December 31, 2014
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 on him.
Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival 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. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
What do you think is more important: Jesus first thirty years or his last three?
Clearly, the final three years of his life, which comprised his public ministry, which is all we really know about him, seem to be the most important.
So what about the over 90% period of his life; the thirty years? What are we to make of these years about which we know so very little? We have the stories about his birth and that story about him in the Temple with the Rabbis as a twelve year old. Other than that, we know nothing.
We do know one thing about those first thirty years. It may be the most important thing we could possibly know.
We know Jesus grew in wisdom.
What else do we need to know from those first thirty years? The remarkable nature of the last three public years of his life can be explained by the unremarkably quiet yet full thirty years of his hidden life. Jesus, himself the Wisdom of God, grew in the Wisdom of God.
The good news is we can know with certainty what that meant. It meant Jesus was a person of one book. Jesus, the eternal Word of God, submitted himself to learning the Word of God. The very Divine One who inspired the ancient scrolls gave himself to the long human, humble obedience of learning them. As a result, his life became their perfect enactment and fulfillment. The Word became flesh.
It’s a good word for us as we enter the year of our Lord 2015. I want to learn and love and live into the Word of God more and more every day. I want to grow in wisdom. I want to become a person of one book. I know you want that for yourself, your family and friends too. That’s why we are doing this Daily Text together every single day. I want to thank you for going this way with me.
Tomorrow, January 1, we will launch a thirty one day journey through the thirty one books of Proverbs. Every year I start this way. You can bet that Jesus devoured these very same Proverbs, year after year. As we work our way through the Proverbs we will be looking for expressions of their wisdom in his life.
Please invite others to join us. The Word of God always works better together. Good things in store ahead.
On the Seventh Day of Christmas. . . .
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