Dear Student of the Word,
As we approach a busy time of year at Christmas, I hope you will not neglect to study and read the word of God. This is such great insight to be had at Christmas from God's word, so I urge you to spend some time there as this year comes to a close. In this fifth study of Luke's gospel, we go past the Christmas story to Jesus dedication in the Temple and his trip with His family to Jerusalem when He was 12. In this study, I wrote in part seven of this seven-part study (which you can download in its entirety below):
Study Five, Part Seven
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 men.
2:49 – Translations vary on this verse. One translation says “my Father’s business.” It seems, however, that the best translation is simply, “I had to be about My Father.” When you pursue your purpose, it is really about being after the Father, for your purpose brings you closer to Him and His desire for your life. See what Luke reported in the book of Acts: “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them’” (Acts 13:1-2).
Notice that the call to Barnabas and Saul was, “Set apart for me.” The focus of their call was not the work they were to do, but the Lord Himself. Your purpose brings you closer to God and sets you apart for Him. That is why knowing your purpose is so critical and can be summarized, like Jesus did, that you are “about the Father.”
2:50 – I have often understood what the Lord was saying to me. Sometimes I don’t have the context necessary to understand and must, like Mary, treasure what He has said in my heart. The problem, however, is that when we make mental notes, the ink fades so quickly. That is why it is important to write down in order to maintain what the Lord is saying to you, for a time when you can understand it more fully. My great fear in walking with the Lord is the rebuke found in Psalm 50: “You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you” (Psalm 50:17).
I have been guilty of receiving a word and then walking away from it, so to speak, leaving it behind as I go about my daily life. I need to learn how to carry those precious words with me, so that at some point I can understand. You need to do the same thing.
2:51 – Notice how they went “down” to Nazareth, even though Nazareth is north of Jerusalem. A Jew always “went down” from Jerusalem, no matter where they were heading, for the Holy City was the pinnacle of Jewish spiritual life. Since Luke wasn’t a Jew, I think this represented accurate reporting on his part and causes me to trust everything he reported (not that I need any help in trusting his word, for it is the inspired word of God, but I thought that was an interesting tidbit).
Mary became the depository, so to speak, for the promises of God concerning her child. She was the only one who could pass these things on to us. That is why it is my opinion that her purpose was not to birth to Jesus, but to remember and have faith for all the promises that God made concerning Jesus’ life and purpose. If her purpose was to give birth, then her purpose was over as soon as the baby was born. A woman’s purpose, however, goes well beyond giving birth to offspring, and her purpose is usually not to raise them, although that will consume much of her time for the first years of her children’s lives. If you are a married woman or a mother and are reading this, do you know what you purpose is? Can you describe it apart from your family?
The reason I say this is that a woman’s children were born to leave one day and live their own lives. A woman’s role is to raise he children but that role will change. Purpose never changes.
2:52 – We hear of no other unusual occurrences in Jesus’ adolescence after His staying behind in Jerusalem. He went home and maintained a low profile. All the while, however, he was growing in wisdom, favor and stature. There was nothing spectacular what would set Jesus apart, except for the revelation from the Father of who Jesus was. To some, He was an ordinary Jewish man, son of Mary and brother of his siblings. To others, however, He was the Son of God! But that knowledge did not come from flesh and blood, as Jesus told Peter in Matthew: “Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven’” (Matthew 16:17-18).
God doesn’t promote potential or giftedness; He promotes and uses faithfulness. And Jesus was faithful as a son, carpenter and Jew. Don’t despair today that you aren’t as gifted as the next person, just be faithful! Grow in stature in the eyes of other people as you become the best you can be at what you do. Maintain your integrity and trust God. He will use you according to the gifts and purpose He has given you if you are faithful.
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. For additional Bible studies, check out my website archive, which contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse New Testament studies, along with the daily devotional entitled What Would Jesus Ask You Today? Thank you and I hope you continue to enjoy this study of Luke's gospel from God's word.
As this year closes, I am asking for your financial help. I need you at this time to make a year-end contribution toward my personal support so I can continue the purpose work that I began 22 years ago. You can give through PayPal or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.