Favor or Grace, You can’t separate the Two (Luke 2:39-52)
I’ve often heard, he or she has found favour in the sight of God. For quite some time that phrase puzzled me. It puzzled me so much to the extent that I sought to found scriptural backing for such a statement.
While searching the scripture, I did find allusions to such a statement. Not only that, I also discovered that one cannot have favor with God or anyone else for that matter without having some element of grace in the picture.
Who better to illustrate this parallelism than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
This scripture gives us a graphic depiction of some key inner workings in the life of Jesus. Very early in his earthly life, we are able to get an inside view as to how this concept of favour and grace are actually intertwined.
If you were to go back to the passage, you would be able to see that everything that took place in this passage took place as a result of what Jesus’ earthly parents did initially.
Notice in verse 39,40 of Luke 2 that his earthly parents, Joseph and Mary were faithful adherents to the Law of the Lord. It is indicated that they had done all that was required of them as far as carrying out any ceremonial acts for a newborn child is concerned. Jesus had been circumcised, he had been named, he had been offered up to the Lord and a sacrificial offering was also made.
Joseph and Mary also received insight from persons who had foreknowledge of who Jesus was and affirmed the announcements.
Now continuing to comply with the Law of Moses, they are worshipping God in the temple. This worship experience is taking place in their own home town of Nazareth. As they are worshipping God in the temple, scripture reveals to us that Jesus, the young child is growing physically but also spiritually. In addition, to his spiritual knowledge, we also learn that he is becoming wise also.
As a result of his exposure to the teachings in the temple scripture reveals that the grace of God was upon him.
For me, that’s an important revelation. The grace of God was in his life as a result of what he had actively chosen to do. We can learn from our Lord and Savior in this passage. A good deduction is, in order for the grace of God to become manifested in our lives, we have to be at a place where we are open to the teachings of the church.
Are we willing to take time out to listen and be a student of God’s word as we live from day to day? Even with our busy daily schedules, each of us can benefit from participating in the teachings of the church as they relate to God, ourselves and how we are to live in this life as people of faith.
Jesus’ parents were diligent in exposing their child to teachings of the faith and this exposure would definitely be beneficial in times to come.
On one particular occasion, as the Feast of the Passover was going on in Jerusalem, while accompanying his parents Jesus ends up remaining in Jerusalem while his parents and others leave.
Not realizing that their son was not with them, a day or so later, Jesus’ parents begin looking for Jesus only to discover that he was not in their entourage. Later, they return to Jerusalem and discover that he was still in the temple in the company of the religious leaders and teachers.
Jesus apparently made a great impact on those in the temple area because the scriptures indicate that those persons in the area were amazed at his understanding and knowledge. After clearing up the matter with his parents, Jesus continues the journey with them to Nazareth. Even as he continue his journey we still see where he sought further wisdom and knowledge. And, as he continue to grow in wisdom and knowledge, he found favor with God and men.
Yes, favor with God and men. Again, my research in this area has helped me to become more aware that favor and grace parallel one another. One cannot have favor without grace nor grace without favor. The two are intertwined.
If Jesus was able to find favor and grace with God and men and we purport to be followers of him, should we not also follow his pattern? I think that we should be if you go back over this passage, you will see that Jesus got to where he was in life
through obedience. First, by his parent being obedient and then by his continual pursuit of knowledge as he studied and dialogued with the teachers of the law.
Yes, favor and grace was attainable for Jesus with God and men but not without cost. The cost was simply making a sacrifice to put himself in the place where he could grow.
Do we honestly place ourselves in similar circumstances? Are we willing to make the sacrifices to grow in favor and grace with God?
God says to us in 2 Chronicles 15:2 “The Lord is with you, while you be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you.” (KJV). And Proverbs 3:4 states, “So shalt thou find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man.”
We too can find favor and grace with God and men but we have to actively seek it out