Devotional

Happy New Year! Keep learning and keep growing (Luke 2:39-52)

And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43 And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature  and in favor with God and man.

Luke 2: 39-42 ESV

Jesus is omniscient and the God of all wisdoms. But when the Son of God became Son of Man, He did not start out as a grownup man ready to serve and shine.  He started out as a newborn, and he went through infancy and all stages of human growth until he reached adulthood. He was “made like his brothers in every respect” (Hebrews 2:17) It is amazing and overwhelming to think of how the God of all wisdom and knowledge had to empty his omniscience and go through the growing and learning process just as we do.   He knows and understands our struggles as students, and as learners striving for growth in this world.  The new year is a time that brings new hope and new beginning.  But a new beginning may also come along with new challenges and anxieties.  It’s a good time to reflect and remember the example set by our Lord, Jesus, the one who “grew and became strong, filled with wisdom” and with God’s favor. (2:39)

“After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.” (2:46)  The 12-year old Jesus was sitting among the scripture scholars.  He was not asking questions to challenge the teachers to make himself look smart. He was simply there to listen and ask questions, just so he could learn.  If our Lord was learning with a humble heart, what excuses do we have for not to keep learning with the same attitude?  

And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house? (2:49) At age 12, Jesus was feeling a necessity, a compulsion to do the Father’s will. He had a clear vision that was called to do the Father’s work, and that kept His life on earth to stay focused. What is our vision?  May the Lord open our eyes to see. And may we also share the same desire as David – “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire. in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4) Lord, may the beauty of your house also be my vision! 

Jesus was “filled with wisdom” (2:40), and yet he still “increased in wisdom” (2:52). Besides growing in wisdom, He also grew in stature, and in favor with God and man.  His growth didn’t happen instantly, but came with great effort through time. As the new year begins, how about we start the year by reflecting on how we did in those areas.  How are we doing in our spiritual growth?  Are we taking good care of our body, which is the temple of God?  How is our relationship with God?  How about our relationship with our neighbors?  May the Lord that excelled in these areas help us to follow his footsteps and continue to grow and do better physically, spiritually, and in our relationship with God and with people.  Here is to a happy New Year! 🎉

Dear Lord, thank you for the New Year! As we anticipate the new beginning, give me the new courage and strength to take on the new challenges. Help me to do better physically, grow spiritually. Also help me to stay connected with you, and build up good relationship with people around me.

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