June 20 I Wednesday
“And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.’” —Matthew 3:17
One of the unanswerable questions theologians ask is how Jesus grew in His self-realization. We know Jesus was never less than God, though He lived on Earth as though He were never more than man. But how much did He know growing up of His identity and destiny? Did Jesus always know His divinity and that He would go to the cross, or was this something the Spirit revealed as He grew in relationship with His Father?
The answers to these questions are speculation, but the Bible does provide a few hints of things Jesus learned as He grew. When the 12-year-old Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, His parents found Him talking to the teachers, “listening to them and asking them questions” (Luke 2:46). As a young man, Jesus already knew that listening and learning was wiser than simply stating His opinion. Scripture tells us people were “...amazed at His understanding and His answers” (Luke 2:47). This teaches us the importance of intentionally taking time to discover who God is and His desire for a relationship with us.
Hebrews 5:8-9 tells us, “Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him…” This does not refer to His years of ministry or the immense suffering He experienced on the cross. This was suffering He experienced while growing, learning obedience and dependence on His Father through difficult circumstances.
Scripture does not elaborate on what kind of suffering this was, but we do know Jesus was “...tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15). As C.S. Lewis suggests in his book Mere Christianity, “We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means—the only complete realist.”
As Jesus grew, He also learned the importance of communication with His Father. Prayer is where we connect with God and grow in favour with Him. Luke has often been called the Gospel of Prayer, for there are numerous occasions where Jesus separated Himself from people and circumstances to commune with God. One example is given when Jesus was considering whom to choose as His disciples. Luke 6:12 says, “Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” Growing in favour with God does not just happen but is the result of intentional learning; obedience, often learned through suffering; and most importantly, intimate time in communion with God.
Prayer: Sovereign Lord, it is comforting to know that Jesus Himself had to learn obedience and the importance of time spent with You. Help me to do the same as I want to grow in favour with You. Thank You, God.