And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
1. He grew, not in stature only, but in wisdom and favour with God and man. Christ, as Divine, must have had all knowledge and power from the first. But subjecting Himself to the laws of human development, He thereby consented to an unfolding which, in childhood should exhibit a perfect Child, in youth a perfect Youth, in manhood a perfect Man. It was the unfolding of a perfect bud into a perfect flower. At each advancing step He was only evincing larger measures of that wisdom and moral excellence which, in possibility and germ, were in Him from the first.
2. He was content with an obscure and humble home. In these days there is everywhere a great crowding into cities and populous towns. These are thought to have peculiar advantages for the training and education of children. But have not the solid men, for whose living in it the world has most reason to be grateful, oftenest come from hillsides and homes like that of Nazareth? It is in obscure places that youth escapes the wasting strifes of ambition, the unproductive chase after vanities; that he learns not only "to scorn delights and love laborious days," but to think his own thoughts and to stand alone. The wise youth is content just where it has pleased God to place him. If the station is lowly and the lot obscure, he does not chafe and repine; he rather gives thanks.
3. He was a winning example of filial piety and obedience. For thirty years He was contentedly subject to parental guidance and authority. It is the discipline of a well-ordered home which makes good citizens. It is a blessing, above all others, to grow up in a house where the gospel rule prevails. There it is that foundations are laid for every moral virtue. There is the best safeguard of purity. It is there that one learns the sweetness of lowly ambitions and the surpassing wealth of pure affection.
4. It is time to speak of His self-subjection to the discipline of helpful industry. He was called "the carpenter's son." He was Himself the carpenter. , who lived as near to Him as we do to George Washington, speaks of Him as "a worker in wood," and says that He "made ploughs and yokes and other implements relating to husbandry." After Joseph's death, the care of His mother would devolve upon Him. It is therefore proper to think of Him as early sharing the lighter labours of His home. His little feet bear Him on many a helpful errand for His mother. Pitcher in hand, He runs for water to the well. To kindle the fire He gathers and brings the wood. Soon, with growing limbs, He begins to wield the hammer, the axe, and the saw in the shop; to invent and shape toys for Himself and useful things for the house. In the process of time, He settles into a more patient industry. In the little village on the hillside of Nazareth, He is "the carpenter." And such a shop as that in which He wrought, must have been I Do you think He ever made reckless promises, and failed to keep them? Do you think He ever did poor work, and charged the price of good? That He ever concealed a flaw, or tried to get the better of another in trade — can you believe that?
5. He was not in undue haste to have done with the work of preparation and to enter upon His public ministry. In such backing lies the strength of all great workers. Have we not often seen men of ripened age, men of whom the world never so much as heard the name, suddenly burst upon the stage of action, assume an easy leadership, and carry off the best prizes of emolument and honour? They are equal to the places they attempt to fill. They endure. Such men have taken time for preparation. They have both knowledge and self-knowledge. They have that self-control which comes of quiet introvision. They have root; and a root grows: it is not made; only to an extent can it be forced.
6. The childhood and youth of Jesus were marked by delight in the truths and ordinances of religion. At twelve years old, when taken to Jerusalem, His feet swiftly bare Aim to the Temple. Let no parent, or teacher, or worker in the Lord's vineyard look upon a child as too young to be interested in holy things. Little feet linger where earnest words are spoken about (God and duty to Him. Little minds are full of wonder concerning the very deep things of the world unseen. Little hearts would gladly know and choose the way of grateful and loving service. Childhood's years may be given to God. And oh, what glory and safety and blessedness it is to have begun thus early.
7. He made His most earthly work a service unto His Father. Back at Nazareth He was all the time doing His Father's business, just as truly as when sitting among the doctors in the Temple. There is a time to pray, and there is also a time to read, and a time to work. Give to each its own time. And if, in each, your purpose is equally to do the will of God, and bring honour to Him, He is just as well pleased with the one as with the other. Go where God bids you go, abide where He would have you abide, and do each hour the work He appoints for that hour; do all in faith and love, and for His glory; for the rest you need have no fears. Thus the lowly can win as sweet a smile and as large a reward as those who fill the highest places. He is with us in life's valleys as truly as on the mountain-tops. The little child can come as close to His heart as the great king. It is not a great name, or a giant intellect, or conspicuous service, which God wants. It is only a trusting and obedient heart. Who cannot, who would not, give that?
(H. M. Grout.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.