KEY: Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and people. = Luke 2:52
The process of learning is a central theme of the Scriptures - as it is for each of our lives. From the beginning, the Lord, the Creator, had instructions for the first humans. When the people of Israel were released from slavery, there were many truths about life that they learned from the Lord. Then, over the centuries, the prophets and other Godly spiritual leaders had a lot to teach each generation of men, women, and children. Much of this was worthy of repetition, and lessons were recorded in the Bible for us in successive generations to read and study. In all this, what aspects of learning matter most?
We know that Jesus was an exceptional person as a baby and as a man - and yet he is also the ultimate exemplar for all of us. As Jesus publically imaged God uniquely well, so we learn from his example how to be better images of God ourselves. And also, as Jesus had the very most special calling from God, through his example we are drawn more to our own special callings, too. This touches both (1) our own continuing education and also (2) our education of the next generation of humans - our children and other people on whom we have influence. An utterly crucial question:What really matters in life's schooling? What should be the main educational outcomes?
Dr. Luke was an especially perceptive and highly educated observer of life. So it is significant that when he describes Jesus' schooling and upbringing, Luke emphasizes three dimensions of young Jesus' intensely significant growing up and learning process. And Luke emphasizes these very same three dimensions twice - both for Jesus' childhood (Luke 2:40) and for Jesus' teenage schooling (Luke 2:52):
o Inward: Jesus' wisdom = purpose, perspective; perceptions; priorities
o Outward: Jesus' stature = strength, physical health and skill - including proficiency in a carpenter shop, without electric power tools(!)
o Upward and Forward: Jesus' "grace" or "favor" - it is the same word [charis, χάρις] translated differently. Jesus' life was defined by the lessons of both grace received and grace given; favor received and favor given. A core meaning of Jesus' life is favor, the divine favor on Jesus whole life, and also the sovereign divine favor he keeps pouring into our lives today. And this amazing grace/favor now shapes our lives and learning - and our wisdom and stature, too.
The first and second dimensions of Jesus' schooling - wisdom and stature - are perhaps better understood and more commonly taught to children and others in our time - though still not learned often enough or well enough!
The third dimension of Jesus' schooling was every bit as important for Jesus and for us. Let us explore together the full implication of our schooling in this same amazing favor, this divine grace, for each aspect of our lives now - and for our next generation, too.