Luke Series- Session 5- Luke 2:41-52

Session 5- Growing in Maturity

Luke 2:41-52

Session Resources:

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Session Outline

Subject:  Maturity

Central Theme: Growing in Maturity

Objective Sentence:  We can see an example of someone growing in maturity by seeing three traits of maturity in Jesus as He grew.

Keyword:  Traits

Trait #1- Prioritization- Maturity prioritizes the eternal.  v. 41-47

Trait #2- Moderation- Maturity exhibits moderation. v. 48-50

Trait #3- Submission- Maturity submits to authority. v.51-52

Introduction:

Connection:

  • When it comes to the natural world, growth is important.
  • Maturity is necessary for the world to continue to exist.
  • If something stops growing it may indicate that it is sick. It may indicate that it is dead.
  • In the natural world, things that are mature tend to reproduce. Things that are immature do not.
  • When it comes to the spiritual world, the same can be true.
  • The scripture is full of language that describes our spiritual lives in terms of different levels of maturity.
  • People who are newly saved are often called “babes in Christ”.
  • The New Testament describes spiritual growth by talking about being younger and elder.
  • God’s desire is for believers to grow in Spiritual maturity.
  • He wants believers to reproduce.
  • God has called us to make disciples of all nations.
  • So if we are going to do that, spiritual maturity is of utmost importance.
  • Spiritual maturity will never be a reality if there is not spiritual growth.

Tension:

  • There are not many stories in scripture of the boyhood of Jesus.
  • Only Matthew and Luke record anything surrounding his birth.
  • The others almost exclusively cover his ministry.
  • So, this narrative in Luke about Jesus coming to the temple with his parents is unique.
  • It gives us a glimpse into the growth of Jesus, and into his relationship with his mother and stepfather while on this earth.
  • We see a theme of maturity in the passage as this is what is emphasized in verse 40 at the beginning of this narrative, and in verse 52 at the end.
  • What does growth in maturity look like?  Well among other answers, we can see three traits of growing maturity in Jesus in this passage.
  • If we grow in these traits, it will help us to grow up in the Lord as well.
  • Here we experience some of the mystery of the incarnation.  Jesus never stopped being God.  Yet, He took on flesh and in so doing went through the growth process that we must go through as well.  He did it without sin, and in doing so is a great example to us of how we should live and grow as well.

Three traits that exhibit the growing maturity of Jesus in this passage.

Trait #1- Prioritization- Maturity prioritizes the eternal.  v. 41-47

Explanation:

(41) Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover.

  • Jesus grew up in a home that took the scripture seriously.
    • This is a continued theme about Joseph and Mary in the Gospel of Luke.
    • Going to Jerusalem would have been a trip that cost some money.
    • This would have been a similar journey in distance that they took to Bethlehem.
  • Why were they going?
    • They were going to celebrate the Passover as the law commanded.
  • What was the feast of the Passover?
    • The Passover was the celebration of what God did for the children of Israel the night before they were brought out of Egypt.
    • The last plague was the death of the firstborn son from each family.
    • God gave to Moses a word for the people.  He said their firstborn sons would live to see another day.
    • When they put blood of a spotless lamb on the doorway of their homes, the death angel who passed by each home would pass over their home and the child would be spared.
    • They ate specific foods for their Passover meal.
    • At the time of the exodus they were supposed to eat the meal in traveling clothes with their sandals on, an expression of faith in God’s deliverance from Egypt.

 (42)  And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.

  • Notice it says that they went “up to Jerusalem”.
    • This is a statement of altitude and not direction.
    • They went south, but if you are walking from the surrounding areas you are going up in altitude.
  • This particular story happened when Jesus was 12 years old.
    • This age would have been approaching the year at which Jesus would have been when Jewish children were considered to have the moral responsibility and compass of adults.
    • This may have been the first year that he went to Jerusalem for the event.  It would have been the first time he had to by the law.

(43)  And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.

  • The text seems to indicate that they traveled as a community.
    • Everyone making the trip would have gone together. There are “strength in numbers”.
    • Traveling this way would have kept them safer from thieves than if they were to travel alone.
    • In Jewish life, family was very important, and a community of people who were valuing religious observance like this would provide a great help to the individual families in raising their children- even down to being a help on a trip such as this.
  • We do not know if Jesus intentionally or unintentionally tarried behind.
    • We do know though that His tarrying behind is not disobedience to His parents.
    • Some have noted that this was the beginning of him feeling that his submission to his heavenly father was being juxtaposed with his relationship with his human parents.
  • Either way, we see him prioritizing being in the temple and talking about God the Father.  We’ll see that in the next few verses.

 (44)  But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.

  • If you have ever been without your children in public not knowing where they were you’ve had that panicked feeling.
    • I am sure this is how Mary and Joseph would have felt in this moment.
    • They were frantically looking for Jesus everywhere.
    • They were asking family and then even friends and neighbors if He had been seen.
    • Nobody knew where Jesus was.

 (45)  And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.

  • They were already out a day’s journey, so it would have taken a day to get back to Jerusalem.
    • Do you think they were mad?  Probably.
    • Do you think they were anxious?  For sure.

(46)  And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.

  • The three days would have included a day’s journey there and back, as well as a day of looking in Jerusalem.
  • Did they check for him at the different places they were at in Jerusalem?
    • Maybe they checked the inn, or the house where they had stayed.
    • Maybe they checked the market place.
  • They finally went to the temple.
    • Imagine their surprise when they found him sitting among the most academic and authoritative teachers in Jerusalem.
    • This would be like finding your sixth grader sitting with the college professors, authors, and pastors.
  • What was he doing?
    • “Both hearing them, and asking them questions”…
    • He was respectful to those in authority, but was also challenging them by his questions in ways that induced a reaction.
    • When they found Jesus he wasn’t just lagging behind for no reason.  He was prioritizing engaging with God’s Word with those who were committed to knowing and teaching it to the people.
  • Notice the reaction of those that were there.

 (47)  And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

  • These “doctors” (the word is transliterated “didaskalos”- instructors, masters, teachers- think discourse, didactic) were “astonished”.
  • What would it take to astonish men like this?
    • Of course Jesus had a mastery of the scripture because He was the author of the Scripture.
    • There was something supernatural in His understanding that caused them to respond this way.

Application:

  • We see in Jesus the prioritizing of that which is eternal.
  • He was prioritizing the Word of God.
  • Part of maturity is the ability to discern between what is bad, good, and best.
  • Choosing the best when it is more comfortable to choose the bad, or even the good at its expense, marks those who are mature.
  • This is the Bible’s command in Romans 12:2.

 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  Rom 12:2

  • As believers, what honors God is prioritizing that thing which is eternal.  This was Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 6:19-21.

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  (20)  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  (21)  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Mat 6:19-21

  • As believers we should prioritize our relationship with God, and helping others to get saved and grow in their faith.  This is what will matter in eternity.  This is how we lay up our treasures in heaven.

Response:

  • What are you choosing that prioritizes the temporary or even sinful over the eternal?
  • What should you do to prioritize the eternal?

Three traits that exhibit the growing maturity of Jesus in this passage.

Trait #1- Prioritization- Maturity prioritizes the eternal.  v. 41-47

Trait #2- Moderation- Maturity exhibits moderation. v. 48-50

(48)  And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

 

Explanation:

  • Maturity is displayed in our ability to function and maintain relationships.
  • We see this exemplified in Jesus here as he had to respond in his relationships with his parents.
  • When they finally find Him in the temple, they responded first in amazement.
    • Were they amazed that he was in the temple?
    • Were they amazed at what He was doing there?  It was more than likely a little bit of both.
  • Mary questioned Jesus as to why he was there and not with them.

“Why hast thou thus dealt with us?”

  • Her question has an accusatory tone, as if he was doing something to them.
  • She says that their search had caused them to be “sorrowing”.
  • The word here translated as sorrowing could also be translated as “in torment.  She uses the word for a deep kind of sorrow.
  • Jesus, of course, meant no such torment, as his next statement would indicate.
  • Jesus had very human relationships like we have while he was on the earth, and even those in authority sinned against him and questioned his motives.
  • If anyone should have known that Jesus was not sinful or hurtful in his decision making at this time it should have been Mary and Joseph.

Application:

  • We see him being questioned.
  • We see him being mildly accused by those who love Him.
  • Jesus has been through what we have been through.
    • There are times when my motives have been right and I have been questioned and accused.
    • There have been times where people have been doing the right thing, and it appeared to me that they were trying to “torment” me.
    • Jesus has experienced all of this.    Hebrews tells us this about Jesus’ experience while He was on the earth:

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Hebrews 4:15

Response:

  • Is there someone you are assuming is wrong that may be right?
  • What is the right way to respond when you are falsely accused?

 (49)  And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?  (50)  And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.

Explanation:

  • Jesus’ response to his mother is interesting.
  • He shows a level of moderation in his response.
  • His response to her comes in two questions.
  • These questions are both reasonable, gentle, and appropriate to the situation.  He does not respond in an unkind way.  He does not respond in a way that is not honoring.
  • Notice the two questions:

“How is it that ye sought me?”

  • In a sense he was asking, “What was your method of looking?” or “How did you reason out where I would be?”.
  • It is as if he was saying that since they knew what His true identity is that they would have thought of the next question.

“wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”

  • Another way to think about this question is, “Did you not think that I would be doing the kind of thing that my father would want me to do?”.
  • The idea here is that He is referring to God as His Father.
  • He believed that they should have thought that if He was in Jerusalem that He would be in the Temple, because that is where God’s manifest presence is.
  • This is where the sacrifices happened.
  • This is where God’s people worshipped the Father.
  • It’s as if he is saying that their logic and reason must have included His mission.
  • Why was Jesus here?   He was here to do His Father’s business, and to complete His Father’s mission.
  • Jesus did not argue.  He did not fight.  He merely explained His thinking and His allegiance.  His answer was gentle, reasonable, and firm.
  • The scripture then says that they did not understand His answer.
  • We can set this answer in the context of the whole of His life.
  • His mission to us is clear because we know about His ministry, His death, His burial, and His resurrection.  At the time they did not quite understand what He meant.

Application:

  • Jesus exhibited maturity in the moderation in His answer.
  • He did not dishonor His parents in the answer.
  • He did not sin in His answer.
  • He was gentle, but firm.
  • What a good example for us.  Often when we are accused we are harsh in our response.  We overreact.  We accuse in return.  We retaliate.
  • The Bible says:

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Proverbs 15:1

  • Paul taught us in Philippians 4:5:

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Philippians 4:5

  • A sign of maturity is responding appropriately to the situation.  We must be reasonable, gentle, and moderate in our response to those around us.

Response:

  • How do you respond when you are attacked, accused, or questioned?  Are you gentle?

Three traits that exhibit the growing maturity of Jesus in this passage.

Trait #1- Prioritization- Maturity prioritizes the eternal.  v. 41-47

Trait #2- Moderation- Maturity exhibits moderation. v. 48-50

Trait #3- Submission- Maturity submits to authority. v.51-52

(51)  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.

Explanation:

  • Jesus submitted to His parents authority.
  • The verse says that He “was subject unto them”.
    • This means that He understood that He was under their authority in their home, and did what they asked Him to do.
    • His relationship in submission to His heavenly Father meant that He understood that God had placed Him under the authority of His earthly parents.
    • Even though He is the King of the Universe, and Creator of everything, He placed Himself under authority and submitted to it.
  • What an incredible example for us.
  • Did this mean that Jesus was of lesser value than His parents?   Of course not.
    • He was of greater value being God.
    • Submission was not an expression or definition of His value.

Application:

  • The same is true for us.
  • The authorities that are in your life are placed there by God.
  • This does not mean that everything that they do is perfect.  It does not mean that they are loved more by God, or are of greater value to God than you are.
  • What it does mean is that God has given them a stewardship of authority for your good.
  • In Romans 13, God proclaims this principle in relationship to human government:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  (2)  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  (3)  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:  (4)  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Romans 13:1-4

  • The same is true in the home.  Husbands are to submit to their wives and wives are to submit to their husbands.

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Ephesians 5:21

  • The husband is to be the spiritual leader, provider and protector in the home.
  • He is to love his wife the way Christ loved the church.
  • God has put husbands in authority over the family and has stewarded them to lead the family.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Ephesians 5:25

  • The wife is to honor and respect her husband and to follow his leadership.
  • She is of equal value to her husband, but has a different role in the home.

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Ephesians 5:22

  • Children are to submit to the authority of their parents.
    • Again, this does not mean that they are less valuable or loved by God.
    • It is just that God has given parents to children to teach them to obey and to help them to grow.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

Ephesians 6:1

 

  • A sign of maturity is that people understand and behave appropriately to the authority that God has placed in their lives.

Response:

  • What is your attitude and response to those that are in authority in your life?
    • Boss
    • Police
    • Highway Patrol
    • Teachers
    • Pastors
    • Parents
    • Governmental authorities

Conclusion:

 (52)  And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Explanation:

  • In this passage we have seen Jesus exhibiting maturity through his actions.
    • We saw him showing maturity in what He prioritized.
    • We saw Him exhibit maturity through a moderate, gentle, and reasonable answer to His mother.
    • We saw Him exhibit maturity through His submission to the authority of His parents that God the Father had placed Him under.
  • Luke 2:52 summarizes much of the rest of Jesus’ upbringing. In it we see the results of the maturity that produced those kinds of responses.
  • This same kind of verse came before the narrative.  Notice Luke 2:40:

(40)  And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

  • In verse 52 we see the Bible describe the growth of Jesus.
  • Three words describe the areas of growth:
  • He grew in wisdom.
    • This meant that He was growing intellectually and in discernment.
  • He grew in stature.
    • This meant that He was growing physically.  Again, although He was God, He was no less human, and went through all the things that we go through.
  • He grew in favor.
    • This word translated “favor” is the same word, “charis”,  found in verse 40.
    • The idea is that His relationships with those around Him were good.
    • What kind of relationships?  The verse tells us.
      • He had favor both vertically and horizontally.
      • His relationship with God was marked by favor, as well as man.

Application:

  • What an incredible statement for what we want our kids to be and how we want them to develop!
  • What an incredible statement of how we ought to grow ourselves!
  • As we grow in our discernment, our ability to prioritize, our moderation, our ability to respond appropriately, and in our submission to God’s authority and the human authority we are placed under, there will be growth in our relationship with God and with those around us.
  • Spiritually mature people enjoy the results of that maturity in their relationships with God and others.

Response:

  • Is your life marked by an appropriate level of maturity?
    • Are you discerning in prioritizing the eternal?
    • Are you reasonable, gentle and moderate in your dealings with others?
    • Are you submissive to the authority that is in  your life?
    • Are you growing in favor with God and man?

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