Scripture: Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.    (Luke 2:51-52 NIV)

Observation: Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but some time after His life was threatened by Herod and he and His family fled to Egypt for a time.  Once the threat passed, Jesus’ family moved back to the town where His mother, Mary, and her husband, Joseph, had been living just prior to Jesus’ birth.  As a result, Jesus grew up in Nazareth, a town which evidently didn’t enjoy a very good reputation so that as He began His ministry Nathanael, who would become one of His disciples, expressed what  a well-know saying: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46)
     And yet, in the midst of a place that was less than ideal to raise a family, Joseph and Mary raised the Son of God as their own and saw grow up obedient to them and to Him.

Application: Joseph and Mary took the responsibility of raising God’s Son as their very own very seriously.  They could not take any chances that the corrupting influences of Nazareth would mar His life and character and diligently devoted their lives to giving Him the very best education, that which is based solely on the Word of God.  At the same time, they raised Him to trust and obey them for they knew that in so doing He would grow up to trust and obey His Heavenly Father.
     As parents, we reflect God to our children.  Obedience to us is not an option but to their ultimate benefit.  And yet that obedience cannot be exacted through threats and demands.
   I love these description of the early life of Jesus: “Jesus lived in a peasant’s home, and faithfully and cheerfully acted His part in bearing the burdens of the household. He had been the Commander of heaven, and angels had delighted to fulfill His word; now He was a willing servant, a loving, obedient son” (Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p.72).
     For children and youth, the life and not just the death of Jesus should be an example and an object of admiration.  White writes: “His faithful obedience to His parents until He was thirty years of age is a pattern for youth to imitate more than the Jesus in Gethsemane and upon Calvary”  (Ellen G. White, Lift Him Up, p.33).

A Prayer You May Say: Father, may we as parents reflect faithfully the image of Christ so that as we teach our children to obey they grow uo to obey and trust You, their Heavenly Father.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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