Thursday, February 9, 2017

Get growing!--part 2

The Word for today:
Luke 3:23-4:13
We know that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6)
We also know that Jesus didn't come fully formed; the Bible says that he grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:52)
So we--who are in the process of becoming more like him--should pay close attention to anything that scripture has to say about Jesus' formative years, when the Way was on the way. How did he become the person he would be? Let's take a look at the little we've been given to see:
1. We see him in the Temple among the scripture teachers at age twelve:
When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.(Luke 2:42-46)
2. And we see him in relentless, habitual dependence upon the Holy Spirit as he enters into his adult years and embarks upon his public ministry:
When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." (Luke 3:21-22)
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert. (Luke 4:1)
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. (Luke 4:14)
The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…" (Luke 4:17-18)
The scarcity of information that we have about Jesus' adolescence serves to emphasize that God's Word was his only counsel, and that the Spirit was his only Counselor.
So how did he confine himself to the Word and the guiding presence of God alone?
Listen carefully as he settles--in his own mind and in the hearing of others--the relative priority of his influences:
So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously."
And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"
 (Luke 2:48-49)
And it was told Him by some, who said, "Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You."
But He answered and said to them, "My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it."
 (Luke 8:20-21)
Jesus said unto (his mother, Mary), "Woman, what have I to do with you? My hour has not yet come." (John 2:4)
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26)
And a scribe came up and said to him, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head."
Another of the disciples said to him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." And Jesus said to him, "Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead."
 (Matthew 8:19-22)
Jesus' followers must always remember that these radical scriptures have to be placed in the context of the very loving words that Jesus spoke to these same people! With his dying breath, for example, he arranged for his mother's care. (John 19:26-27)
But any way you slice them, they are cutting remarks. So make no mistake about it. If you really mean business with God, you've got to commandeer your influences. You've got to put your family, your culture, and your past in their places relative to God. You've got to recalculate, reconfigure--and, yes, renounce:
So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:33)
The Bible refers to Jesus as the Bridegroom, and to his followers as the Bride. Long, long ago, in the Bible's opening chapters, God spoke prophetically about this special relationship to come, hinting that it would cost the Bridegroom everything:
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24; see Ephesians 5:31-32)
Jesus left it all behind for you. If you want to grow up to be like Jesus, then go and do the same.

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