And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:52)
If Jesus grew up, we should be reassured that we too must grow up. Most of us would have no problem with the idea that Jesus grew up, as Luke says, “in stature”; developing from a child to a man. We, too, grow physically from childhood to adulthood through physical stages and by the grace of God. Jesus grew in stature.
Even more, Luke tells us that Jesus grew up in wisdom. Wisdom is not something that comes without time and experience. Jesus had to grow up into wisdom through days and years, as well as through a variety of life experiences. Although He was fully God, Jesus was also fully man. Just as surely as He experienced the changing seasons of the natural world, Jesus went through physiological changes, experienced relational challenges, and adjusted through the changing stages of human development.Under the guiding presence of His Father, His experiences as time passed became wisdom for Jesus. He grew up in wisdom and stature.
Luke ends his summary of Jesus’ early life with another note on how He grew up: “in favor with God and man.” Jesus grew – that is, He developed in ever-increasing measure – in favor with God and the people around Him. The implication of Luke’s statement should also assure us. Just as Jesus had capacity for physical and mental development, He also had capacity for development in His relationship with the Father and people. With the passing years, there was more room for Jesus to grow with God and people. As we all know, vibrant relationship with God and favorable relationships with people does not come ‘naturally’ but requires some effort. This was true with Jesus, and it is true with us. Jesus grew in favor with God and people, even as He grew in stature and wisdom.
With time, experience and effort, Jesus developed as a whole person. He grew up physically, mentally, spiritually, and relationally. As we live our daily lives, we should ask our Father to help us to grow in the same ways. Take a few moments to consider these practical questions:
- Am I growing physically by honoring God with my physical body and its development?
- Am I growing mentally, letting God shape wisdom into my life through my time and experiences?
- Am I growing spiritually by pursuing daily means for developing a vibrant relationship with my heavenly Father?
- Am I growing relationally with others by doing what is necessary to cultivate favorable relationships in my family, workplace, neighborhood, and church community?