus’ teaching — well, you can say, well, that’s easy for you to say. You’ve never been in my shoes. Well, no, he was. He lived the life he lived, he lived the life I lived, and he did it; he did it with joy, he did it with love, he did it in perfection. Let’s say a word of prayer. God, your Word is so powerful; it is so life-changing; and we all submit ourselves to you. This is your Word, this is what we delight in. We delight hearing about you; what you’ve done, how you live, what makes you tick. We care about all these things because we need direction for our lives today. And so whether it is about my stage of life and submitting to you and submitting to your plan for my life in my stage of life, help me to 33 accept my stage of life and live life the way you want me to. Whether it’s you showing me right now, I need to grow in my wisdom because I make many foolish decisions and I never learn from my mistakes. Oh, God, would you grow us in our wisdom from your Word, would you radically inspire us to pursue wisdom from reading your Word, from reading especially books like Proverbs, books like James. Lord, we submit ourselves in this way. And, God, growing in spirt. Lord Jesus, you grew in your spirit, and we want to grow in our spirit as well, we want to grow in your Holy Spirit. We want to grow in our abilities to listen to what the Spirit says and then put that into action. So help us in these regards we do pray. Lord, if there’s anyone here that is investigating Christianity; they’ve never made a decision to follow Christ and they’re hearing what Christ Jesus did for them; oh, Lord Jesus, would you get ahold of a heart this morning; would you call someone to follow you wholeheartedly. The scriptures say, friends, that whenever we call on the name of the Lord we will be saved, and let today be that day when you call on the name of the Lord Jesus, believe in 34 what he did for you, going to the cross, dying your death, paying for your sin. Friend, follow him. Rest in what he did and then live the way he did in his strength, not your own. God, as we say a prayer and as we sing a song and as we prepare our hearts to receive your communion, we pray that you would nourish our faith in you, Jesus. We ask this in your name. Amen.