Today our journey lands us in the New Testament book of Luke and the story of Mary and Joseph. At this point, we have missed quite a bit of the story. Mary’s aunt Elizabeth who has been barren and reached a mature age has conceived and is carrying John, who is to become John the Baptist and be the forerunner preparing the way for Jesus. We also have missed the angel’s visitation to both Mary and Joseph, Mary’s visit with Elizabeth and the birth of John that took place in the first chapter of Luke. Let’s pause just a minute at Luke 1:30 for our first grace scripture: “The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Luke 1:30-33
Mary and Joseph have recently traveled to Bethlehem because of a decree from Caesar Augustus for a census to be taken. Each was to register in their own city and Joseph was from the line of David which is why he traveled to Bethlehem with Mary. While they were still in Bethlehem, Mary reached full term and Jesus was born. An angel appeared before some shepherds in a near by field saying:
“Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy to all the people: 11 Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a vast, heavenly army appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:10-14 (NET)
I can hardly imagine the excitement as the multitudes of angels rejoicing in the heavens were observed by those nearby shepherds who were watching over their flocks in the night. They must have been awestruck as never before. I am sure being in the wilderness or on a hillside watching sheep in the fields had afforded them many beautiful clear nights with extravagant numbers of stars and beautiful moonlit nights but nothing to compare to what they experienced this night. What favor! They hurried off to find Mary, Joseph and this special baby that the angel had told them about. Afterwards, they returned to their fields and flocks rejoicing greatly with praise and glory to God over all they had seen and heard.
When the time came for Mary’s purification (Leviticus 12:6), Mary took Jesus up to the temple to present Him to the Lord along with a sacrifice of two turtles doves. We don’t hear a lot about Jesus’ young years beyond this visit to the temple where He encounters both Simeon and the prophetess Anna, both who recognize Him as the long awaited Messiah. After this, we are only told: “When they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth. The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.” Luke 2:39-40
The next we hear from Jesus in when He comes to the temple when He is twelve with His parents for the Feast of Passover. When they left Jerusalem to return home, Mary and Joseph found that Jesus was not with them as they thought and returned to find Him in the temple listening and asking questions. By this time Jesus knew fully that He was to be about His Father’s business but Jesus was submitted to Joseph and Mary and returned with them to Nazareth and we are told that Jesus “kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Luke 2:52
The Greek word Charis is the word used in each of these verses for favor, grace. Mary found favor with God and He choose her to be the one to carry His Son. Though we know very little about the Jesus’ childhood, we know clearly from our text He grew in increasing wisdom and God’s grace; in wisdom and stature and favor with both God and men. I also believe it is fair to say that the shepherds also found favor and grace in the angel’s visitation and in being the first to meet the Savior. Just incase you missed our detailed definition of Charis you can find it here:
May His grace and glory abound to you!