I have two kids. I have a boy who is 16 and a daughter who is now 19. I find it so hard to imagine where the time has gone. They have grown up faster than I have learned to grow as a parent. One of the things that I wish I could have changed in recent years is how I have talked to my son.
Let me describe briefly what I mean. When my son started speaking his mind more and more he would say some things that I thought were wrong or naive. I began to simply say, “Well, that is thirteen year old wisdom for you.” We would laugh about it but I wish that I wouldn’t have said such things. My dad never spoke to me like that! Not sure why I started doing it, but it probably sent my son the wrong message. I value what he has to say. I don’t want him to feel like what he says does not matter or that what he says is not important.
I have considered this often lately because in our text there is a young boy who is growing up, becoming strong, and He is filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was upon Him. We see a young boy who is worth listening too when He speaks. When He opened His mouth He spoke unlike anyone else that we would have heard. If we were to watch His life closely we would see that there was no hypocrisy in what He was speaking and with how He was living.
This is what our text says, “And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon Him.” (Luke 1:40)
I would like to make a few brief observations about this text. First, who is this child that we are talking about? In this verse we only know that he is a ‘child’. If we were to go back into the verses preceding this passages we would find out that He is a very special child. There was never a child like Him before or after this time. In fact, in the passages leading up to our text there are at least six different testimonies about this child given by two angels, two women named Elizabeth and Anna, and two men named Zechariah, and Simeon. Each of these witnesses gives us a powerful glimpse into who this special child is.
For example, consider the following:
The angel says, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will call his name Jesus. And he will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Elizabeth says, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
Zechariah says, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David...”
An angel says, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you god news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Simeon says, “...for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
Anna says, “...she gave thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.”
Secondly, notice with me that we are told that this child “grew and became strong”. Something similar to this is said about John the Baptist in Luke 1:80 where we read, “And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.”
What does it mean when it says, “(He) grew and became strong”? First, this child will go through every stage of development that any of us would. He will be a baby, then a toddler, then an adolescent and then He will become an adult. He will have to learn to walk and talk like any of us.
Yet there are a couple other things that we ought to consider. The second part of this sentence helps to clarify in what manner the child is growing strong. We are told that that He grew strong and was filled with wisdom. Jesus was learning and applying God’s Word in all areas of life.
Secondly, notice under what conditions Jesus became strong and was filled with wisdom. In the previous verse we discover that Jesus was in Jerusalem, the religious center of Israel. We learn that His parents performed everything according to the law of the Lord. Then we see that after they did this they returned to Galilee, to a town called Nazareth.
It would seem that it might have been best to have stayed in Jerusalem. This was the religious and political capital of Israel. This seems like that would have been the perfect environment for Jesus to have grown up in because He was the promised Prophet, Priest and King who was to come. Yet, the parents took Jesus to a small town of Nazareth that was generally looked down upon by many Jews (John 1:46). What opportunity was there? Seemingly, three was nothing there that would benefit Jesus. And yet, Jesus thrived and grew in wisdom.
There are three applications for us to consider. First, we can grow in strength and wisdom in the most unlikely places. John the Baptist grew and became strong in the wilderness; Jesus became strong and full of wisdom in Nazareth. You can grow strong here in Stevens Point, WI.
Secondly, notice that Jesus’ growth is a process. And if this is something that Jesus experienced, we will experience it too.
Thirdly, notice that Jesus’ parents took Jesus away from the Temple. We see that one does not have to live twenty-four hours a day in church to grow like this. God grows us and matures us in what happens every day of the week – Monday - Sunday. Let me be clear, though we do not have to live at church to become mature and wise, we also must see that if we never go to church we will not be fully mature and full of wisdom. We do both of these things to mature.
Consider Proverbs 2:1-15 as we see how Solomon encouraged his son to grow in wisdom. It says,
My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
2 making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
3 yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
4 if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 guarding the paths of justice
and watching over the way of his saints.
9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity, every good path;
10 for wisdom will come into your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
11 discretion will watch over you,
understanding will guard you,
12 delivering you from the way of evil,
from men of perverted speech,
13 who forsake the paths of uprightness
to walk in the ways of darkness,
14 who rejoice in doing evil
and delight in the perverseness of evil,
15 men whose paths are crooked,
and who are devious in their ways.
Finally, let us consider the last part of our verse. It says, “And the favor of God was upon him.” There are a couple of things that I would like to bring out in this part of the verse.
First, the ‘favor’ of God was upon Jesus. In other words, God delighted and took pleasure in Jesus. In generations past, God looked upon this world and took special notice of other men. He saw Abraham and chose him to be the father of many nations. God made Abraham the one through whom the Messiah would come. God looked down and saw Noah and decided that through him He would save mankind through the flood. God looked down and saw David and decided that he would be a king through which the Christ would one day sit upon his throne.
Yet, in Jesus God looks down and finds someone who is sinless, righteous, faultless and it delights Him. He looks upon Jesus and He finds great pleasure in Him. The Father is so delighted in the Son that there is no need for there to be another prophet, priest or king at some other time. He is so pleased in Jesus that God determines to view all men who come to Christ through Jesus’ righteousness and blamelessness.
Consider 10:1, “A wise son makes a glad father...” We have grieved the Father often but Jesus has not grieved Him once. In fact, Jesus makes the Father glad! And when we come to the Father through the Son we find the Father glad to receive us.
Secondly, notice that Jesus always pleased God and not always did men find pleasure in Him. In fact, there will be a time in the future when Jesus’ own family will think that Jesus is out of His mind (Mark 3:21). When Jesus entered into ministry he was hated by many; but the Father loved Him and poured grace and truth upon Him.
What comfort there is to see how greatly the Father delighted and found pleasure in the Son. For it is through Christ that you and I experience all of these spiritual blessings. I often envy those older gentleman who have matured so much in their faith. I want to mature in my faith in a similar manner. Yet, when I look at Christ I sense no envy in my heart towards this strength, wisdom and favor that he has received; for they are mine through Him. They are consistently mine through faith in the Son of God.