And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. Lk. 2:52
I absolutely love this scripture. The Swahili version says that Jesus “… did that which was pleasing to God and man.”
But it is impossible to please God and man at the same time. This is because God’s ways are as far from man’s as east is from west. Was Jesus a man-pleaser? By no means. You cannot be a man-pleaser and please God at the same time. On the contrary, what this scripture tells us is that Jesus took responsibility over His life and did that which was:
- right in the eyes of God.
- right, fair, good and a blessing to men. No one could point a finger at Jesus and say, “Jesus did me evil” – in word, deed or thought.
In even weightier terms, it means that Jesus became an example, an example of true Godliness. In like manner, the early apostles sought to become examples of righteousness and holiness (Phil. 3:17).
That was what the Lord Jesus did. Jesus did only that which was right and righteous. He did not wrong anyone. Nor did He wrong God. Jesus did the will of God.
That hardly translates into the fact that everyone was pleased with Jesus. It is evident from the Bible that not everyone in Nazareth was charmed by Jesus. In fact, we read that it was in a Nazareth synagogue that the worshippers were so incensed at Jesus’ claims to scripture that they all, in one accord, rose up, and carried Him to the brow of a hill to throw Him down and kill Him (Lk. 4).
They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” Lk. 4:22
They knew Him well. They ought to have been hometown fans of Jesus. And here, in the synagogue, He had done nothing but speak words of grace to them. But instead of praise and thanksgiving, they became offended at Jesus and they wanted to kill Him.
“54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? 57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. 58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” Mat. 13:54-58
All that Jesus did was to speak words of grace and do miracles in their midst. And yet they were so offended at Him to the extent that they wanted to kill Him!
It is evident, therefore, that even in His own town of Nazareth, not everyone was pleased with Jesus. But Jesus did nothing to offend anyone. But the hatred and resentment in their hearts was stirred and they could do nothing but persecute Him.
Jesus became an example! I love that. How about you? How about we also become examples; not examples of unrighteousness, but of righteousness, and of the love of God? Incidentally, that is exactly what we have been called to become as children of God. We are to live our lives in such a way that we become a blessing.
Whether people accept us is a different matter altogether. But we should be prepared to be accepted by very few people in this world because the world is totally against anything that is inclined towards Godliness or righteousness. It is the few who have the Spirit of God in them who can accept us unconditionally.
The call of God upon our lives is a tall order indeed. But it is the most perfect place to be. We should be ready to become accountable in our spiritual lives to the extent that we shall be found to be doing God’s will in this world.
[Below: Muslim ladies in Singida shopping for the Islamic holiday of Ramadhan]