About Jesus – Infant to a Man

“Jesus returned to Nazareth with them [his mother and father], submitting to their authority. As the years passed, he grew physically and spiritually enjoying the favor with God and the people” (Eyewitness Luke 2:51-52).

Eyewitness: pp. 29,30
In Your Bible: Luke 2:25-52
Little is written about Jesus’ life between his birth and his ministry. Only a few lines of Scripture give us clues about his growing up.

Jesus Did Grow Up Differently

He had greater understanding in his human soul from the start – whereas other children are weak and have little understanding early on.
He was strong in the Spirit of God.
He was filled with wisdom – whereas most children concentrate on play.
Everything he did was wise and wisely said (beyond his years) – whereas other children put themselves at the center of attention.
He was obedient to his parents and worked with his father in the carpentry trade.
His mother did not fully understand his sayings, but kept them in her heart (for later understanding as the Spirit would show her).

Gospel Writer Luke Wants us to Know*

 


Jesus was not a God who lived up in the sky, looking down on human beings, not wanting to get his hands dirty. Through Jesus Christ, God lives among us.

Even when he was a child, many who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his knowledge of spiritual things.

Imagine his excitement about going to the Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus was so intent at learning and asking questions in the Temple, that he didn’t worry about time or being away from his parents. When Mary and Joseph found him three days later, lost from the caravan going home, they were extremely upset. Rightfully so.

However, Jesus didn’t understand their rebuke. “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house” (Luke 2:49)? Note that he said: In his Father’s house – wasn’t that in Nazareth? No, it was here in the Temple in Jerusalem, with his Heavenly Father.

We know Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, was living when Jesus was in the Temple on this occasion. However, once Jesus grew up, Joseph had disappeared. Many Bible scholars believe Joseph probably died when Jesus was between the age of 12 to 30.

The shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept” occurs after Lazarus died. Jesus understood loss – he experienced the death of his father. In many ways, Jesus was just like us.

Jesus came in the flesh not only to show us the Father, but to experience every emotion or temptation we experience.

Overview of Jesus Early Life**

Birth – probably BC 6 or 5
Carried to Egypt – probably 5 BC
Brought to Nazareth – probably 4 BC
Childhood in Nazareth – probably 4 BC to 7 AD
As a boy visits Jerusalem at the Feast of the Passover – probably 7 AD or 8 AD
The 18 adult years in Nazareth – probably 4 BC to 7 AD – 15 AD or 26 AD

Application: What was Jesus like when growing up? I came up with these answers:
He was seeming like us, as a baby but with angels declaring his birth.
He was obedient and dedicated to his parents and to God.
Those who encountered him were amazed at his character and wisdom.
He started doing the work of the Heavenly Father earlier than we realize.

Question for you: What comes to your mind about Jesus when he was growing up?

Prayer: Father, thank you for sending Jesus. The more we know of him, the more we see you face to face.

*Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, In One Volume, Matthew Henry, Regency Reference Library, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1960, pp1419-1420.

**A Harmony of the Gospels, A.T. Robertson, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, Evanston and London, 1922, 1950, pp.9-14.

Angels – God’s Messengers Announce the Messiah

“Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him” (THE MESSAGE Luke 2:13,14).

THE MESSAGE: Luke 2:8-32
In your Bible: Luke 2:8-32

God uses angels as messengers for the amazing events and to proclaim the appearance of Jesus the Christ – the Messiah. The Old Testament shows prophets foretelling Jesus’ coming. The New Testament reveals angels as messengers to guide people to the Messiah.

We’ve read the Christmas story, heard the songs, and know the key characters. I’d like to place special emphasis on how God announced Jesus’ arrival. The Christmas story gives insight into God’s own excitement about the greatest event in history.

The angel Gabriel visits the childless priest Zechariah to announce the coming of John (the Baptizer).

” I am Gabriel, the sentinel of God, sent especially to bring you this glad news. But because he won’t believe me, you’ll be unable to say a word until the day of his son’s birth. Every word I’ve spoken to Zachariah will come true on time – God’s time.” (The Message Luke 1:1-17,19,20). It wasn’t long after this Elizabeth, his wife, conceived.

The angel Gabriel visits Mary to tell her how God embraces her.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name Mary.

Gabriel greated her. Of course she was thoroughly shaken by the angel’s visit and by the message. The angel assured her “Mary you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus”. Mary said to the angel, “But how? I have never slept with a man.” The angel answered, ” The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Highest hover over you” (THE MESSAGE Luke 1:28-35).

God’s angel spoke to Joseph in a dream to comfort him and explained his difficult situation.

“Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth and when she does you, Joseph, will name him Jesus – ‘God saves’ – because he will save people from their sins” (THE MESSAGE Matthew 1:20,21).

An Event for Everyone

An angel appeared to the sheepherders, then a huge angelic choir sang God’s praises.
Not only did an angel bring good news to the sheepherders. A magnificent group of angels couldn’t help but sing joyful praise to the Father for what was happening. Glory!

“There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set their night watches over the sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and said, “Don’t be afraid, I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody worldwide: A savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is the Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger. At once the choir of angel sang God’s praises Glory to God in the heavenly places, peace to all men and women on earth who please him” (THE MESSAGE Luke 2:8-14).

The sheepherders ran to find Mary, Joseph, and the new born baby. Then they told everyone what they’d heard from the angels and seen for themselves.

Application: For me, the importance of the angels struck a new note: they came at God’s appointed time, fear was the first reaction by the ones visited, but the message was one of blessing and definitely something to ponder. What new insights come to you in this season?

Prayer: Father, thank you for Jesus. This year, please teach me something anew from your Word.

Jesus Gives Direction and Authority to Believers

Jesus said, “From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I AM and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it” (THE MESSAGE John 14:13.14).

THE MESSAGE: John 14:11-15: Matthew 28:16-20; Luke 10:3-10
In your Bible: John 14:11-15; Matthew 28:16-20; Luke 10:3-10

This amazing promise may confuse us. But the Eyewitness and The Message make it poignantly clear, the believer can ask God for anything along the lines of who Jesus is and what he does. What gives us that privilege? Because we are in Jesus. That’s a wonderful and powerful thing.

Concept of Asking of God

1. Frank Ball in the Eyewitness, says the “in My Name” phrase is best described as “under my direction and authority” (Eyewitness John 14:13,14).

2. Eugene Peterson’s interpretation shows the magnitude of what Jesus says about asking of God. “From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I AM and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do” (THE MESSAGE John 14:15).

3. These interpretations will likely bring the believer a new understanding of God’s view of asking of him.

Meaning for the Believer

1. Twice before the great commission, Jesus sent out the 12 and the 70 Jesus giving specific direction and authority for what they should do. Jesus told them to “heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cast out evil spirits, and raise the dead” (THE MESSAGE Luke 10:3-10).

2. At the great commission Jesus expanded this charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age” (THE MESSAGE Matthew 28:16-20).

3. This significant direction, includes believers today! It’s the reason the believer can be assured of using Jesus name and authority correctly. Embrace this.

4. Jesus showed this when he said, “I don’t do anything on my own, but asking the Father what to do and say” (THE MESSAGE John 5:19,20). The Father shows and Jesus does. We should do the same.

Application: Believers should seek God’s thoughts and desires in every situation and make our requests according to what we discern he wants. The Son was in constant communication with the Father. Jesus says believers can be also.

Prayer: Father, I want to keep in communication with you all the time, not merely when I ask you for something. I need your direction in all I do. I ask this because I know it’s your will and my need. I know I have authority by being in Jesus. Thank you.

The Parable of the Talents

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The master commended him, “Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner” (THE MESSAGE Matthew 25:21,23).

THE MESSAGE: Matthew 25:14-30
In Your Bible: Matthew 25:14-30

In this parable, the believer should find powerful encouragement to use the talents/gifts God has given him. It also warns us that the believer must develop and use the gifts God chose for him. Biblical scholars** offer added insight about who the third servant could be.

PERSPECTIVE

As the parable goes, the master called three servants and delegated responsibilities according to their abilities and his expectations. In today’s currency he gave one $5,000; to another he gave $2,000; and to another he gave $1,000. Then the master departed.

When the master returned after a long absence, he asked all three servants to give account of what they had done with the money he gave them. The first two told him they doubled the money. As the master heard this, he commended their resourcefulness. He said, “Good work, you did your job well. From now on be my partner” (THE MESSAGE Matthew 25:21,23).

Then the third servant, who was given $1,000, was called to give his account. He couched his response with this shocking view of his master and explained why he did what he did with the money. “Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent” (THE MESSAGE Matthew 25:24,25).

CONCEPT


This displeased the master! Both the servant’s assessment of him and his management approach of what was freely given to him. The master’s comment was markedly different and sharply critical. “That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least” (The Message Matthew 25:26,27).

The master declared a harsh punishment for this servant. ” Take the $1,000 and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this ‘play it safe’ who won’t go out on a limb” (THE MESSAGE Matthew 25:28).

Most biblical scholars say that Jesus implies the third servant represents the Scribes and the Pharisees and their fearful attitude toward the Law and the truth of God. They desired to keep everything, especially the Law, exactly as it was given. Their method showed their unhealthy fear of God and produced nothing. They returned their talent back to the Master exactly as it was given to them.

Application: Our goal should be to receive God’s specific gifts/talents and effectively produce much for the Master. We desire to hear “Good work, you did your job well………From now on be my partner.” Being part of the family of God is the best – and what God wants. What has he given you? How are you developing and using it?

Prayer: Father, thank you that you give amazing gifts/talents to believers and you expect us to use them for your purpose. Help me recognize and use all the gifts you have given me. May they bring glory to you.

**Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume, Matthew Henry, Regency Reference Library, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1960, pp. 1334-1336.
and
The Daily Study Bible, The Gospel of Matthew Vol 2, Revised Edition, William Barclay, Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1975, pp. 321-324.

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Parables Found in One Gospel
TITLE
Baren Fig Tree – Luke 13
The Draw Net – Matthew 13
Friend at Midnight – Luke 11
Good Samaritan – Luke 10
The Goodly Pearl – Matthew 13
The Great Supper – Luke 14
The Hidden Treasure – Mathew 13
The Householder – Mark 13
Laborers in the Vinyard – Matthew 20
Marriage of the Kings Son – Matthew 22
Pharisee and Publican – Luke 18
Piece of Money – Luke 15
The Pounds – Luke 19
The Prodigal Son – Luke 15
The Rich Fool – Luke 12
Rich Man and Lazarus – Luke 16
Seed Growing in Secret – Mark 4
Sheep and Goats – Matthew 23
The Tares – Matthew 13
The Ten Talents – Matthew 25
The Ten Virgins – Matthew 25
The Two Debtors – Luke 7
The Two Sons – Matthew 21
The Unjust Judge – Luke 18
The Unjust Steward – Luke 16
The Unmerciful Servant – Matthew 18
Unprofitable Servants – Luke 17
The Wedding Feast – Luke 12
The Wise Steward – Luke 12

Parables Found Only in Two Gospels
House on the Rock – Matthew 7 and Luke 6
The Leaven – Matthew 13 and Luke 13
The Lost Sheep – Mathew 18 and Luke 15

Found in Three Gospels
New Cloth – Matthew 9 Mark 2 and Luke 5
New Wine in Old Bottles – Matthew 13 Mark 2 and Luke 5
The Fig Tree – Matthew 24 Mark 13 and Luke 21
The Mustard Seed – Matthew 13 Mark 4 and Luke 13
The Sower – Matthew 13 Mark 4 and Luke 8
Wicked Husbandman – Matthew 21 Mark 12 and Luke 20

Reference: The New Chain-Reference Bible, Fourth Edition, B.B. Kirkbride Bible Co., Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana 1964, Comprehensive Bible Helps, p. 103