“And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
As the “author of life,” Jesus exuded life. From infancy to adulthood, Jesus embraced earthly life to the fullest. For more than 30 years, our Savior breathed the very air of this planet that He came into. His eyes both beheld the sad and the spectacular events of humanity. War and peace. Poverty and wealth. Death and life. He saw all of them and he was filled with empathy for us.
The Bible is generally silent about the details of the Lord’s growing up years. But one phrase written by Luke provides us with an understanding of what kind of relationship Jesus had with Joseph and Mary. “He was obedient to them” (Luke 2:51). He was the perfect child. He grew strong and healthy. He also helped his father eke out a living working as a carpenter (Mark 6:3). Despite his love for manual labor, Jesus as a boy loved learning as well. He was well versed and quite articulate in the Torah and the Jewish scriptures (Luke 2:46-47).
Jesus grew up poor and he lived with the poor relating with the neediest as they went through destituteness, bankruptcy, and misery. In His compassion for them, our Savior fed them, healed them and gave justice to them who had no means to fend for themselves. Just as he lived and struggled with the weak, Jesus also uplifted and rescued them from poverty’s mire; physically and spiritually.
But his relationship with the marginalized of his society never made Jesus bitter against the rich, either. He also attended and joined their soiree. He was not also insecure around nor He avoided them. Interestingly, our Savior even enjoyed the company of those who were considered to be “filthy rich” among them, such as the tax collectors and the religious elites, and the like. But more importantly, Jesus saw their dire need for a dose of reality and warned them that, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mark 10:25).
As Jesus was becoming the people’s champion, our Savior never incited a class war between the rich and poor. Jesus didn’t also call for an uprising against the oppressive reign of the Roman empire. On the contrary, Jesus was a dutiful, diligent and decent citizen who paid taxes, obeyed authorities and taught the universal values of fairness, compassion, and justice (Matthew 22:21).
Yet, the end of the day, it was the kingdom of heaven that the Son of God longed for. Every day, the Savior engaged in deep solitude to speak with His Father in heaven (Mark 1:35). All He ever desired was to please His Father and that explained his relentless drive in his missionary work (John 4:34).
“In favor with God and men…” True and biblical Christianity is humane just as it is divine. A good Christian is also a good human being. We can’t have just one at the expense of the other. Just as Jesus lived his human life favorable to men and God, we must also endeavor to follow the same.