Summary: In His boyhood, Jesus demonstrates how to develop a balanced life.
We consider a fictional story about a mischievous boy who refuses to grow up as cute. [Show picture of Peter Pan]. But when the same thing occurs in real life, there is something wrong. And that seems to be happening more and more in today’s culture as illustrated by the opening words from a January 2005 article in Time Magazine:
Michele, Ellen, Nathan, Corinne, Marcus and Jennie are friends. All of them live in Chicago. They go out three nights a week, sometimes more. Each of them has had several jobs since college; Ellen is on her 17th, counting internships, since 1996. They don't own homes. They change apartments frequently. None of them are married, none have children. All of them are from 24 to 28 years old.
Thirty years ago, people like Michele, Ellen, Nathan, Corinne, Marcus and Jennie didn't exist, statistically speaking. Back then, the median age for an American woman to get married was 21. She had her first child at 22. Now it all takes longer. It's 25 for the wedding and 25 for baby. It appears to take young people longer to graduate from college, settle into careers and buy their first homes. What are they waiting for? Who are these permanent adolescents, these twentysomething Peter Pans? And why can't they grow up?
Unfortunately this phenomenon is not limited to the physical realm. There are also far too many people who also refuse to grow up spiritually as well. But as we continue examining the early years of the life of Jesus, we’ll be able to learn from the example of Jesus and develop some principles that we can put into practice in our lives so that we don’t become spiritual Peter Pans.
Although there is all kinds of extra-biblical material with fanciful tales of the boyhood of Jesus, there is actually very little about that part of his life in the Scriptures. At the end of Matthew 2, we have the account of Jesus and His family fleeing from Bethlehem to Egypt to avoid the wrath of Herod, and then later returning to Nazareth, where Jesus spent the majority of His childhood. Originally I planned to include that passage in the message this morning, but for time’s sake we’re going to focus on Luke’s account of Jesus’ boyhood.
So go ahead and turn in your Bibles to Luke chapter 2 and follow along as I read:
39 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 2:39-52 (ESV)
These fourteen verses cover the life of Jesus from the time He is a very young child all the way to the beginning of His ministry around the age of 30. Verse 40 takes us from the return of His family to Nazareth all the way to the age of 12:
And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.
Verses 41 through 51 record a single event that occurs over several days when Jesus is 12 years old. And then we have one more verse – verse 52 – that covers Jesus’ life from the age of 12 to the time He begins His ministry around the age of 30: