June 21 I Thursday
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” —Luke 2:52
Some Christians have developed the mindset that pleasing God will upset those they interact with. They worry that if they do what is right and obey God’s instructions, people will make fun of them or complain they are pushy or judgmental. While this happens sometimes, what Scripture warns is that when we please God, we will actually upset the self-righteous community.
The ostracism Jesus faced was almost entirely with the religious, smug and self-righteous Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes and priests. These were the groups that grew angry when Jesus challenged their religious traditions, so much so that they wanted Him crucified. Conversely, Mark 12:37 says, “The large crowd listened to Him with delight.” The common people loved Jesus! He never preached to the gallery or said the right things to impress the right people. Jesus spoke with honesty and integrity, and the common people were enraptured by His wisdom and authority.
It was not only Jesus’s words that made others favour Him but also His attitudes and actions. The Gospel of Luke tells story after story where Jesus associated with the “wrong” crowds and helped the sick and sinful people every good Jew had been taught to overlook. Luke is the only Gospel that includes the Parable of the Good Samaritan in which a member of this most hated group ends up a picture of the intentional love and compassion of Jesus for all people. It is only Luke who includes the Parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin and the Prodigal Son, all of which teach us how deeply Jesus cares for the lost.
As Jesus grew in favour with the Father, the result was He grew in favour with others. He did not wake up the morning of His first day of ministry and suddenly decide to be kind and compassionate. Jesus learned these attitudes as a child, the same attitudes the Father has for us, and He cultivated them as He matured.
The kind of people we are when we are young typically dictates the kind of people we will grow up to be. Learning kindness and compassion at a young age will certainly help us interact with others as we grow older, but it is never too late to begin caring for others. When we allow the Holy Spirit to transform us by His indwelling life, we will find ourselves becoming increasingly more like Jesus. Instead of seeing an angry, judgmental Christian, others will see our care and compassion for the hurting and the lost. The outpouring of our favour with God will inspire favour from others so that, in time, they may begin to desire a relationship with Him too.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for expressing your heart for others through Your Son. Instill in me the same heart that shares your truth and compassion with those I meet today. Thank You, God.
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