“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and man.” Luke 2:52, KJV
Jesus – Son of the Almighty, king of the Jews, Mary’s firstborn – was born in Bethlehem. He was flesh and blood, a Jewish man with normal development. Ordinary human experiences were part of his existence as a man. He fell asleep in a boat amidst a storm, experienced emotions of compassion and cried at the funeral of Lazarus, and much more. (Matthew 8:5) He is the promised Immanuel – God Himself, that came to live amongst His people.
Why did Jesus allow John to baptise him? Jesus’ answer, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness.” (Matthew 3:15) No wonder then that heaven opened above Him, the Spirit took hold of Jesus, and God affirmed Jesus’ sonship: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17)
And yet, this affirmative chain of events did not prevent him from spending 40 days in the desert where Satan tested Him. But He resisted each temptation. He is, after all, the Son of God and bearer of the Spirit. By his total obedience to the will of his Father, He triumphantly overcame the devil.(Bybellenium, p1348)
Jesus’ earthly ministry took Him to Nazareth where He grew up. As was his custom, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and read from the scroll of Isaiah, concerning the scope of his ministry. He did not focus on his competencies and successes, but on his Source: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me.” To do what? ”To proclaim good news to the poor … to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” And then follows the highlight, ”to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” He declares, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:18-20)
Dear Friend, this Year of the Lord is a never-ending, perpetual year. Jesus’ death and resurrection secured this truth for ever. Every act of power he referred to that day in the synagogue, is still valid for all generations.
His ministry embodied God’s love for a broken, shattered, and lost world. Rightly so, the prophet Isaiah said, “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering.” (Isaiah 53:4) And that, dear reader, engraves the “Yes!” and “Amen!” on the year of the Lord’s favour as Christ had proclaimed! For you and descendants!
The promise of “Immanuel, God with us” started with Jesus’ birth; gained momentum during his life on earth. And today, in the here and now, we are still part of His plan for the world and mankind.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for not abandoning us as orphans to look after ourselves. You came to live with us so that we, as mere humans, could have the opportunity of being in relationship with you as Person. Amen.