Summary: In spite of all that Satan or man can do to destroy you, Jesus has the power to deliver and set free. Many of God’s people have a wounded spirit and need Jesus’ delivering power.
IN SPITE OF IT ALL
By Pastor Jim May
I know that his is the Christmas Season and that most ministers, during this time of the year, will focus on the story of the birth of Christ. Perhaps that will be the message subject for Christmas Day, but today I want to talk to you more about the things in your life that are the direct, or indirect results of Jesus’ birth. The day that Jesus was born was a day of miracles. It was the day that light, joy, peace and the final phase of God’s plan to redeem mankind began.
Jesus didn’t stay a baby in that manger for long. Just like every other baby, born into this world, he grew quickly. Though it may seem like a long time when they are very small and keep you awake all night, or wear you to a “frazzle” trying to keep them out of things that they shouldn’t get into, the truth is – those days of being a baby, and a toddler will quickly pass.
Around the time that Jesus was two years old, the three Wise Men from the East came to worship him. The Star of Bethlehem had appeared in the skies on the night Jesus was born and these astronomers had seen it and knew that it was a sign of a very special event. It took them two long years of preparation and traveling to get to Jesus. I know that we depict the shepherds, Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus in the manger, and the 3 Wise Men all there at the same time, but the truth is, the Wise Men weren’t any where near that manger that night.
Time passes quickly as Joseph is given dreams whereby angels warn him to gather his wife and 2-year old son, and leave Israel. They traveled hundreds of miles and went into Egypt to avoid Herod’s attempt to murder Jesus. Then Joseph has another dream where an angel tells him its safe to return to Israel because Herod was dead. Then they travel back to Israel but because of a third warning from God in a dream, the family went to Nazareth instead of Bethlehem. It was in Nazareth then that Joseph, Mary and Jesus finally settled down for a while as Jesus continued to grow up.
We then find them in the city of Jerusalem for the Passover Feast when Jesus is 12 years old. He had grown in strength and wisdom in those years as a child. Even at the age of 12 he astounded the wise men of the temple and the elders who had studied the Law so much. They just couldn’t believe that this 12-year old boy could understand and know so much. What they didn’t realize was that it was this 12-year old boy, named Jesus, in another form, who had given Moses the Law on Mount Sinai in the first place.
Mary and Joseph came back to get him after missing him from their caravan and found him teaching the teachers of Israel. They were still his elders, it was not time yet for his public ministry. According the original instructions of God to Moses in the operation of the Tabernacle, the 4th chapter of the Book of Numbers says in several verses, that the office of the priesthood would be given to those who were between the ages of 30 and 50. Since Jesus was to be our Great High Priest, he could not enter into that office officially, as a man, until he reached that age of 30.
So, until that day came, Jesus would remain with his parents and his family, learning, growing and gaining favor with everyone around him. His popularity would grow. His reputation as a very wise teenager would grow. He would be recognized as someone very intelligent, very honest and as someone who had a very compassionate heart. In all of this time He was just getting ready to begin his true ministry to the world.
Luke 2:51-52, "And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man."
And so we see that there isn’t much said about the years of Jesus childhood and his teenage years other than he grew taller and stronger physically, and became wiser with every passing day, learning well the ways of man and understanding well the way that He was to walk among men.
I can only hope that the same can be said of each of us as we walk this path of life. I pray that it will be true that we “ grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”