RAISING JESUS – 1 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson
We are in our series on the life of Christ from all 4 gospels and today we are in Luke 2 for our miniseries titled – “RAISING JESUS.” Ever wonder what it was like for Joseph and Mary to raise Jesus! You can’t say to him “when I was your age…” because He was the “Ancient of Days.” You can’t say to him “I brought you into this world and I can take you out” because “all things were made through Him.” But let’s not forget that He was every bit a human child who had to learn obedience. There are some valuable lessons in this passage for parents and children.
Luke 2:39-40 39 So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. 40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
Overall Background: When we think of the childhood years of Jesus, we have a somewhat romanticized and idealized picture in mind. We imagine this small quaint town of Nazareth where everybody knows your name. We can see Jesus as a little boy working in the carpentry shop with his earthly father Joseph. We see His mother Mary fetching water, cooking, and taking care of the household. It all seems so beautiful and perfect. The problem is that some of this “perfect childhood/family” imagery has come to us from paintings and movies but in reality it was anything but perfect—
- 3 times this family had been uprooted in the past 3-4 years: first, when they had to leave Nazareth and move to Bethlehem because Caesar Augustus had ordered a census; second time, when they had to flee at night to Egypt because King Herod had ordered the death of the newborn baby; then when they got news that King Herod had died, they were ready to head back to Bethlehem, but they couldn’t – Archelaus who was crazier than his father Herod was ruling over Judea. So they had to change course and come to Nazareth. If your family has been going through ups and downs lately, Jesus understands. He knows what it means to have your world turned upside down. He knows what it means to live out of boxes.
- Moving to Nazareth was not their top choice. The people of Nazareth had not forgotten that Mary had a child out of wedlock and maybe Joseph was the daddy or maybe not. If you remember when Jesus came to teach in the synagogue in Nazareth, in Matthew 13:55 they said, “Is this not the carpenter’s son? (They did not even deem it worthy to use Joseph’s name.) Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” 57 So they were offended at Him…58 Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief. Mark 6:6 even adds, “And He (Jesus) marveled because of their unbelief.” Keep in mind that all this was when Jesus was 30 years old. You can imagine what it was like when he was just 3 or 13. Some of you said – “Once I leave this town, I’m never coming back.” Oops! Guess what? Jesus understands. He had to come back to his hometown and face the same people.
- Those two points are external. How about internal? Jesus was not Joseph’s son. Joseph knew that and Mary knew that. How do you think it affected their daily lives? Do you think there was ever any tension in that home? Are you in a situation where you are a step mom or stepdad or stepchild or a blended family? Guess what? Jesus understands. He came from a blended family.
Some of us have the wrong idea that because we did not grow up in a perfect family that we are scarred for life. Some of us have the wrong idea that we have to be a perfect family in order to be a godly family. Nothing could be further from the truth. What God is looking for is a family that is willing to surrender to Him, willing to obey Him, and willing to let His grace work in their lives.
Application: Are you a parent this morning? Do you need God’s grace in your family? Children – Do you want God’s hand upon your life? You say – “I don’t have children or my children are grown.” Do you care about the future of our church and our nation? Do you care about what’s happening in our world as we speak?
This morning we will see what are 3 things that every child needs:
I. STRONG CHARACTER
40 And the Child (Jesus) grew and became strong in spirit, (Some manuscripts and translations don’t include the word “spirit” but from my studies it is original.
Background: Let’s look at the words carefully – The word for growth is “auxano,” which means physical growth. Jesus grew physically strong but the end result was not just that He was big and bad but that He became strong in spirit. He was strengthened in spirit. This is not the Holy Spirit just His own spirit. Romans 8:16 “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Every child/person is body and spirit. We can see the body the material but we can’t see the spirit the immaterial. Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. This is the nerve center, core, heart, and command post. It involves the human personality – attitude, demeanor, character, will, and the list goes on. If I can use a battleship analogy – this is not the engine room but the bridge where the Captain and chief officers make critical decisions.
Listen carefully – the bridge in your child’s life has to be developed and developed early. It doesn’t just happen. If you don’t make an effort, their spirit will grow but in a way you will regret. There is a small window of opportunity where their spirit can be molded and once that time is past, it is next to impossible to change that spirit. Habits set in, attitudes get stuck, and behavior is determined.
What is the purpose of the sports program? The ultimate goal of all these activities is to strengthen their character. For some kids it’s sports and for others its music or arts or outdoors. You know your child’s bent. Parents – it takes time, effort, and sacrifice.
Let me caution: It’s not just to keep them occupied. It’s not to live vicariously through our children. It’s not just because the neighbors kids and the cousins kids are playing and you don’t want your children to be left out. It is to strengthen their character. It means if your child is sitting on the bench longer than someone else’s child, it’s not fair but don’t get upset. He’s learning patience. She’s learning the importance of treating others fairly. With the same token – don’t make your child play on and on and on while other children are sitting on the bench. You are teaching your child that the world revolves around them. They will take that attitude in the workplace and get fired. They will take that attitude in their marriage and get divorced.
The tragedy with kids in America is that we are either doing nothing with them or we are doing everything for them but for the wrong reasons.
Jesus grew and became strong in spirit. Do you think it came handy when he had to lead 12 men with 12 different personalities and strengths and weaknesses? Do you think it came handy He had to stand up to the scribes and the Pharisees? Do you think it came handy on the night that he was betrayed and all his disciples deserted him?
Application: What are you doing with your children that is building character in them? What are doing with your children that is strengthening their spirit? Do you pray for their spirit? Listen to Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in Ephesians 3 14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,
II. WISE DECISIONS
filled with wisdom;
Background: The word for wisdom is σοφίας. It carries with it the same concept of wisdom found in the Old Testament, especially in the book of Proverbs. If you read Matthew 6 Jesus knew about Solomon. What did Solomon say about wisdom? Listen to Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. We don’t have time to go into each of these words. Let’s just look at wisdom. It comes from the Hebrew word hokma which means masterful understanding, skill or expertise. In olden days people were skilled in art, in government, in war. In this context it’s referring to – the skill of living. There are people who are tearing up their marriages, ruining their children, destroying their relationships and jeopardizing their career because they don’t have wisdom (skill in living) or understanding (a sense of discernment).
Where does this wisdom come from? It comes through the fear of the Lord. It does not mean the “fright of God” and neither does it mean the “reverence of God.” It simply means putting God first in every situation of life. It means asking yourself – “What does God want me to do in this situation?” “How does He want me to handle this problem?”
Whose responsibility is it to teach this wisdom? Proverbs 1:8 “My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother.” In the training of a child both the father and the mother are essential. But – did you notice who is the chief spokesman or the primary instructor? It is the father. In our society we have turned over this privilege and right and responsibility to the school, the government, the entertainment industry, the friends, the neighbors, and even the church. I can hear someone say – “I guess they don’t have a chance then cause we’re pretty messed up.” When you mess up what a great opportunity go to your son to your daughter and say, “I’m sorry.” What a great opportunity to teach them the value of asking forgiveness and giving forgiveness.
And don’t think your children will always listen attentively when you give them this wisdom.
For e.g. Did you hear about the teenage boy who told his parents that from today he was a man? They didn’t know what to do. They had a friend up in Alaska who told them to bring him up there. They had a MAN INITIATION CEREMONY. When they got there, they told him that he had to do two things: Skin a bear and kiss an Eskimo woman on the lips. Before they could repeat, he ran out. A day later he walks in with clothes all torn, ear bit off, and scratches all over his face. “Where’s that Eskimo woman you want me to skin?”
Application: Parents – “Are you giving your children wisdom (Skill in living) for their lives?” Children – “Are you listening do your parents?” This book is the wisdom of God. Are you reading it? Are you teaching your children to read this book? Where are they looking for wisdom?
III. GOD’S GRACE
and the grace of God was upon Him.
Background: The word for grace is χάρις which means favor and special blessing. What does that mean? It has the imagery of someone stronger coming to help someone weaker. Let me illustrate – sometime back I was with Josh and you’re going somewhere and just then we saw this car on the side of the road, smoke coming out from under the hood. Maybe some of us have been there. We said let’s go help the guy. We pulled up and asked the man if we could help. You could see the discouragement in his eyes – “I’m trying to get to the college and take my exam. I can’t miss this one.” So we gave him a ride. We didn’t have to help him. We didn’t owe him anything. It was an act of grace.
To have God’s grace upon us means God doesn’t have to do anything for us but he does it anyway. He helps us. He picks us up. He gives us the push we need. He gives us the hand up that we need. He opens doors for us. He closes some doors for us. That’s all because of His grace upon us.
Your child’s greatest need is not another program, another sport, another activity, another game, another dress, or another pair of shoes. Their greatest need is to have God’s grace upon their lives.
Here’s the formula to activate God’s grace in your child’s life – 2 Corinthians 12 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Let me ask you fundamental question: Does your son or daughter know Jesus Christ as their Savior? I didn’t ask you if you take him to church. I didn’t ask you if she is in a youth group. I’m asking you is he or she saved. Here’s a better question: are you saved? Do you know Jesus as your Savior? If not, you are negating with your life on the positives you are doing for your child. Today’s the day of salvation.