Here’s a question for you. “Are you ready?” You may say that you can’t answer that question because you have to ask “ready for what?”
I, of course, can’t answer your question because I don’t know what your “what” is, I know mine, but it’s your life and I cannot know about you. In fact if you don’t know, or are not sure about, your “what” then you are probably not ready – yet.
For you, to get ready, perhaps it would help you to ask, “am I growing?” because, if you are growing, you will be on the way to answering the other questions.
I am not playing word games here. Having a sense of being ready and knowing what you are ready for, speaks right into your sense of purpose in life. If you are ignoring these questions you are possibly putting your life at risk.
Perhaps you experience some frustration in your work. You may, or may not, enjoy what you do but you feel that’s not really the point of your life. You may know that you’re in training mode, but really want to get on with it and get on with the real job. Perhaps you are a mixture.
I suggest you take a mental journey to first century Nazareth and meet a twelve year old boy and you will gain great insight for your journey.
Dr. Luke describes this boy as growing in four interconnected ways. These are wisdom, stature, favour with God, and favour with people. We know that this is a description that covers 18 years even though we know it is not exclusively those years. Luke also uses the word “obedience” to describe this time.
So what was it like from Jesus’ point of view? For centuries a proverb has existed in the English language which goes “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow”. It contains a powerful truth that all the potential for the majestic oak tree is contained in the miniscule acorn.
The Son of Man himself, the man who is God, the God who is man was in this person in Nazareth and he was growing into his peak potential. It’s impossible to describe but the facts of it speak to us anyway. Here’s some initial thoughts.
Being ready means being ready physically. Jesus was getting bigger and stronger physically. The Bible speaks of “a body prepared”.
Jesus, like us all, was entrusted with a body. We know he looked after it because he showed immense stamina, walking for miles, sleeping under the stars, cutting down a tree, building a boat, constructing a bridge, making yokes (all these were tasks of a Jewish carpenter) and finally enduring 18 hours of torture which would have killed many well before.
Jesus, in addition, had a charismatic physical presence which enabled him to walk through hostile crowds and command attention from thousands.
Don’t be misled. Jesus of Nazareth grew in size and strength and was physically powerful. So are you ready? I feel guilty already!
Being ready means learning languages. It is certain that Jesus spoke Hebrew and Aramaic. It is very likely that he also spoke Greek and Latin. We will visit his language skills another time but here we can reflect on the Living Word himself learning the words of humanity in order to speak to us. So are you ready?
Being ready means relating to God. This is hard to understand. Jesus is the unique son of God but grew in favour with God. So are you ready?
Being ready means getting on with people. Jesus related to four brothers and several sisters at home. He clearly was a sociable man and got criticized for it. He related to customers as a carpenter and friends and neighbours in Nazareth. So are you ready?
There are many ways to view Jesus’ time of growing but I suggest two final thoughts for you to take into this week.
Luke uses the word “obedience” which must have been a huge discipline for someone with such eternal authority in his being. But I suggest you see beyond the mere obedience to his parents and grasp that Jesus was consciously, deliberately and determinedly obeying the great commandments; to love God with heart, soul, mind and strength and neighbor as self. Look at Luke’s words. They show you the outside view. But Jesus inside was about his Father’s business and his Father’s business was obedience to those two ancient commandments.
Finally, let me remind you that, if you are a Christian, Jesus lives in you. He goes about his Father’s business inside of you. Perhaps now you can see that now he, from the inside of you, is teaching you obedience. He is teaching you how to handle your body, your languages, your relationships with God and people. He is living out a silent preparation in you, getting you ready.
For what? That’s between you and him.
50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
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