Daily D – Luke 2:39-40
Luke 2:39, 40 When they had completed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The boy grew up and became strong, filled with wisdom, and God’s grace was on him. (CSB)
Joseph and Mary were good parents. They did what they were supposed to do. Parents, this does not guarantee everything will go according to plan for you and me. It does provide the necessary grounding for good lives well lived.
Parenting is a challenge. Even the best parents are often pushed to the limits of their patience, wisdom, and stamina. (It is as if I can hear every mom and dad who reads these words say, “Amen!”)
However good Joseph and Mary were as parents, they experienced a challenge none of us has: Jesus was the perfect child.
There are delusional moms and dads who think their children are kinda sorta like Mary Poppins: Practically Perfect In Every Way. Even if they cannot see the imperfections in their little darlings, the rest of us have fewer problems in spotting the spots of sin and rebellion.
The New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars played in the Super Bowl in Houston years ago. I was flying somewhere the next day and had an encounter with a mom and her little darling. Actually, everyone within several gates participated in the encounter.
A woman of advancing age and her son were preparing to fly away home. The son was pushing forty and acted like he was fourteen. His every impulse and action declared his mindset was that of a thoroughly spoiled brat.
He made loud demands of his mother. He slouched low in his seat. He blocked the aisle with his posture. He talked loudly on his cell phone for all to hear. He complained about everything from the game to the airport.
This was a wonderful object lesson. Two important insights arose from this encounter. First, our children are much better children than that guy. Second, I am a much better parent than that woman. What I just wrote in the last two sentences is also true for you. Trust me on this.
She was not the perfect mom. He was not the perfect child.
Joseph and Mary were not perfect. They did, however, have the perfect child. Talk about challenges!
There have been times aplenty when my bride and I have had to look our children in the eyes and say, “I am sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me.” It is hard, and necessary, to acknowledge our failures. One of the most important lessons in life is to get good at delivering sincere apologies.
The next time we see Jesus in this chapter, he has grown toward manhood. He is in that in-between state of thinking and acting like a child and thinking and acting like a man. Here is what we can deduce from Joseph and Mary’s parenting skills: Their failures did not transfer to Jesus in negative behavior on his part, but he received them in preparation for that one day on a hill far away on the emblem of suffering and shame.
Jesus the loving and dutiful son would bear any burden for his parents, even their sin (and ours).
What Joseph would never see, what Mary could not bear to look upon, Jesus would take and wash away in his own blood.
What a good boy!
What a fine young man!
What a Savior!
I will live in gratitude to Jesus for bearing my parental sins on the cross.
Our Father, you alone are the perfect parent. Please forgive me for all of my parental failures. May our children and grandchildren not have to bear the burden of our sin. May they know the freedom of your grace and forgiveness and live lives better and more beautiful than anything we could ever hope for them. Amen.
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Jeremiah 18:1-4 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
Philippians 1:4-6 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Jeremiah 17:7, 8 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
2 Chronicles 35:25 Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the male and female singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. These became a tradition in Israel and are written in the Laments. (NIV)