Growing In Godliness Blog
Jesus Increased in Favor with Men
By Paul Earnhart
The Bible says very little about the early childhood of Jesus. It does inform us in Luke 2:52 that He increased in favor with man. This tells us that Jesus was the kind of child that adults admired. Every parent desires to have such a child.
How did Jesus grow in favor with good men. Certainly not by being a smart-alecky spoiled little brat. No adult likes to be around that kind of child. Rather, as we are told in the other parts of this verse, Jesus grew in wisdom, in stature and in favor with God. Good people admire that. In addition, they appreciate children who are respectful of adults, obedient to their parents, careful with property and considerate in their relations with other children. Growing in favor with God would require all of this, and what we see of Jesus in His teen years (and later) clearly indicates that this was the kind of child he was.
If you are a child, let me remind you that if you want to be like Jesus, this is the kind of boy or girl you must be. It is not time yet for you to be travelling over the country preaching as Jesus did. But it is time for you to be applying yourself to getting a good education, to developing a strong body and to being right with God. One way to determine whether you are succeeding in this is to watch how good adults feel about you. If they admire you and speak of you as a good child, then you must be doing as you should. If they dread being around you and clearly do not like you, then you probably need to make some changes in your behavior and attitude to be like Jesus.
If you are a parent, let me remind you that you are responsible for the development of your child. If your child is a terror to others, you need to be making some changes in your method of handling the child. As the child grows older, the problems will only increase. Perhaps you should begin with yourself. Disciplined children must have disciplined parents…it’s the only way.
Jesus Increased in Favor with God
By Paul Earnhart
Luke 2:52 tells us that as Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, He also increased in favor with God. This is the most important increase of all. All other progress in the development of a child is of temporary value. The wisdom he learns will someday be forgotten. His physical body, regardless of how strong, will someday weaken and die. And the favor of men can vanish in a moment of time. But favor with God prepares us for eternity.
Favor with God is obtained by godly living. In 1 Peter 3, beginning with verse 10, there is a quotation from the Psalms which is true for all times: "Let him who means to love life and see good days refrain his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile. And let him turn away from evil and do good. Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and his ears attend to their prayers, but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil." (1 Pet. 3:10-12)
Children do not grow in the favor of God by accident. This is especially true in our own day when so much ungodliness is being fed to children on television, in school, and through their companions. If children are to increase in the favor of God, they desperately need parents who have spiritual goals for them and rear them “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4).
What of your children? Do you feel that God is increasingly pleased with them as they grow older? What are you doing to help them in that direction? Do you read the Bible and pray with them? Do you take them to Bible classes? Do you give them an example of a god-fearing parent? What your children become is largely up to you. But you must act now!
Jesus Increased in Wisdom
By Paul Earnhart
Very little is known about the childhood of Jesus. Many fictitious stories have been circulated; some have even been dramatized on television. But all we really know is what the Bible tells us. And all that the Bible tells us about His life in Nazareth, before He was twelve years old, is found in Luke 2:52. That verse tells us that Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men.
It is interesting to learn that Jesus increased in wisdom. Though He was the Son of God, it is evident that in becoming a man He gave up His divine knowledge of all things. The fact that He INCREASED in wisdom proves that He did not have it all as an infant.
Jesus must have increased in wisdom as all other young people do. Doubtless He gained some wisdom from the instruction of His parents. Good parents are important to a young person's development.
We can believe also that He increased in wisdom through life’s experiences and through observation of life around Him.
I do not know if schools were available to Him or not. From some source He learned to read and write, and we can be sure that He took advantage of every opportunity of this kind.
Prayer must have had its part even for Jesus as a child. James tells us that if we lack wisdom, we should ask of God and it will be given to us (Jas 1:5). Of course, when we pray for daily bread, we work for it also. And as Jesus prayed for wisdom from God, He must have read and studied God's word which is a major channel through which God gives us wisdom.
Jesus is an example for young people and older people as well. Each one of us should take advantage of every opportunity to grow in wisdom.
Jesus Increased in Stature
By Paul Earnhart
Luke 2:52 tells us that in the years before Jesus was 12-years old, He increased in stature. This tells us something about both Jesus and His mother, Mary.
To say that Jesus increased in stature is to say that he grew normally, that he was healthy and strong in body. We know well what is required for such growth. It requires good wholesome food, exercise, proper rest and clean habits.
Many young people want a good strong body for appearance or for success in sports. But Jesus had a greater reason for taking care of His body. His body was given to Him by God, and it was God 's intention that He should use it for the years that He was on earth. So, Jesus cared for it and did what was necessary to increase in strength.
All of us can say that our bodies are a gift of God. They are to be used for His service. This gives us special reason to care for them, to observe the rules of good health and to avoid tobacco, intoxicating drinks and other drugs that weaken our bodies, scramble our brains, and shorten our lives.
Mary is also to be praised for her part in the physical growth of Jesus. Doubtless she was the one who prepared his good meals, encouraged him in exercise and taught him good habits of cleanliness. Mothers have a special responsibility along these lines. It is sad to see Mothers today who are too busy or too occupied with social affairs or pleasure to take proper care of their children. Solomon said, "A chiId left to himself is the shame of his mother" (Proverbs 29:15). That is still true. If you are a mother reading this message, what kind of mother are you? Are you the kind in whose hands God would have entrusted His Son? He has entrusted a child or children to your care. Be sure you help them grow in stature as Jesus did.
By Paul Earnhart
When Jesus was twelve years old, His parents took him to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. These journeys to Jerusalem must have been festive occasions. All devout Jews made the journey. A large company would set out from each village - friends, acquaintances and families travelling together, walking along the road visiting as they went. It is easy to imagine older people walking together while the younger folks and children walked with those their own age.
After spending perhaps a week in Jerusalem, the people began the long walk back to Nazareth. Historians tell us that it was common for worshipers as they were leaving Jerusalem to make one more visit to the temple. And it is likely that the 12-year-old Jesus became so deeply interested in what was going on there that He did not even know when His parents left. Luke 2:43 tells us that the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents were unaware of it. And verse 44 tells us that they did not even miss Him until nightfall. When they finally found Jesus back in Jerusalem three days later, they asked, "Son, why have You treated us this way?" (Luke 2:48) But the problem was not with Jesus, it was with them.
Why was Jesus lost? It was not that He was rebellious; it was not that His parents were wicked or selfish. Rather, they were careless; Luke 2:44 tells us that they supposed He was with their relatives and friends.
Millions of children are being lost today - spiritually. It is not that they are rebellious, or necessarily that their parents are wicked or selfish. It is just that parents are careless about the religious training of their children. Perhaps they think that someone else is taking care of that - maybe friends or acquaintances. But that responsibility is placed directly on parents, and they cannot escape it. Eph 6:4 says to parents: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”