The Story of Jesus - His Early Years

Bible Book: Luke  2 : 40-52
Subject: Jesus, The Life of
Series: The Story of Jesus

Tonight, it’s on my heart to continue studying the story of Jesus.

We have been thinking recently about the Christmas Story, and I tried to magnify the fact that the Christmas Story is The Story Of Joy, The Story Of Joseph, The Story Of Jerusalem, The Story Of Jealousy, The Story Of A Journey, but ultimately, above all it is The Story Of Jesus.

As we studied the earlier events of Luke chapter 2, I mentioned the memorable words of Fanny Crosby who wrote…

Tell me the story of Jesus; Write on my heart every word. Tell me the story most precious, Sweetest that ever was heard.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is contained in four books, each giving His Gospel “according to” a particular writer. The books have come to be called in common speech the four Gospels.... No attempt at a complete biography, in the modern sense of the word, has been made in any of the cases. Of the first thirty years of Christ’s life on earth, and of His training for His brief ministry in that time, there is hardly any record. Evidently the writers did not consider that a continuous record of growth and training, of youthful aspirations and of self-consecration to a future work, belonged to their purpose.
(Archbishop Wm. Thomson from The Biblical Illustrator)

To avoid misconception, it is important to remember, that, rich as are the narratives of the Gospels, materials do not exist for a complete biography or “Life” of Jesus. There is a gap, broken only by a single incident, from His infancy till His 30th year; there are cycles of events out of myriads left unrecorded (John 21:25); there are sayings, parables, longer discourses, connected with particular occasions; there are general summaries of periods of activity comprised in a few verses.
(International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

There are certain legends and apocryphal stories regarding the infancy and childhood of Jesus. But as George Dawson wrote, “The Holy Spirit of God must have touched Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John with the spirit of ‘selection,’ which saved them from such miracle-mongering. For Christ – the Christ that I adore – rises above these pitiful tales.” (From The Biblical Illustrator)

As Bishop Christopher Wordsworth states, “There is inspiration in the silence of Scripture. The Holy Spirit records only this one incident in the life of Jesus from His infancy to the beginning of His ministry.” But as another writer commented, “This beautiful and only glimpse of the Boyhood of our Saviour is full of interest.”

(E. Johnson from The Biblical Illustrator)

As J. W. McGarvey and Philip Pendleton remind us, “Luke narrates something about every stage of Christ's life. He speaks of him as a babe (Luke 2:16), as a little child (Luke 2:40), here as a boy, and afterwards as a man.”

As we view this brief glimpse into the boyhood of Jesus…

I. We See The Great Pattern Of Life (vs. 40-43)

Jesus would later make a statement to His disciples that can be appropriately quoted here (though out of context). In John 13:15 He said, “I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” And even in His youth He was an exemplary individual.

A. Notice The Life Of Righteousness

1. This Was Evident In The Depth Of His Faculties

(Luke 2:40) And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

waxed strong – Greek 2901. krataioo, meaning to empower, increase in vigor:--be strengthened.

2. This Was Evident In The Divine Favor

(Luke 2:40) And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

Cf. (Matthew 3:17) And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

B. Notice The Life Of Repetition

(Luke 2:41) Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.

1. This Is A Reminder Of Their Duty

(Exodus 23:14-17) Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. {15} Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) {16} And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field. {17} Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD.

(Deuteronomy 16:16) Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:

The Passover, one of the three great Jewish feasts, commemorated the mercy of God in causing his angel to “pass over” the houses in Israel on the night that he slew all the firstborn of Egypt. It took place at the full moon, which occurred next after the vernal equinox. At it the firstfruits of the harvest were offered (Leviticus 23:10-15). The second feast, Pentecost, occurred fifty days later, and commemorated the giving of the law. At it the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, in the form of bread (Leviticus 23:17), were offered. The third feast, or Tabernacles, occurred near the end of September, or beginning of October, and commemorated the days when Israel dwelt in tents in the wilderness. It was observed as a thanksgiving for the blessings of the year. Every adult male Jews dwelling in Judaea was required to attend these three feasts. Josephus tells us that the members assembled at them in Jerusalem often exceeded two millions.
(J. W. McGarvey and Philip Pendleton from The Fourfold Gospel)

2. This Is A Revelation Of Their Devotion

(Luke 2:41) Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.

C. Notice The Life Of Responsibility

(Luke 2:42-43) And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. {43} And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.

1. There Is The Customary Nature Of This Responsibility after the custom of the feast

custom – Greek 1485. ethos, a usage (prescribed by habit or law):-- manner.

Males were required to attend the Passover (Exodus 13:7); but women were not. The great rabbi, Hillel (born about B. C. 110; died A. D. 10), recommended that they should do so, and the practice was esteemed an act of admirable piety. (J. W. McGarvey and Philip Pendleton from The Fourfold Gospel)

2. There Is The Consecrated Nature Of This Responsibility they had fulfilled the days

Eight days in all; one day for killing the Passover, and seven for observing the feast of unleavened bread which followed it – Exodus 13:15; Leviticus 23:5, 6. (J. W. McGarvey and Philip Pendleton from The Fourfold Gospel)

fulfilled – Greek 5048. teleioo, means to complete, literally to accomplish, or figuratively to consummate (in character): --consecrate, finish, (make) perfect.

II. We See The Great Perplexities Of Life (vs. 43-48)

A. Life’s Perplexities May Involve A Faulty Supposition

1. They Had A False Conclusion

(Luke 2:44) But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.

supposing – Greek 3543. nomizo; from G3551; to do by law (usage), i.e. to accustom; by extension to deem or regard: -- think, be wont.

Derived from 3551. nomos, meaning to parcel out, especially food or grazing to animals); law (through the idea of prescriptive usage.

They were like animals grazing in the fields that were too ignorant to know something was wrong.

(Judges 16:20) And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.

2. They Had A Further Continuance

(Luke 2:44) But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.

How long do we go on without His presence?

B. Life’s Perplexities May Involve A Frantic Searching

Verse 44 – sought – Greek 327. anazeteo, meaning to search out.

Verse 45 – seeking – Greek 2212. zeteo, meaning to seek (literally or figuratively). It is also rendered in the New Testament as “desire, endeavour, enquire (for).”

1. They Searched In Familiar Territory

(Luke 2:44) But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.

2. They Searched In Former Territory

(Luke 2:45) And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.

C. Life’s Perplexities May Involve A Faith-Based Solution

1. They Needed To Return To The Faith-Based Place

(Luke 2:46) And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.

2. They Needed To Return To The Faith-Based Perspective

(Luke 2:48) And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

Perplexity in presence of mystery: -- This question of the mother of Jesus reveals an experience of the human heart which is very common, which is most common in the best hearts and those who feel their responsibility the most. The Virgin Mary is the perpetual type of people who, entrusted with any great and sacred interest, identify their own lives with that interest and care for it conscientiously; but who, by and by, when the interest begins to manifest its own vitality, and to shape its own methods, are filled with perplexity. They cannot keep the causes for which they labour under their own care. As His mother asked of Jesus, so they are always asking of the objects for which they live, “Why hast thou thus dealt with us?” Such people are people who have realized responsibility more than they have realized God. Just as Mary felt at the moment when she asked this question, that Jesus was her Son more than that He was God’s Son, so there is a constant tendency among the most earnest and conscientious people to feel that the causes for which they live and work are their causes more than that they are God’s causes, and so to experience something which is almost like jealousy when they see those causes pass beyond their power and fulfil themselves in larger ways than theirs. For such people, often the most devoted and faithful souls among us, there must be some help and light in this story of Jesus and His mother.
(Phillips Brooks from The Biblical Illustrator)

III. We See The Great Purpose Of Life (vs. 49-52)

A. A Purpose That Revolves Around The Father

(Luke 2:49) And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?

B. A Purpose That Revolves Around The Family

(Luke 2:51) And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.

C. A Purpose That Revolves Around The Furtherance

(Luke 2:52) And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Conclusion: Some years ago an institution for the blind was erected in one of our large towns. The committee put their wise heads together, and decided that as the building was for the blind, for those who could not see—there was only waste of money and no reason in going to the expense of windows. Scientific ventilation and heating was provided, but no windows, because—as the committee very logically put it—it was no use in the world providing light for those who cannot see it. Accordingly, the new Blind Asylum was inaugurated and opened, and the poor sightless patients settled into the house. Things did not go well with them, however. They began to sicken, one after another; a great languor fell on them, they felt always distressed and restless, craving for something, they hardly knew what; and after one or two had died, and all were ill, the committee sat on the matter, and resolved to open windows. Then the sun poured in, and the white faces recovered colour, and the flagging vital energies revived, the depressed spirits recovered, and health and rest returned. I think this is not unlike the condition of a vast number of people. Christ Jesus is the Sun of the soul, the Light of the world. It is He who gives health and rest to the heart, and fills the soul with that peace which passes man’s understanding. But there are a good number who, in their wisdom, think they can do without Him; they are the wise committee men sitting on their own case, and building up walls to shut themselves in and shut Him out. They cannot see Jesus, the light of the world; therefore, they can live without Him. Have you ever noticed what an expression of peace there is on the faces of those whose walk is with God, as contrasted with the unrest that characterizes the faces of those living without God in the world—not necessarily bad people, but living chiefly for the world, in a windowless asylum of their own construction. (S. Baring-Gould from The Biblical Illustrator)

There lived, fifteen hundred years ago, a saint whose name was Jerome, and he loved so much the thought of the Child Christ, that he left Rome, and went and lived for thirty long years in a cave at Bethlehem, close by the cavern-stable in which Christ was born. And when men wished to invite him by earthly honours to work elsewhere, he said, “Take me not away from the cradle where my Lord was laid. Nowhere can I be happier than there. There do I often talk with the Child Jesus, and say to Him, ‘Ah, Lord I how can I repay Thee?’ And the Child answers, ‘I need nothing. Only sing thou Glory to God, and peace on earth.”‘ And when I say, ‘Nay I but I must yield Thee something’; the Holy Child replies, ‘Thy silver and thy gold I need not. Give them to the poor. Give his only thy sins to be forgiven.’ And then do I begin to weep and say, ‘Oh, Thou blessed Child Jesus, take what is mine, and give me what is Thine!’” Now in this way, by the eye of faith, you may all see the Child Jesus, and unseen, yet ever near, you may feel His presence, and He may sit by your side at school, and be with you all day to keep you from harm, and to drive away bad thoughts and naughty tempers, and send His angels to watch over you when you sleep. (Archdeacon Farrar from The Biblical Illustrator)