Summary: Three things we learn about Jesus from this childhood account.

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Luke 2:40-52

Didn’t You Know?

Woodlawn Baptist Church

December 18, 2005


Several years ago the Journal of the American Medical Association published an article by Dr. Paul Ruskin on the Stages of Aging. In the article, Dr. Ruskin described a case study he had presented to his students when teaching a class in medical school. He described the case study patient under his care like this:

“The patient neither speaks nor comprehends the spoken word. Sometimes she babbles incoherently for hours on end. She is disoriented about person, place, and time. She does, however respond to her name. I have worked with her for the past six months, but she still shows complete disregard for her physical appearance and makes no effort to assist her own care. She must be fed, bathed and clothed by others.

“Her food must be pureed. Her shirt is usually soiled from almost incessant drooling. She does not walk. Her sleep pattern is erratic. Often she wakes in the middle of the night and her screaming awakens others. Most of the time she is friendly and happy, but several times a day she gets quite agitated without apparent cause. Then she wails until someone comes to comfort her.”

After presenting the class with this challenging case, Dr. Ruskin then asked his students if any of them would like to volunteer to take care of this person. No one volunteered. Then Dr. Ruskin said, “I’m surprised that none of you offered to help, because actually she is my favorite patient. I get immense pleasure from taking care of her and I am learning so much from her. She has taught me a depth of gratitude I never knew before. She has taught me the spirit of unwavering trust. And she has taught me the power of unconditional love.” Then Dr. Ruskin said, “Let me show you her picture.” He pulled out the picture and passed it around. It was the photo of his six-month-old baby daughter.

I like that story for several reasons. For one thing, it shows us the importance of perspective. And it shows us how essential it is to have all the facts before we make a decision. It reminds us too, that our children have so much to teach us if we will tune in and pay attention. Even as a child Jesus had some things to teach His parents; and us too if we will tune in and pay attention.

Does the Lord have your attention this morning? Is your heart prepared to meet with Him? Do not let it be distracted by your busyness or with thoughts of everything you have to do when we leave this place. Take a moment and ask the Lord to still your heart so you can receive what the Spirit has for you.

Read Luke 2:40-52.

Now keep in mind that this account is really only part of the larger context of chapters 1 and 2. In these two chapters Luke has made some amazing affirmations about Jesus that help us to understand just exactly who and what He was. From his infancy throughout His childhood and on into adulthood we are shown that this is the Christ, the Messiah, the Chosen One. We are given this glimpse of a twelve year-old boy that confounds His parents, the religious leaders, and still many people today. This passage is not given to us to teach us how to be better parents or how to follow God’s will, but it is given to remind us or teach us that this is the Christ: to give us perspective, understanding, and cause for faith.

He accepted the limitations of humanity

Whenever I think of this I’m reminded of the movie Aladdin when the Genie is talking about why he wants to be set free from genie bondage and not have to live inside that lamp. He’s mentions how powerful he is when he says, “Infinite power – itty bitty living space!” Christ had infinite power as the second person of the godhead, but He chose an itty bitty living space in the human body born to Mary. Paul said it this way in Philippians 2:6-8.

“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Jesus accepted the limitations of a human body. He was born like all babies are born. He grew through childhood just like other children grow. Verse 52 says He grew in stature, like all young boys do. We read in the gospel accounts that Jesus hungered, thirsted, grew tired, suffered and eventually died a death like we all will experience.

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Michael Trask

commented on Jan 4, 2007

Well Said! The people of today are often kind of gnostic in their understandanding of the incarnation of Christ...your exegesis on this text demolishes that and makes us understand that Jesus truly is the God who is with us. Thanks

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