Read: Luke 2:51-52
Although Jesus knew that he was the Son of God, he didn’t claim this position while he was on earth. In fact, Jesus submitted himself to the same laws and customs that all good Jews would submitted themselves to, including honoring his father and mother (Exodus 20:12). Luke notes that Jesus was “submissive” to them – the idea that he was under their tutelage for the time he was a young man and young adult years. Jesus’ obedience to his parents was in line with his will to be baptized by John so that he might be able “to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15) and have the authority to send out the 12 to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus obedience didn’t go unnoticed either, as Luke notes that he grew in favor with God and man.
These glimpses into Jesus’ early life were small moments leading up to the ministry that he undertook during the three years leading up to his death, burial and resurrection. Luke in his effort to record a history about Jesus wanted to investigate Jesus to the fullest (Luke 1:1-4). He mentions “eyewitnesses” to events of Jesus life, and it is likely that the eyewitness for the accounts in Luke 2 is Jesus’ mother. Luke makes a special note in the midst of each of the three episodes in the chapter about Jesus’ mother reflecting on these events. She “ponders” and “treasures” the events about his his birth (Luke 2:19), along with Joseph “marvels” about what was said about him (Luke 2:32), and again “treasures” what happened in Jerusalem (Luke 2:51). These events were remarkable to her because she didn’t know what to make of them at the time they occurred, but nevertheless knew that Jesus was special.
While Jesus was on earth, he didn’t claim the authority that was rightfully his, rather he was obedient and humble even to the point of death (Philippians 2:1-12). Paul uses Jesus’ example to encourage the readers of his letter to do the same: be humble and obedient even if it means forfeiting something that is rightfully yours. When Christians do this, they do it out of a desire of love, and in doing so others take note. In many cases, those who later come to know Christ do so because they remember an episode where a Christian did something for them or someone else and it stuck with them and profound impact on their lives as the events of Jesus’ childhood did on Mary. Years later, even long after the person remembered may have forgotten, the one who does remember can testify to a moment and recall God at work in and through another person.
Lord help my obedience be a testimony that will lead others to you!
Read: 2 Timothy 1:1-7
Paul introduces himself in the letter to Timothy as an apostle of Jesus Christ and addresses the letter to Timothy his “beloved son”. Timothy and Paul had a tight-knit relationship. Paul first encountered Timothy in Lystra (Acts 16:1). Timothy apparently had been raised by his mother with a deep respect for the Jewish faith out of which Paul had come although his father was a Greek. Timothy is mentioned in the salutations of five in the New Testament letters including 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians. He also served as Paul’s emissary on a number of occasions to these churches (1 Corinthians 4:17, 1 Corinthians 16:10, Philippians 2:19, 1 Thessalonians 3:1-4). The father-son relationship between these two men is cemented as Paul raised up Timothy as his spiritual child. In the same manner in which a parent longs to see their children after a long time of absence, Paul longs to see Timothy, who brings joy to Paul’s life by Paul merely thinking about the faith that was passed down to him by his grandmother and mother and is now present in Timothy.
Paul wants to remind Timothy here of the things that Paul had given him by the laying on of hands. Paul also reminds him elsewhere to not neglect the gifts he had received earlier in (1 Timothy 4:14). These gifts are spiritual gifts that had been bestowed upon Timothy. Paul does not mention what these gifts are, but he wants to remind him because of the faith that Timothy had similar to his mother and grandmother. He wants Timothy to “kindle afresh” the gifts – that is to reignite them so they may burn and be used with power. Spiritual gifts are received every Christian for the purpose of serving the body (1 Corinthians 12:7, 1 Peter 4:10). Paul says that Timothy should ignite his gifts because the God did not give a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and discipline (self-control, sober-mindedness). Paul and Timothy were a powerful force, enabled by God’s. They exercised love and thought clearly in the manner of all manners pertaining to the mission that they were a part of.
Christians today have the same faith that Paul and Timothy had. Because of the same faith is shared, Christians can do as Paul did when times are hard: remind others or remember for themselves the Spirit that is within them, the gifts they have, and the love they have for one another. When hardship applies pressure to one’s life it is difficult to see through the fog that can cloud one’s mind. It is difficult to remember all that one has available in his or her arsenal to combat hardship. When others are under duress, one can spur them on, reminding them all the good things God has given them and exercise one’s own giftedness towards the one enduring hard times. These kinds of reminders are healthy, and can make all the difference in how one approaches the hardships in life!
Lord, remind me of the powerful resources you have given me, especially when I and others need them!