As I have previously written, during the month of March, we are focusing on godly families. We began the month looking at Moses and his family. God teaches us some awesome truths about families based on Moses and his family. Next week, we are going to focus on the importance of the family in society. Our main passage with be Deuteronomy 4. Since I have already written on this passage, I will just link to it. The week after next, we will focus on Ruth and Naomi. There will be a lesson on Elisha and the widow’s family and then we will reach the lesson on Jesus and His family. I would like to write about what I want to teach, even though it is a little down the road, the end of the month will be here before we realize it.
Our passage is Luke 2:41-52. God has much to teach us here about families.
I. Jesus was taught the Word of God by His parents
I know this may sound strange, but it is true. He was and is the living Word of God yet, in His family, His parents taught Him God’s Word just as they had been taught.
41 Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He became twelve, they went up there according to the custom of the Feast ; 43 and as they were returning, after spending the full number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. But His parents were unaware of it,
Mary and Joseph were obedient to God. They kept the teachings of the Old Testament. They were faithful in practicing their faith. Jesus was with them and He experienced their faith as He grew. Jesus paid attention to what He was being taught by His parents and by the teachers of the Law when He went to the feasts and holidays which were commanded in the Old Testament. Because of the education that He had received from His parents, Jesus was interested in spiritual things at an early age. He was full of questions and very thoughtful.
46 Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.
As parents, we need to teach our children the Word of God and help them live It out practically. Joseph and Mary did not just teach Jesus about the Jewish faith, about the importance of the holidays and festivals. They actually participated in them. They “practiced what they preached” in other words. It is not enough just to teach children the theory of the Word of God. We have to apply it day by day, walking with them, showing them how faith is to be lived out practically. If we will do this, as they grow, they will want to know more and more about God and spiritual things, to the point where their faith, their walk with God will become something that they own themselves. It will become personal instead of their “parents’ faith”. Jesus understood much and was interested in learning more. I realize that He was the Son of God, the Word that had become flesh, yet still, He developed as a child. He was 100% human as we are, yet without our sin nature. Are you teaching your children the Word of God and how to apply It practically? Are you an example for your children to follow? Do you motivate them to want to know more about God and spiritual things? Do you encourage them to own their faith instead of just being something that they inherited from you?
II. Jesus had a desire to know more and grew in His faith
As a child, you have your own part to perform in this process. As your parents mentor and disciple you, you must put forth effort to grow and learn. Jesus was excited to know more about God. He surrounded Himself by leaders who were walking with God and He asked them questions with a genuine desire to know more. He processed what He was hearing. It was not just information that passed in one ear and out the other.
47 And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. 52 And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
Jesus thought through the Scriptures. They were practical to Him. He did not answer “Jesus” and “heaven” to all of the questions. He understood the concepts of the Word. He asked questions to know more and He answered questions to show that He understood. This is a good method of Bible study. As you study the Scriptures with your children, you need to ask them questions in such a way that they come to an intimate understanding of the Bible, a practical understanding, instead of just memorizing verses and giving pat answers to everything. When this happens, you will be amazed at the knowledge that your children attain and it will impact their daily choices, as genuine understanding of God’s Word should. Do you spend time with your children in the Word of God daily? Do you study and ask questions, expecting your children to answer with understanding or do you just accept the pat answers? Do you show your children how practical the Word of God is? Do you teach in such a way that they develop a Biblical worldview, through which to make all decisions in life? Do you encourage your children to think through the Word and be a good student of the Word? As a child, are you doing your part in putting forth effort to gain understanding of the Word instead of just giving the Sunday School answers?
III. Jesus and His parents had a great, loving relationship with each other
The relational aspect of the family is crucial. God created family so that we would be in community with each other. We are not just a group of people living under the same roof. We love each other. We genuinely care for each other. We respect each other.
they began looking for Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem looking for Him. 46 Then, after three days they found Him in the temple . . . His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way ? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.”
God has given us mothers and fathers to protect us. The family is a place of protection from the evils of the world around us. Mary and Joseph realized that Jesus was not with them and so they went to look for Him. When they could not find Him among their relatives, they extended their search for 3 days, until they found Him. They were concerned for His safety. They loved Him and wanted to protect Him, as God intended. Many times, in our modern world, mothers and fathers make conscious decisions to act in ways that directly harm their children. One of the worst things that you can do for the future of your children is to divorce. At one time in our culture, divorce was a dirty word. It was shameful to get a divorce or be divorced. Now we live in a society where divorce is almost like a badge of honor. You went to war and have the scars to prove it yet you survived and are tough. There is a reason God hates divorce so much and one of those reasons is that divorce creates many victims in its wake. Many fathers are ready to sacrifice their children’s future for their own fleeting pleasure. God’s Word teaches us the opposite, we are to love our children and do all that we can to protect them. Children have their part in the equation as well. In the family, God wants us to honor and respect our parents by obeying them.
51 And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them;
Being submissive is not a negative quality. In fact, it is a positive one. The meaning of subjection or submission is “power under control”. Submission is a choice. A wild horse is powerful but useless to us. That power has to be harnessed under control first and then it is useful. The power is still there yet now it is useful instead of useless. When we submit to our parents, we do not show weakness. We show wisdom, because the power that God has given to us can now be used for His glory. When parents love, protect, and teach their children the Word of God and the children respect and obey their parents, there is harmony in the family, the way that God intended. Jesus sets an example for us to follow. He, the Creator of all things, chose to be submissive to His creation. How much easier is it for us to submit to our parents?
May the Lord help us apply what He has taught us so that we can have godly families that bring glory to Him day by day.