- "The child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him." Luke 2:40
- "Why is is that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father's" Luke 2: 49
- "And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." Luke 2:52
Too many people are graduates of the Ricky Bobby School of Theology. They have become fixated on the baby Jesus. This results in a stunted perspective of His mission, His mandate, and His ministry. People that never let Jesus get out of the manger and into their hearts, miss out on the real joy the Christmas Story.
When we forget Jesus grew up to become a man on a mission, it has a negative impact on our spiritual development. Remember, Jesus was not just a baby born in Bethlehem, but He died on a cross at Calvary. He defeated death, hell and the grave, when He rose from the dead. Today He is seated at the right of the Father, and He lives to intercede for the children of God.
The three verses quoted above are a gentle nudge away from the stable scene, and an early glimpse into what God had in mind for His Son. God intended for His Son to be a source of wisdom. As He grew, people were drawn to Him, not because of where He was born, but because of His favor with God. They were attracted to His life, not His birthplace.
Every year, the City of Bethlehem celebrates the birth of Jesus, but they live in a war zone the other 364 days of the year. The got it right about the place of His birth, but they have missed out on where He wants to live today. Real peace on earth begins in the hearts of wise men who still seek Him.
His mission was to be about the business, or the affairs of His Father. His parents were supposed to know this, and we should not forget it. Luke gives us a picture of His every-growing awareness of His mission, to carry out the will of His Father. By the time He reached manhood, it was a passion that was fueled by a personal prayer life with His heavenly Father.
His mandate was the presentation of the love of God, by offering His life as a sacrifice of the cross for their sin. He would be tempted to take short cuts, and to avoid the cross all together. His life of obedience to the will and the Word of God was fueled by His own intimacy with God in prayer.
Through the ministry of intercession, Jesus still brings the favor of God upon the lives of His people. Hebrews tells us, "In the days of His flesh, He offered up prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things that He suffered." (Hebrews 5:7-8) Prayer was His preparation for the handling of suffering that came His way, with the spirit of obedience. His learning curve should remind us to keep growing with Christ in The School of Prayer. Suffering is not an end in itself, but it is on the curriculum. When the course is overwhelming, go to the Headmaster to lead you through the final exam.
What Jesus did on earth, He continues to do in heaven. Through intercession, He has intensified to another level what He initiated while on earth. When you send a message to God, Jesus brings your prayer request to Him, personally, but He puts your heart as the return address for the answer you will receive.
This is a great time of year to thank God for sending Jesus into the world. Express a prayer of gratitude for His mission, His mandate, and His ministry.