Jesus — at all our years…
This past Sunday was also a day of baby dedication at our church. Two young couples each brought their newborn before the Lord and His Church to declare their commitment of these children to God. From God these babes came. Their souls are His making. To us He grants a great cooperation in the formation of their physical bodies, their mental and social development, and of greatest importance, their spiritual hunger and growth in God.
Jesus Himself increased in these manners, as we read in Luke. Following Jesus’ circumcision, the days of purification, and the offering and consecration of Jesus as their first-born male (Luke 2:21-24; Lev. 12:1-8, Exod. 13:2, 12), Mary and Joseph cared for the infant, toddler, young lad Jesus as would any other Palestinian parents. Through these years, Luke writes, “the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him” (Luke 2:40).
We next hear of Jesus at age 12 following one of the family’s annual trips to Jerusalem. Jesus had gone missing and when three days later the family finally found Him engaging with the teachers, He replied, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49). Then, once again, we read that Jesus returned with His parents to Nazareth “and was obedient to them.” Throughout Jesus teen years and young adulthood we read “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52). Not until His baptism by John at age 30 do we read of Jesus again.
Jesus spent ten times as long identifying with human experience (30 years) as were His total years of ministry (3 years)! On this, Second Century preacher and apologist Irenaeus comments:
“He [Christ] came to save all human beings… who through Him are born anew to God – infants, children, boys, younger men, and mature men. He therefore passed through every human age… that He might be a perfect Teacher for all, not simply in setting forth the truth, but also with regard to kinship of age. … Then, lastly, He experienced death itself, that He might be ‘the Firstborn from the dead, that in all things He might have the pre-eminence’ (Col. 1:18): the Author of Life, existing before all, and blazing a trail for all.”
What a wonderful thought that Christ relates to infant or aged in equal identification and love with the express desire of “bringing many sons and daughters to glory” (Heb. 2:10) through Him.