Ancient Prophets all foretold it, angels heralded it, and shepherds testified; the Christ Child was on earth! Compared to the total pages comprising the New Testament, there are limit those on His birth and childhood. Simeon and Anna would add their testimonies to those of the Promised Messiah; theirs would be declaration and not just prophecy. Then we jump to age twelve. Our Savior is found in the Temple, going about His Father’s business. “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him (Luke 2:40).
All scriptures are for the benefit of man. Verse 52 of Luke 2 is in no means any less as it concludes the chapter; “And Jesus increased in wisdom and statue, and in favour with God and man.” If you read my column with any regularity, it will not surprise you that I am partial to this verse. It does us good to model increasing in wisdom and statue. What a world this would be if we all were in unity with God and man!
What will become clear in scripture study is that Christ’s purpose for the Condescension was to make an atonement for you and me. This Atonement would empower us to rise above pains, afflictions, temptations, sickness, death, infirmities, and sin for our growth and benefit. This list is conclusive of all that robs us of peace and joy. Isaiah of the Old Testament reminds us of this and then pronounces that with it we are healed. This is a gift; one which is totally unearned.
All four Gospel authors write of Jesus visiting Gethsemane just before His betrayal. His wish was to remove the bitter cup, but His desire was to do the Father’s will. The details of this specific event are missing from what we read today in the Bible. The bitter cup was to provide the infinite atonement. Luke alone is left to provide us with greater detail. “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground (Luke 22:44). It would be repeated a second time as He hung from the cross. The only perfect man to ever live earned the right to satisfy justice with His mercy. We can return to our Father in Heaven by obedience to the laws and ordinances of His Gospel.
Christ calls us friends! It is His desire to be so. No sweeter scripture; Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you (multiple references): holds any greater promised results and blessings! He asks us to be perfect! It is this pronouncement that provides the fuel necessary to share my opinion with you each week. I learn vastly more than I am ever able to illuminate.
We wouldn’t be celebrating His birth if it weren’t for His many gifts to us. The tomb was empty! He is the Resurrected and Living Lord! I wish for you an eventful and prosperous New Year full of growth! A little positive mental attitude and some effort on your part is all that is required to change this year and the new decade. It will make for a better you.
■ Scott Arens is a lifelong resident of Arbuckle. To contact Scott email firstname.lastname@example.org