Be Like Jesus
Last year I sent my fearless munchkin off to face the world in kindergarten, and as the bus pulled up to take him away, I prayed that Jesus would watch over him and offered some last minute advice: be like Jesus. But what does that mean?
Not much is said in the Bible about the childhood of Jesus, except for a few verses in Luke 2, when Jesus is found in the temple at the age of 12 after being separated from his parents for three days. This scenario is a terrible fear for any parent, but imagine the worry and panic Mary and Joseph must have felt about losing the Son of God! But when they finally find him after three days of frantic searching, they see him calmly listening to the teachers in the temple, asking questions, and captivating the audience with his wisdom and understanding. The final verse of Luke 2 is a simple, yet beautiful summary of the childhood of Jesus:
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)
This is my prayer for my son each day as he leaves for school. But it’s not just a prayer for him. It’s a prayer for all of us who want to “be like Jesus.” So what can we learn from this single verse?
Although he was the Son of God, Jesus was also fully human, so he learned how to eat, walk, talk, read, and write just like the rest of us. He even had to learn the Bible. Luke 2:46 tells us Jesus was found “sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions.” As any parent knows, children are full of questions—that’s how they learn! Jesus was the same way growing up. He knew that in order to be an effective teacher in his ministry later in life, he must first be an effective learner. He listened. He asked questions. He increased his knowledge so that one day he could minister to others. One of the best things we can do as Christians is sit at the feet of Jesus and learn from Him. Get into scripture each day. Talk to Him each day. Ask Him questions each day. We are never too young (or old!) to learn.
After being found in the temple, Luke 2:51 says Jesus “went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them.” Submission means to put ourselves under the authority of another. Jesus was not a rebellious child. He knew he was the Son of God, yet he submitted to his earthly parents. He submitted to them even though they did not fully understand what he was about. Jesus obeyed his parents to show love and respect. We are called to submit to God through loving obedience to His commands.
Jesus followed God’s will.
When Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the temple, they questioned why he would do that to them. He replied, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (verse 49). Jesus knew who he truly was. Not the child of Mary and Joseph, but the Son of God. He was sent to be our Savior. That was God’s will for his life. Each of us has been uniquely created with a special purpose from God that God wants us to fulfill.
Can these things about Jesus be said about us today? Are we growing wiser, stronger, and more obedient each day? That is the way Jesus grew, and it is a wonderful goal for us to have as well. Let us “be like Jesus.”