(Luke concludes his account of the Christmas Story with a couple of sightings from Jesus’ childhood – grace and favour were upon him.)
When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him …
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. (verses 39-40, 52)
There is great mystery in “the Word become flesh,” so much so that we simply cannot press into all its corners and details. But here we see that Jesus experienced what we, too, experience – growth. While ours can go awry, heading in unhelpful directions, or, at best, starting with imperfection and moving closer to true, Jesus experienced to the full what Paul describes for the Spirit-filled life: growth “from one degree of glory to another.”
“Wisdom” features prominently in this growth, being that “skill-for-living” which finds its beginnings rooted in the “fear of the Lord.” Clearly, Jesus had this orientation. His eyes, from early days, were filled with the Father. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house” (verse 49), he says to his mother, stating this foundational commitment of his life. Hence, the growth in wisdom, even from early consciousness.
Clearly, too, the orientation of the Father was toward the Son, for “the grace of God was upon him.” Their eyes were constantly on one another, the mutual commitment of Father and Son lived out moment by moment, in time, as in eternity.
I am reminded again of Paul’s affirmation, that I am “in Christ.” As such, Jesus desires that I, too, be caught up in the very growth he himself experienced.Eyes focused on the Father, knowing the Father’s eyes on me. Rooting my life in “fear of the Lord” so that wisdom may grow. Living consciously in the grace and favour of the Father, won for me by Christ.
Lord Jesus, you grew in stature and wisdom, thriving in the Father’s grace and favour. I want to step more fully into that same experience this day. Thank you that I am in you. Keep my eyes focused on the Father. Keep my eyes focused on you. By the power of your Spirit. Amen.
Reflect: As you, too, seek to grow in the Lord, where do you most need a fresh filling of wisdom at the moment? What circumstances or needs cry out for “skill-for-living”?