They say that most children at one time or another think or act like they know more than their parents. But, imagine a child who actually did! In fact, He had even been in existence far longer than they had. Would that not give Him the right to tell them a thing or two?
Pictures of Jesus as a child, with a halo above His head and stories of Him as a child “miracle worker” are complete fabrications of people’s imagination. Jesus was a normal child and a normal teenager. Yet, at the same time, He was completely different than every other young person because He was the omniscient, omnipotent, eternal Son of God.
No parent is perfect and Joseph and Mary were not perfect either. Their imperfections and limitations would never be excuses for any defects or failures on Jesus’ part. Of course, as the Son of God, “He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth” (1Peter 2:22). He was not capable of anything less than perfection because “in Him is no sin” (1John 3:5). Limited knowledge on the part of the parents was never an excuse for pride or disrespect in a more knowledgeable Son. Instead, there was a humble spirit, focusing on what was positive in Joseph and Mary.
Their desire was to complete the law of Moses (Luke 2:22). Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of Passover (Luke 2:41). Jesus observed this healthy habit and practiced it as an adult. “He came to Nazareth where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day” (Luke 4:16).
He also imitated the work ethic He saw in His legal father. On one occasion, the people of Nazareth said about Him, “Is not this the carpenter’s son?” (Matt 13:55).Mark records the same incident and says they asked about Jesus, “Is not this the carpenter?” (Mark 6:3). While the Lord Jesus was the master workman Who fabricated the worlds (Prov 8:29, 30, ESV), He learned the trade of His legal father. If tradition is right that Joseph died when the Lord Jesus was a young man, He then took over the family business.
Your parents are not perfect either. Perhaps they have obvious faults and failures. Your job is not to point them out or to correct them, but rather to focus on positive virtues, values, habits, and abilities in your parents that you can imitate. “A wise son maketh a glad father” so study your parents. What could you learn from them? It may be their responsibility to teach and raise you, but it is your privilege to get a close-up look at positive qualities in the role models God has put in your life so that you can duplicate these virtues and habits.
As a young person in the home, Jesus did not have it easy. His half brothers and sisters were not saved and they did not understand Who He was. Later on, they even said He was “out of His mind” (Mark 3:21, Darby). Mary knew Who He was, but she wisely and privately enjoyed the truth in her heart. If Joseph did die, the responsibility for maintaining the family financially would have fallen on the oldest son’s shoulders. Life in His home in Nazareth was far from easy. In spite of challenging circumstances, He achieved spiritual success. Isaiah gave Jesus’ secret 700 years before Jesus was born. He said, “He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant and as a root out of a dry ground” (Isa 53:2). The people around Him and even in His own family were spiritually parched and unproductive for God. Jesus kept His focus on the Lord as He grew up “before Him.” He lived with that priority when Joseph and Mary unwittingly left Him in Jerusalem for three days. When they expressed their distress, He calmly, and respectfully, asked, “Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49, ESV). His lifestyle and interests even as a young boy were such that they should have known that He would have been in His heavenly Father’s house discussing the Scriptures in the temple at the first opportunity. Knowing His values, interests, and goals, His parents should have known where He would be and what He would be doing.
The wise man wrote, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches” (Prov 22:1). Having a good reputation is not something you start working on when you become an adult. Right in the home before parents and siblings, Jesus established His reputation. Circumstances are never an excuse for failure or spiritual detours into sin or wasted living. So, how is it going? As a young person, what is your reputation among those who know you best? What do the people in your home say about your work ethic, values, and treatment of others? It is not easy, especially when parents or siblings are not saved. The secret to success has not changed, so make it your goal to live “before Him” and others will see your values, goals, and lifestyle, even if they do not agree with you.
In the Jewish culture, Jesus was beginning to enter manhood at age 12. This was the time when a young man would start to become independent and be responsible to the Lord. Joseph and Mary and their family made the customary annual trip to Jerusalem with all the extended family and friends from Nazareth. Upon completing the required participation in the Passover Festival rituals, they headed home. By the time they realized Jesus was not with them and they found Him again in the temple, three days had passed. They expressed their worry to Him, which was unfounded, and showed their ignorance as “they understood not” (Luke 2:50). Nevertheless, the Bible says, “He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them” (Luke 2:51).
Submission is not always easy. It is especially difficult to submit to someone who does not understand you or is wrong in his thinking. Submission in the Bible is a military word giving the idea of putting yourself under another who ranks higher. Jesus recognized the divine order that parents are responsible to the Lord for those in their house. The principle is: whoever is responsible has the final word in the decision. Jesus calmly and respectfully expressed His opinion, and then He went home and was subject to their decision and direction.
God has so designed it that children are to submit to their parents (Eph 6:1-2). Submission implies a trust that parents will seek the best for their children. Even when the child sees otherwise, they are to take their place in God’s order for the family and submit to their parent’s desires and direction. Submission in your home is not a negative thing, but rather a good thing. Even when your parents appear to not understand things as you see them, it will be best to honor God’s order and submit to them. Will you not want your children to follow this example? Submission is not a sign of weakness, but rather a display of strength, the strength of self-control. Submission in difficult circumstances is Christlike and reminds God of the submission of His Son.
Submission at home is also great training for the rest of your life. We are all to submit “one to another in the fear of God” (Eph 5:21). Believers should constantly live with the mindset of thinking about where they fit in God’s order for every relationship and seek opportunities to show Christlike submission. So, don’t wait and struggle with issues of submission when you are older. May God help you to see the value and beauty of being like Christ as a young person in your home.