Boy Jesus reveals teaching methods

th-68We have one story about Jesus when He was a child. He was twelve. It was at the time of the Passover, when Jews from the surrounding towns and villages came to Jerusalem to celebrate God’s rescue of their nation.

One day into the return trip of Jesus’ family and relatives to their home in Nazareth, they realized that Jesus was not with them. It was one of those typical, “Well I thought he was with you” moments. Obviously worried, they returned to Jerusalem and spent three days looking for Jesus. Three days. That’s a long time to not find a twelve-year-old in a big, crowded city. That’s three nights going to sleep without finding Him. How do you do that? We had an incident this week with our Chandler that kept us up all night. I can’t imagine spending three days and three nights like that. His parents must have been a wreck by the time they found Him in the temple.

Mary took it personally, like any good Jewish mother would: “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” (Luke 2:48) As if Jesus was purposely trying to make their lives miserable.

Jesus replied, “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49) Jesus wasn’t exactly concerning himself with their problems. He was operating way beyond them. He was already making use of his divine nature, while growing “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52) When they finally found Him, He was “in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard Him was amazed at His understanding and His answers.” (Luke 2:46-47)

We can tell a lot right here about the teaching tactics Jesus was to use throughout His ministry — something we could all learn from.

First He listened. If you have something you want to convey to someone, you start by listening to them. You don’t just start in with your stuff. You first find out where they are; who they are; and what they know. By this, you are also making them important. Many Christian leaders are so anxious to get to what they want to say that they skip this step. Skipping this step belittles people and makes you appear arrogant, even if you are not.

Then He asked questions. Questions are far more involving than answers. Questions invite engagement. You can spout answers and never engage someone, but if you ask them questions, they have to join in the conversation. Jesus was asking questions that He knew the answers to, but He wanted to hear what they had to say. He wanted them to do their own thinking.

Then finally He got to the answers. This is brilliant. If you do this right, people will be begging you for the very thing you wanted to tell them all along.

“Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” If you’re looking for Jesus today, you’ll find Him in the temple, which is in you, and you’ll find Him doing the same things He did when He was a boy. He’s listening to you, asking you questions and giving you answers.

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6 Responses to Boy Jesus reveals teaching methods

  1. Mark Seguin says:

    Luv this: “If you’re looking for Jesus today, you’ll find Him in the temple, which is in you, and you’ll find Him doing the same things He did when He was a boy. He’s listening to you, asking you questions and giving you answers.” and Amen – what a great loving Lord we have and serve… 🙂

  2. Janet Shalinsky says:

    Brilliant ending, John. ❤️

  3. Dave T. says:

    Hello John, thanks for your Catch newsletters, I enjoy them. In today’s Catch you mentioned that Jesus was” already making use of his divine nature”. That is curious to me. If Jesus uses his divine nature by displaying his own inherent power, does that not nullify his mission to be fully man as he goes through this life and to the cross ultimately. Yes, he is God but does not grasp at being God and lays aside his own power, (emptied himself, Phil.2.7) as God. If I am to follow him and he uses his own God powers while a man then I am at a serious handicap. Don’t mean to nit pick but this topic is close to my heart.

    • Hans says:

      Hello Dave T.,
      (Sorry John for ‘butting in’ here!) – the verse you mention, Phil 2:7, and also Phil 2:8, have just been going through my mind these past few days.

      I also looked this up in John Gill’s commentary just now – http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/philippians-2-7.html

      As I understand it, Jesus was 100% God and 100% man (as is often said).
      “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;” (Col 2:9) – but He laid it aside, did not ‘pull rank’, so to speak, and, as the lowliest of men, went to the cross for us, though His divine power shone through regularly.

      There is probably enough material here to write a book…

  4. Dave T. says:

    Thank you Hans for that reply. I am especially interested in Jesus’ comments about his own use of his powers . He says of himself that the words he spoke and the actions he took were not of his own initiative. That he only spoke or did that which he saw his Father in heaven doing. It challenges me to be that dependent on God if Jesus was that dependent on his God. When I see Jesus in his humanity waiting on God his Father for instruction and permission it helps me to follow him and discover more about how he became that obedient and humble. My humanity is challenged to be more like Christ in his humanity if you will. To avoid confusion, I am not saying Jesus was not God, but I am saying that he was not drawing on his own “God abilities” to live the human life. He was dependent on the Spirit of God to lead him. He like me had to grow in wisdom and stature with both God and man. Thank you for the challenge of clarifying.

    • Hans says:

      Hi Dave,

      Absolutely go for it.
      Jesus humbled Himself and God exalted Him. (Phil 2:8-9)
      We, who have the Holy Spirit in us, are called to do and experience the same:
      He who humbles himself shall be exalted, Jesus said.

      As you know, God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Eph 3:20)

      Stay hungry and thirsty and ‘let go and let God’…
      Sorry, I’m sure I’m not telling you anything you do not already know…

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