Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Parenting The Christ

We just returned from a great but brief visit with my folks down in Myrtle Beach South Carolina. The plan for the trip was quickly put together in early December when we realized that none of our four kids and their respective families would not be joining us at our house on Christmas day. In order to “share” them with their growing families we had elected to get together as a family on the 24th. This would be the first time that none of the kids were home on Christmas day, it would be just the two of us. Not that there is anything wrong with spending Christmas day alone with the person you love the most, it’s just that this would have been a first for us.

However, my folks have been spending Christmas together ,alone, for a long time. It made perfect since and worked out wonderfully to jump on a plane and fly down on Christmas morning and spend a few days with them.

While in Myrtle Beach we attended a Christmas show at the Alabama Theater. The three hour show was outstanding. It had it all, singing, dancing, Santa, and some very enjoyable comedy filled the first half. The second half was devoted to the true reason for Christmas, Christ’s birth. Honestly, I have never seen such a moving Christian celebration of the birth of the Lord. The fact that it took place not in a church but in a public theater made it all the more special. In the event that someone connected to the Alabama Theater reads this, My Hat is Off to You! Great Job!

During that show a young lady recited part of the Christmas story recounting the virgin birth and I was touched by the idea of Jesus being, in the flesh, the actual son of God. I have known this fact for many years and I don’t recall it ever being significant to me. I knew it, I believed it. It just didn’t seem to hold any special place in my relationship to God.

A couple days later, while attending Timberlake Baptist Church with my folks I was again struck with the significance of the conception of the Lord. Even though the speaker that morning was very good my mind kept darting around memories of the Book of Luke relating to the conception, birth and childhood of Jesus. In particular the section below kept coming to mind.

Luke 2: 41Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. 42When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. 43After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."
49"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" 50But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

I scribbled myself a note and looked it up later when we went back to my parents place.
Along with the scripture above a question had formed. “Who told Jesus he had to be in his Father’s house? For that mater who told Jesus he was The Christ? Ask some believers and the normal response to that question will be that he was thought all things by the Holy Spirit. That would have been my answer as well.
The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in the form of a dove when he was baptized by John the Baptist. This took place at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, when he was about 30 years old, Luke 3:21-22. After he was baptized and the Holy Spirit filled him we went off into the desert for 40 days, Luke 4:1.
So back to the original questions. “Who told Jesus he had to be in his Father’s house? Who told Jesus he was The Christ? The Bible is actually silent on this subject. We do know though that Joseph and Mary were Godly people. We also know that they were both visited by angles and that they witnessed great and wonderful prophesies about their son.
This does not qualify as a doctrine of faith and it surly has no impact on salvation but I am betting that Jesus was told everything, by his parents (Joseph parented Jesus). The virgin conception, the angelic visitations, the Prophecies of the mother of John, the miraculous conception and birth of John. I am also betting that Mary and Joseph spent many hours teaching Jesus, along with his brothers and sisters about the word of God. That they did their best to raise him as a godly man. In short I am convinced that Mary and Joseph played a vital role in educating and training The Christ.
It’s mind boggling to me to consider that God, the Creator of all Heaven and Earth trusted a man and woman to raise, feed, cloth, protect, and educate the Savior of all mankind. That he had confidence in mortals to allow their influence in the personality and life of the fulfillment of all prophecy and His eternal plan.
Parenting never ends. From the time our children are born and as long as there is breath in our lungs we have the opportunity and obligation to educate, care and love them. Regardless of how old our children are we continue to influence their lives and through them the lives of others. Consider the children we have been blessed with and the magnitude of the responsibility we are entrusted with to help mold them into Godly men and women. Mary and Joseph played a role in the salvation of all of mankind and in doing so changed the world. We, as parents, share with Mary and Joseph the chance to change the world through the examples we set for our children.