When our son, Adam, was 11 years old, he began complaining of a persistent pain in his leg. I didn’t think much of it at first, because I knew how much Adam enjoys playing basketball. Those guys are always pulling one muscle or another, and they play through the pain until it goes away. Only, Adam's pain wasn't going anywhere. I didn’t actually become concerned until one morning when Adam said he could hardly sleep because of the pain. That spurred me into action. We saw the doctor that afternoon.
It was only a five-minute drive to the doctor's office, but it may as well have been an hour. Adam just stared out the window, imagining the worst. And even though I tried not to show it, I, too, had a twinge of apprehension at what the doctor might say. The moment arrived. After many questions, much poking and prodding, and several deep knee bends, the doctor asked a simple question. Has Adam grown much over the last little while?
I looked at Adam and a light bulb came on. We both smiled and I said, “As a matter of fact, yes.” After closer examination, we discovered that over the last year, Adam had grown more than five inches in height. Growing pains, the doctor said. And suddenly, everything made sense. The short jeans, the tight shirts, the sudden influx of clothes into his younger brother's closet. My son was growing, and at an incredible rate. The pain was just his body begging him to slow down. Growing up. We've all had to do it. And as we see in this reading, even Jesus went through a season of growing.
Even as a Baby, Jesus was recognized publicly as the long-awaited Messiah. This was done earlier in this book by a few shepherds and some wise men, and then again in Chapter 2 by the righteous Simeon and prophet Anna. So while the baby book of Jesus had “Messiah” written all over it, the pages of His childhood were left mostly blank. But as we wonder what Jesus was like as a Boy, let's look at verse 40, where Luke draws for us a picture of His heart.
... the Child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom beyond His years, and God placed His special favor upon Him. Luke 2:40
Jesus was filled with wisdom beyond His years. The heart of God in the body of a growing Boy. But did you get the first part of that verse? Jesus grew up. I wonder what He was like growing up. Did He think His Mom was pretty? Did He try to walk just like His Dad? I wonder if Jesus skinned His knee, twisted His ankle, or fought with acne. Did He ever lay awake at night with the soreness of 11-year-old muscles being stretched to the brink? I wonder if Jesus ever had “growing pains.” Reading from The Message paraphrase of the Bible, let's hear what the writer to the Hebrews said in chapter 2 of the humanity of Jesus.
... He had to enter into every detail of human life. Then, when He came before God as high priest to get rid of the peoples sins, He would have already experienced it all Himself – all the pain, all the testing – and would be able to help where help was needed. Hebrews 2:17, 18 (The Message)
Jesus experienced it all. And that's the beauty of God with us. That's the story of the Cross. Jesus knew the sting of rejection. He felt the point of the thorns. He knew the pain of those nails. And He did it all for no other reason… than love.
God didn’t have any “growing” to do. But He knows we do. He led the way just to show us how.
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