Eighteen Years of Subservience

By John Thiel, Beholding Christ Series, Part 9, Audio: mp3

Luke 2:51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

An Old Story

When we behold Jesus we are looking at the old, old story. We are beholding our Lord and Saviour in the developmental stages of his life. Jesus the son of God descended from his lofty throne with his father into a state of painful unconsciousness to be born ultimately after nine months into a little baby unconscious of his surroundings. How this little baby Jesus gradually awakened to his family to learn and understand what the Jewish family was doing. The mother teaching the child of the things that the very child when still in heaven was conveying to this planet but now had to learn it all over again from mother. From the age of twelve Jesus fully appreciated from then onwards what all the temple worship and sanctuary activities were all about as he beheld and awoke to his true position as the Lamb of God. From the age of twelve he developed further right on through to the age of thirty. We are filled with awe to consider there was such condescension to come to such a level as a little baby from the heavenly courts. We wonder and marvel at the amazing condescension.

God Gave

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God gave. How true is it that he gave. He gave him to this planet.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

God gave of himself in this child.

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. 16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

Here is an interesting ingredient in the gift. It is enlarged before the minds eye that Jesus the baby born of a virgin and as he grew and developed he would come to a position where he would choose the good and refuse evil.  God gave his only begotten Son to come into such a sequence of development that there was a stage where he did not know how to discern between good and evil. He was a little baby, he did not know. This is the developmental representation of what Jesus had to go through like what we go through.

Hebrews 5:13 For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

How long does it take for a person who by reason of use to have their senses exercised sufficiently to discern good and evil? What is the developmental stage in a child to youth and adulthood? What takes place inside of a human being? It has been carefully assessed in physiological studies in the development of a human being that from zero to twelve there is physical development so that at the age of twelve the physical development starts the adult appreciations which is adolescence starts. Then there is a continuation of development from the mental. From the age of twelve to twenty one a mental development of the brain complete. Then from twenty one to thirty the spiritual part of the brain is still in development and is not complete till the age of thirty. Jesus followed that physiological path exactly. When was it that Jesus commenced his spiritual ministry? At thirty years of age.  Up to the age of thirty he was still developing. He placed himself into the very experience of development as every other human being. What a condescension.

Satan in heaven had hated Christ for His position in the courts of God. He hated Him the more when he himself was dethroned. He hated Him who pledged Himself to redeem a race of sinners. Yet into the world where Satan claimed dominion God permitted His Son to come, a helpless babe, subject to the weakness of humanity. He permitted Him to meet life’s peril in common with every human soul, to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal loss. {DA 49.1}

What God gave. A helpless babe subject to the weakness of humanity into this dominion and enchanted planet where Satan had governing control. We are worshipping God in spirit and in truth. We are contemplating a dimension of love that is beyond human comprehension.  Do you not love your father when you let this dawn upon you? As we look on this amazing gift of a human being placed with the Godhead in him, into such danger, at such risk, what risk was involved?

All heaven and the unfallen worlds had been witnesses to the controversy. With what intense interest did they follow the closing scenes of the conflict. They beheld the Saviour enter the garden of Gethsemane, His soul bowed down with the horror of a great darkness. They heard His bitter cry, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me.” Matthew 26:39. As the Father’s presence was withdrawn, they saw Him sorrowful with a bitterness of sorrow exceeding that of the last great struggle with death. The bloody sweat was forced from His pores, and fell in drops upon the ground. Thrice the prayer for deliverance was wrung from His lips. Heaven could no longer endure the sight, and a messenger of comfort was sent to the Son of God. {DA 759.5}

Can you see the amazing detail of the risk that Jesus entered into?

When Jesus came into the world, Satan’s power was turned against Him. From the time when He appeared as a babe in Bethlehem, the usurper worked to bring about His destruction. In every possible way he sought to prevent Jesus from developing a perfect childhood, a faultless manhood, a holy ministry, and an unblemished sacrifice. But he was defeated. He could not lead Jesus into sin. He could not discourage Him, or drive Him from a work He had come on earth to do. {DA 759.4}

Eighteen Years of Subservience

Lucifer was hot on his heels. Not only to prevent him from developing an unblemished sacrifice, but to prevent him from developing a perfect childhood. Can you see Satan working hard to bring to naught the perfection of that child? Then manhood. To develop a faultless manhood.  Eighteen years from the point of twelve years of age to thirty developing a perfect manhood.

At the age of twelve he was in the temple and he was awakening to who he was. Our scripture reading tells us that he grew in wisdom and in spirit. He developed in age. During his development from twelve to thirty he was still growing in wisdom. He hadn’t been perfectly developed yet because his mental development didn’t finish till twenty one and his spiritual at thirty.

From Twelve to Thirty

From twelve to thirty was eighteen years of development to develop his spiritual and mental faculties. Where did he develop them? He was born of a woman which was a humiliation and in a manger but more so in that he had four thousand years of hereditary that he received. In this body of sinful flesh, he was brought up in where? The slums of Israel.

The Slums of Israel

John 1:46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

What was Nazareth proverbial for? The slums of Israel.

Christ humbled Himself from the highest authority, from the position of one equal with God, to the lowest place, that of a servant. His home was in Nazareth, which was proverbial for its wickedness. His parents were among the lowly poor. His trade was that of a carpenter, and He labored with His hands to do His part in sustaining the family. For thirty years He was subject to His parents. Here the life of Christ points us to our duty to be diligent in labor and to provide for and to train the weak and the ignorant. In His lessons of instruction to His disciples Jesus taught them that His kingdom was not a worldly kingdom, where all were striving for the highest position. {3T 566.1}

Out of Nazareth this Saviour came. What is there for us to behold? We behold what it meant out of this proverbial slum of Israel.

Christ was the only sinless one who ever dwelt on earth; yet for nearly thirty years He lived among the wicked inhabitants of Nazareth. This fact is a rebuke to those who think themselves dependent upon place, fortune, or prosperity, in order to live a blameless life. Temptation, poverty, adversity, is the very discipline needed to develop purity and firmness. {DA 72.2}

Jesus experienced unpleasant circumstances as he developed into manhood. By reason of use we have our senses exercised to become an adult.

The question asked during the Saviour’s ministry, “How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” does not indicate that Jesus was unable to read, but merely that He had not received a rabbinical education. John 7:15. Since He gained knowledge as we may do, His intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures shows how diligently His early years were given to the study of God’s word. {DA 70.2}

What was Jesus doing using God’s word by reason of use?

And spread out before Him was the great library of God’s created works. He who had made all things studied the lessons which His own hand had written in earth and sea and sky. {DA 70.2}

Now he was studying them.

Apart from the unholy ways of the world, He gathered stores of scientific knowledge from nature. He studied the life of plants and animals, and the life of man. From His earliest years He was possessed of one purpose; He lived to bless others. For this He found resources in nature; new ideas of ways and means flashed into His mind as He studied plant life and animal life. Continually He was seeking to draw from things seen illustrations by which to present the living oracles of God. The parables by which, during His ministry, He loved to teach His lessons of truth show how open His spirit was to the influences of nature, and how He had gathered the spiritual teaching from the surroundings of His daily life. {DA 70.2}

Thus to Jesus the significance of the word and the works of God was unfolded, as He was trying to understand the reason of things. Heavenly beings were His attendants, and the culture of holy thoughts and communings was His. From the first dawning of intelligence He was constantly growing in spiritual grace and knowledge of truth. {DA 70.3}

He who was God came down to understand the reason of things. The development of the spiritual he pursued with great diligence so he could grow in wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

His Physical and Developmental Character

He is given that whosever believeth may be saved and not perish. Here is the material we are to occupy our mind with.

Mark 6:2 And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing [him] were astonished, saying, From whence hath this [man] these things? and what wisdom [is] this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

Here is a man who came out of the slums of Nazareth and he has all this wisdom. He was diligently studying things out. This is how he shows us the way by reason of use to have our senses exercised. Jesus a carpenter living an ordinary poor man’s life.

What a life was that of Christ? He was just as certainly fulfilling His mission as the pattern man when toiling as a carpenter, and hiding the great secret of His divine mission from the world, as when He trod the foaming white-capped billows on the Sea of Galilee, or when raising the dead to life, or when dying [as] man’s sacrifice upon the cross, that He might lift up the whole race to a new and perfect life. {2SM 163.3}

Those who are not fulltime in the ministry but working, if they are Gods people, they are fulfilling their mission as Jesus was. That is the object lesson.

Jesus dwelt long at Nazareth, unhonoured and unknown, that the lesson in His example might teach men and women how closely they may walk with God in even the common course of daily life. How humiliating, how rude and homely, was this condescension of the Majesty of heaven, that He might be made one of us. He drew the sympathy of all hearts by showing Himself capable of sympathizing with all. The men of Nazareth in their questioning doubts asked, “Is not this the carpenter” (Mark 6:3), the son of Joseph and Mary? {2SM 163.3}

Doing a thorough work in the carpentry shop and in the saving of souls. One is as important as the other. If we are not faithful in the least then we are not faithful in the other. If we do not pay attention to the small things we will not be careful in the spiritual things.

Heaven and earth are no wider apart today than when common men of common occupation met angels at noonday, or when on Bethlehem’s plains shepherds heard the songs of the heavenly host as they watched their flocks by night. It is not the seeking to climb to eminence that will make you great in God’s sight, but it is the humble life of goodness, of fidelity, that will make you the object of the heavenly angels’ special guardianship. The Pattern Man, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, took upon Himself our nature, and lived nearly thirty years in an obscure Galilean town, hidden away among the hills. {2SM 164.1}

It looks un-important but Jesus was there thirty years.  The greater part of his life was an obscure life.

All the angel host was at His command, yet He did not claim to be anything great or exalted. He did not attach “Professor” to His name to please Himself. He was a carpenter, working for wages, a servant to those for whom He labored, showing that heaven may be very near us in the common walks of life, and that angels from the heavenly courts will take charge of the steps of those who come and go at God’s command. {2SM 164.1}

Oh what a glory the Lord Jesus places upon the common things of life. Here is the pattern man. The daily responsibilities of life.

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 fulfil His word; now He was a willing servant, a loving, obedient son. He learned a trade, and with His own hands worked in the carpenter’s shop with Joseph. In the simple garb of a common labourer He walked the streets of the little town, going to and returning from His humble work. He did not employ His divine power to lessen His burdens or to lighten His toil. {DA 72.3}

Mothers is it a burden for you to bring your children into house hold duties? He was happy for thirty years.  He functioned under the human sinful flesh. You know what a drag that is. Jesus did it like we have to do it.

As Jesus worked in childhood and youth, mind and body were developed. He did not use His physical powers recklessly, but in such a way as to keep them in health, that He might do the best work in every line. He was not willing to be defective, even in the handling of tools. He was perfect as a workman, as He was perfect in character. By His own example He taught that it is our duty to be industrious, that our work should be performed with exactness and thoroughness, and that such labor is honorable. The exercise that teaches the hands to be useful and trains the young to bear their share of life’s burdens gives physical strength, and develops every faculty. {DA 72.4}

Young people, do you get tired of having to do the normal chores of life? Sweeping the floor and the normal things mum wants you to do? If you don’t do it, you will not develop into a perfect person. We have to start sooner or later and it is better to start in childhood rather than wake up at this age and start afresh. We can become as little babes, and it’s a choice. Look at Jesus.

All should find something to do that will be beneficial to themselves and helpful to others. God appointed work as a blessing, and only the diligent worker finds the true glory and joy of life. The approval of God rests with loving assurance upon children and youth who cheerfully take their part in the duties of the household, sharing the burdens of father and mother. Such children will go out from the home to be useful members of society. {DA 72.4}

Throughout His life on earth, Jesus was an earnest and constant worker. He expected much; therefore He attempted much. After He had entered on His ministry, He said, “I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” John 9:4. Jesus did not shirk care and responsibility… {DA 73.1}

How do you feel when you have responsibility? Is that the desire, joy in a little bit of shirking?

It is because they seek to evade this discipline that so many are weak and inefficient. They may possess precious and amiable traits, but they are nerveless and almost useless when difficulties are to be met or obstacles surmounted. {DA 73.1}

This is when we need Jesus the most. When we have to struggle against obstacles. How many people when the path gets hard begin to fold up? Why? They have never developed as Jesus developed. We need to be prepared to be under the discipleship Jesus was under.  It was not because he was divine he had such a perfect manhood but because he applied himself as every man must.

Discipline

The positiveness and energy, the solidity and strength of character, manifested in Christ are to be developed in us, through the same discipline that He endured. And the grace that He received is for us. {DA 73.1}

Answers to life here. Discipline what a dirty word today. Jesus suffered and endured that.

Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

What did Jesus demonstrate in being obedient? He demonstrated obedience for thirty years.

Satan was unwearied in his efforts to overcome the Child of Nazareth. From His earliest years Jesus was guarded by heavenly angels, yet His life was one long struggle against the powers of darkness. That there should be upon the earth one life free from the defilement of evil was an offense and a perplexity to the prince of darkness. He left no means untried to ensnare Jesus. No child of humanity will ever be called to live a holy life amid so fierce a conflict with temptation as was our Saviour. {DA 71.2}

If you think you have a hard time, Jesus had a much worse time. Satan doesn’t want the 144,000 to live on this planet without sin so he is striving against each one of us so that such a thing as a righteous person on this planet cannot live. What are you going to do? Are you going to offend Satan? Are you going to perplex him? We are called upon by our Saviour who said we should overcome as he overcame. Here is Satan’s conflict as he throws it upon us. We will learn obedience by the things which we suffer.

From the time when the parents of Jesus found Him in the temple, His course of action was a mystery to them. He would not enter into controversy, yet His example was a constant lesson. He seemed as one who was set apart. His hours of happiness were found when alone with nature and with God. Whenever it was His privilege, He turned aside from the scene of His labor, to go into the fields, to meditate in the green valleys, to hold communion with God on the mountainside or amid the trees of the forest. The early morning often found Him in some secluded place, meditating, searching the Scriptures, or in prayer. From these quiet hours He would return to His home to take up His duties again, and to give an example of patient toil. {DA 89.6}

Do you have to be locked away in a monastery to learn these lessons? Jesus wasn’t. He spent time alone in nature but not all day. He laboured after he received strength from God.  He brought the two together and he learnt. Form the time that Mary picked him up from the temple through to thirty years of age.

 Like Jesus, we must be made perfect through suffering. Had Christ’s life been one of ease, then might we safely yield to sloth. Since His life was marked with continual self-denial, suffering, and self-sacrifice, we shall make no complaint if we are partakers with Him. We can walk safely in the darkest path if we have the Light of the world for our guide…. {1SM 28.3}

Amen.

Posted on June 19, 2010, in Beholding Christ, Divine Service Sermons, Sermons by John Thiel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Can we be all these things? Each day, we can try to do the next right thing. I have found that by asking for help in difficult situations, and being patient, that I get what I asked for. Persistence and Faith.

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