Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Following Christ’s Example

Luke 2:52

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

Many of us are familiar with the story of Jesus at twelve – as He was amazing the teachers in the temple courts with questions and answers. Joseph and Mary couldn’t find Jesus among the relatives in the caravan – so they headed back to Jerusalem to find Him. Luke 2:46–47 – 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.

Recently in a Bible study we talked about the divinity and humanity of Jesus. Depending on how you understand that dynamic will reveal where you fall in our ability to follow Christ’s example. For instance – if you believe He was fully divine and only appeared as human – you would have a hard time believing you could follow God’s example. If you believe that He was human on earth and didn’t access His divine power – you would have an easier task of seeing Jesus as an example for us to follow.

His humanity and divinity are described by this passage – Philippians 2:1–8 – 1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Was Jesus able to ask questions and answer questions at twelve that amazed the teachers in the temple because He had divine knowledge none of us could ever have or because of His walk with the Father as a human? The way we answer that question reveals a lot about how we understand Jesus while He was on earth. For instance – the author of Hebrews suggests the follow – Hebrews 4:14–16 – 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Could Jesus – while accessing His godly powers – be tempted in all ways as we are tempted? Or would this suggest that He was human like us – tempted but without sin?

I suggest that Jesus was fully human and fully divine – but while on earth – He did not access His Godly powers. Rather – all that He did – all that He understood – was what other humans could do or understand if we walked with the Father as Christ did. If we follow Christ’s example – an example we could follow – we too would be able to do amazing things.

So when we read about Jesus at twelve – we should be challenged to grow in wisdom as well. We should be challenged to learn more about God and lean more into Him. Here’s today’s passage in partial context. Luke 2:41–52 – 41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 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.” 49 Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 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.

I suggest that we excuse ourselves from following Jesus’ example if we believe He did what He did – from being sinless to the miracles and the knowledge – He did because He was God. I believe we are to follow Jesus’ example – because He modeled what a human walking with Jesus would be able to do!

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

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October 6, 2017 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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