While most teachings about the Lord Jesus focus on His adult life and earthly ministry, a few important lessons are also found in His life as a child. The Bible tells us that Jesus lived a sinless life, and this means that He lived a righteous, God-pleasing life even as a young boy.
In this article we will take a quick look at one of the moments in Jesus' early life as a young boy. We know that as the Saviour of the world he had to live a perfect life so that He could fulfill the will of God. This means we ought to look at His childhood.
Doing everything in obedience to God
The Lord Jesus exhibited perfect character. Everything that He did was pleasing in the sight of God. In fact, everything that He did, He did in obedience to God (see John 8:28). This includes His actions as a young boy.
Luke 2:39-52 gives us a glimpse of Jesus' childhood. Verses 39-40 tells us that after a few people said He is Israel's and the world's Saviour, He went home with His earthly parents to Nazareth. There, He "grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him."
The verses that follow this description tell us of an account where, as a young boy aged 12, Jesus already amazed the people in the temple in Jerusalem. There He was listening to the teachers and asking them questions, and "all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers" (v. 47)
As this was happening, Jesus' own earthly parents were searching for Him, for they did not notice that He wasn't with them as they went home to Galilee. Mary, upon finding Him, told Him that they were worried because they couldn't find Him.
To this, Jesus gave His famous response:
"Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" (see verse 49)
Obedience to God at all costs
From their exchange, we understand that at an early age, Jesus already knew that He was sent for something more than just an earthly life. He knew that He was meant to do God's will on earth, and was even eager to do it - at age twelve.
If we were in Jesus' position, we would've gone out to do ministry right then and there. Jesus, however, didn't really think of preaching or church ministry. He thought of doing God's will, and that's what He did. Luke 2:51 tells us,
"Then [Jesus] went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart."
Many Christians today, passionate as they are to "serve God," fail to realize that it's God's will for us to honor our parents and for us to take care of our families. Young Christians also, in their "passion for ministry," fail to submit themselves to their parents in obedience to God.
Jesus' very submission to His earthly parents teaches us a few things:
1) It is God's will for us to honor our parents
God did command us to honor our fathers and mothers. Jesus Himself did this to show us its importance. Many of us ignore this command, but Jesus did not, and His actions should teach us to obey it.
Jesus is God in the flesh, and His actions teach us that God seriously want us to honor Him by honoring our parents.
2) Our family is our first ministry
Jesus knew that He was meant to do the will of God - and started doing it in His own household first.
The Lord's very actions teach us that we must obey God inside our homes first, before we go out. Our family matters to God. In fact, God promised that if we believe, our families will be saved as well. We must thus serve God by sharing Him to our families.
Our relationship with our families will serve as a testimony of God's love to them through us. Our family is our first ministry.
3) God's will should take precedence over our ministry ambitions
Jesus knew that He should be about His Father's business. As a young boy, He amazed people in the temple, and yet when His earthly parents arrived He submitted Himself to them.
Why would Jesus submit Himself to His earthly parents, even after saying that He should be about His Father's business?
It's because God's will is more important that any public ministry.
Many Christians today spend so much time, energy and resources in church ministry, forgetting that God's will isn't just church ministry. They forget that it's His will for all men to be saved (see 1 Timothy 2:4), and thus just focus on their dreams for their churches, Bible study groups, and Christian fellowships. And we could be guilty of this, too.
We must take care to know God's will (see Ephesians 5:17). We must obey His will, not our own ambitions.