The only story we have of Jesus as a child outside of the Christmas story is found in the second chapter of Luke, where Jesus was missing for three days after his parents had returned to Nazareth, each thinking He was with the other.
In Luke 2:46 – 47 we read:
46) Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking questions. 47) And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.
These words come again with Christ as an adult in Luke 4: 31-32:
Then He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbaths. 32) And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority.
The occurrences of the words ‘astonishment’ followed by ‘authority’ appear several times throughout Jesus’ ministry, because His authority, His claims to divinity and being the Son of God, never wavered.
Who He was, and why He came never changed in His preaching, despite the intense pressure the religious leaders brought to bear on Him to recant.
His words were consistent regarding the issues surrounding our salvation, and His call to it consisted of three essential parts:
- Repent: God will not wink at sin or compromise on what His Word says. In Psalm 138:2 David writes that the Lord God has exalted His Word above His Name, therefore if His Name is above all names, how do we get to thinking that He will nullify or compromise His Word, and therefore it doesn’t apply?
- Believe: The Father will not brook doubters, for we read in the Gospel of John 3:18: He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
- Follow: The Father will only acknowledge those who acknowledge His Son. In John 15:23 we read: “He who hates Me hates My Father also.”
And when Jesus was transfigured on the high mountain, we have the second manifestation of God’s approval of His work, as we had at the beginning of His ministry, when He came to John the Baptist.
In Matthew 17:5 we read:
And while (Peter) was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”
We have other admonitions by Jesus to take up our crosses, count the cost, forsake that which we love for His sake, and to be ready for persecution.
These are admittedly not easy, but for the sake of our salvation, if Jesus teaches with astonishing authority, the uniqueness and consistency of His words are designed to penetrate, to reach us, to break down our resistances and remove our excuses for not doing them
In effect, they sift those who claim to believe from those who truly believe.
We have, interceding on our behalf, not only the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and Chief Judge, but also a Master Teacher whose words are still being discussed some 2,016 years after His birth, even to the point of denying His existence.
Such is the manner of bold, authoritative teaching.
Take the Gospel seriously, because it’s not pick-and-choose, and it’s best you not be found lukewarm with one foot in the world.
Our Lord has overcome the world, and He is the Living Word.
As He overturned the money tables, so too, will He flip backwards and topple all who seek to wink at God’s mercy and say, “I’ll do it at the end.”
The ‘end’ may come suddenly, and sooner than you think, and you’ll have died in your sins, as well as your ‘sleep.’
Therefore I pray:
Father in Heaven, make me to understand the neediness of my time, and give me what I need to change what has to be changed in my own life, and to affect the lives of others for Your kingdom.
Help me, like Issachar’s sons, to understand the times, and know what to do.
Help me to subject myself to the authority my Lord and Savior would wield over me as He teaches me to follow Him into Your Presence, in reverence to You, in faithfulness to Him, and in obedience to Your Holy Spirit.
By the Power of His Blood and in His Holy Name I ask it, believing I have already received.