He’s Only 12-Years-Old!

He’s Only 12-Years-Old!

Luke 2:40-52

The child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

And when He became twelve, they went up there (Jerusalem) according to the custom of the Feast; and as they were returning, after spending the full number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. But His parents were unaware of it…

Then after three days, they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and answers.

And He (Jesus) said to them, ‘why is it that you were looking for me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house? But they (Joseph and Mary) did not understand the statement which He had made to them.

This is such an interesting and somewhat confusing passage. As a parent, I don’t like what Jesus did at all. It seems to me to me disrespectful, thoughtless and cruel to his parents. However, I know Jesus was without any sin from birth to death, so there must be more to the story. 

Okay, now that I’ve said what most of you are thinking, let’s figure this out.

I checked out some of the cross-referenced scriptures for this passage found in the middle column of my study Bible. (Note: my blog is not about me dispensing my pre-set knowledge. Rather a journey of discovery). As I reviewed the cross-referenced verses, my first thought went to the need for Jesus to fulfill Old Testament references/prophecies about Him.


Here’s Some Important Context

What influenced the radical change of the fearful disciples before the resurrection to the bold and courageous disciples after the resurrection? One influence was the Spirit-led opening of their minds? The awakening or epiphany that the disciples had post-resurrection was the realization that Jesus had fulfilled ALL the Old Testament scriptures that had been written about Him.


Luke 24:44-45 says “Now He said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. Then He opened their minds to understand the scripture.” 


Back To The 12-Year-Old

The 12-year-old Jesus said to His parents, Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?

I don’t take this the same way that I’ve heard my kids use the phrase, ‘I had to...’.

For example, when your teenage daughter sneaks out of the house at night, is caught and says, ‘I just had to see him.’ Or, ‘we just had to be at the party. Everyone is going to be there.’ This is not how Jesus used the phrase.

When Jesus said, I had to be in My Father’s house, I believe He meant He had to…He had to in order to obey His Heavenly Father and fulfill scripture.


Did You Not Know?

The other side of it is that Jesus tells his parents that they should’ve known. This statement infers that, well, they should’ve known. But how??? 

It was written in the prophets. 

In Jesus’ adulthood, He was known for scolding the disciples for not understanding the scriptures, (Matt 26:54), and condemning the Pharisees for not believing the scriptures, (John 5:38-47). Perhaps Jesus simply meant, ‘parents, you should have known because it is written in the scriptures’.

The 12-year-old Jesus was obeying His Father in heaven and fulfilling scripture when He visited the temple. His visit made quite an impression on the priests. The word spread, I’m sure. Jesus’ impact of three days in the temple at only 12 years old was part of the plan. 


How Did He Fulfill Scripture?

Micah prophesied Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, (5:2) and it happened. Malachi speaks of the appearing of the Lord in the Temple, and it happened. I believe this Malachi prophecy is initially fulfilled by the 12-years-old Jesus as a foreshadowing of its ultimate fulfillment when He comes again at His second coming.

Malachi 3:1 reads “Behold, I am going to send My messenger and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming, says the Lord of hosts.”


Father, what can we learn from this passage about the 12-year-old Jesus? Perhaps You are simply teaching us the importance of obedience; perhaps the importance of knowing and obeying You Word. Your Word is full and expansive but Your application for us is always simply. May we love You more, obey You more, serve You more and live an abundant life indeed! Amen.

Wonderment: Do You Know Him?!

Wonderment: Do You Know Him?

There’s a theme that runs through the book of Luke: Wonderment! Amazement! This is the final post studying the wonder and amazement surrounding Jesus in Luke. Click here to read Part 4.

Luke 24:32, 44-45, 53

They said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?’

Now He said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. Then He opened their minds to understand the scripture. 

And they (now understanding Jesus throughout all of scripture), after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising God. 



Do you see a pattern for joy and wonderment here? 

  • Jesus teaches the scriptures (we now have the complete Bible). 
  • The disciples understand the scriptures and they see Jesus in the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms. (we now have the full Old Testament and New Testament). 
  • Now that they see and understand, they are filled with joy, praise and worship. 


When it comes to pursuing Jesus, are you only pursuing a sugar high? Let me give you an example for you to consider.  

Have you been to a worship service or worship concert that enlightened your heart and caused your soul to soar? I absolutely have and I love it. Corporate worship with brothers and sisters in Christ is a great blessing. It is a preview of our future in heaven. 

The slippery slope is when we seek a ‘high’ from the experience of worship. The ‘meat and potatoes’ of our wonderment is the knowledge of Jesus throughout scripture – like Jesus said, from the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled, Luke 24.44. 

Worship is most exhilarating as a means of expressing our knowledge of Him. True wonderment begins with the mind: to know Him with real knowledge and discernment.  

Wonderment begins in the mind and then expresses itself with our heart and emotions through worship and PRAISE.  

Please do not take what I’m saying as being critical of worship services and concerts. I am not being critical. I am simply saying that we should apply our minds deeply to a knowledge of Jesus throughout all of scripture and worship will be even sweeter and sweeter. 

If you are interested to read further on this topic, I came across a book titled, Christ from Beginning to End: How the full story of scripture reveals the full glory of Christ, by Trent Hunter & Stephen Wellum. They will provide insight into the wonder of Jesus with the following: 

1. Jesus is the Last Adam 

2. Noah: a Foretaste of judgement and salvation through Christ 

3. Jesus is testified to by ‘the law and the prophets 

4. Isaac: Jesus is the ‘seed’ of Abraham and true substitute 

5. Jesus is greater than the Law-covenant 

6. Jesus is a greater future King David 

7. A vivid portrait of our suffering servant 


Listen to this short clip of SM Lockridge and be amazed. I shared it a couple of years ago but am sharing it again today to provide a thrill of wonderment.

Shadrach Meshach Lockridge (1913-2000) was the Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in San Diego, CA for forty years. He had an extensive ministry reaching hundreds of thousands. He is best-known for his message, “Do you know Him? That’s my King.”  

Wonderment: How Do We Attain Wonderment Today?

Wonderment: How Do We Attain Wonderment Today?

There’s a theme that runs through the book of Luke: Wonderment! Amazement! This is the fourth post studying the wonder and amazement surrounding Jesus in Luke. Click here to read Part 3.

Luke 24:27-32

Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all he Scriptures…Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. They said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?’ 


Studying The Four Gospels

To the novice, all four gospels seem the same. However, a closer look reveals unique features about each of the four narratives. We have been looking at the uniqueness of the gospel of Luke as he (Luke) emphasizes the aspect of wonderment and amazement produced by Jesus. 

The passage above reveals that there is an extra measurement of wonder for those who discover the connectedness of the Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation.  For the two men on the road to Emmaus, their hearts burned when the scriptures were revealed to them. 

Are you searching for wonderment? The wonderment of Jesus is the understanding of Jesus in all of scripture.


Pursuing Wonderment

We all want to ‘feel’ the wonderment of Jesus. It is refreshing; it is glorious; it is thrilling. Understandably, we want it and yearn for it in order to enlighten our lives, help us cope, bring us hope and lighten our way. Give us Jesus in all His wonder and splendor. We want Him! 

The yearning for the wonderment of Jesus is a blessing from God. The longing of our hearts for Jesus is a gift from him. Cherish this longing; nurture this longing; pray for this longing. 

In the passage above, Jesus opened their eyes and they recognized Him.  We all should pray, ‘open our eyes Lord to see You and understand You.’ Their hearts burned because they understood.


Is Wonderment in the mind or the heart? YES!

But like every good thing in life, pursuing the wonderment of Jesus does have excesses that can, in some cases, takes us down a slippery slope. There’s something we can learn from this story of the two men on the road to Emmaus. 

We learn from them that there are two aspects of wonderment: 

  1. The source of wonderment (understanding scripture with our mind)
  2. The expression of wonderment (praise and worship from our heart)

Paul explains the two aspects of wonderment in his prayer for the Philippian church:

Philippians 1:9-11 “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment (real knowledge and discernment comes from scripture), so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ, (knowledge from scripture helps us discern what is good and live it out), having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God, (the expression of our knowledge of God is PRAISE).”

After carefully reflecting upon this passage in Philippians, I hope you can see that abounding love and wonderment of Jesus comes from real knowledge and discernment (scripture) and expresses itself in praise to God, (Worship).

The slippery slope I referred to earlier happens when we skip the source of wonderment (knowledge and discernment from Scripture) and pursue the expression of wonderment only (emotional worship). This is similar to skipping a healthy meal and going straight for dessert. This is the pursuit of a sugar high.

More on this next time as we conclude our series on the Wonderment of Jesus.

Father, forever in heaven, we are going to praise you out of an elevated knowledge that we don’t have right now. All of our doubts and questions will be brushed aside and in perfect knowledge, our hearts will soar with wonder and praise. You are kind in that you gave us new minds when we were saved so that we can begin to understand all that Scriptures teaches about you. Greater wonder comes as we seek You in Scripture and learn about You from every book in the Bible. It’s a huge task for us but You make it easy, when we give ourselves to You one day at a time. Amen!

Wonderment: He Acts!

Wonderment: He Acts!

There’s a theme that runs through the book of Luke: Wonderment! Amazement! This is the third post studying the wonder and amazement surrounding Jesus in Luke. Click here to read Part 2.

We have come upon an amazing reality; a thread of wonderment runs through the book of Luke. It is three-fold: 

Jesus: The wonder of His announcement! The wonder of His Words! The wonder of His works! 

On our previous posts, we considered the wonder of the announcement of Jesus and the wonder of His spoken words. Today, let’s review the wonder of His works as described by Luke. 

After Jesus casts out a demon, the response was; And amazement came upon them all…and the report about Him was spreading into every locality in the surrounding districts, 4:31-37. Later, Jesus cast out another demon and they were all amazed at the greatness of God, 9:43. Later yet, He cast out another demon and the crowds were amazed, 11:14 

Early in His earthly ministry, Jesus came to Peter after fishing all night with no results. After teaching the small crowd, Jesus asked Peter to take the boat out and fish. Peter reluctantly obeyed. However, he had such success fishing that he and his partners filled the boats with fish. For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken…they left everything and followed him. 5:1-11 

Jesus was with His new disciples in a boat and a fierce storm came upon them. The disciples feared for their lives. And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm…They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, ‘Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him? 8:22-25 

After Jesus’ crucifixion, the disciples fell into despair. All the wonder of their hopes and dreams were shattered. They summed it up this way, But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. But then Sunday came and Jesus arose. Of Peter it was said, he was now marveling at what had happened, 24:12. 

In the upper room, Jesus appeared to the disciples in His post-resurrection body. But they were startled and frightened…and He said to them, ‘why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I Myself…while they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, ‘Have you anything to eat.’ 24:36-43 

How do we respond to all that Jesus has done and all that He is doing? 

  • Wonderment leads to Amazement
  • Amazement leads to Joy
  • Joy leads to Thanksgiving


Below is a prayer of thanksgiving from Rosemary Jensen from her book, Praying the Attributes of God: 


Thank you that you have all power. 

Thank you that nothing is too hard for You (Gen. 18:14). 

Thank you that your arm is not too short to do anything that you say you will do. I will see it all come true for me (Num. 11:23). 

Thank you that you perform more wonders and miracles than I can imagine (Job 9:10). 

Thank you that you can do all things, and no plan of yours can be thwarted (Job 42:2). 

Thank you that you made the earth, all people, and all animals on the earth, and you give it to anyone you please (Jer. 27:5). 

Thank you that you can keep me from temptation and deliver me from Satan’s power (Matt 6:13). 

Thank you that with you, all things are possible (Matt. 19:26). 

Thank you that I am in error only when I don’t know your power or your Word (Matt. 22:29). 

Thank you that someday in heaven there will be a multitude praising you for your salvation and glory and power (Rev. 19:1). 



Praying the Attributes of God: A Guide to Personal Worship Through Prayers. Rosemary Jensen; Published by Krueger Publications.

Wonderment: He Speaks!

Wonderment: He Speaks!

Luke 2:47-48 

Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. 

The thread of wonderment and amazement that runs through the gospel of Luke has a basic flow to it: 

  • Amazement at what was spoken and announced regarding Jesus. 
  • Amazement at the spoken words of Jesus. 
  • Amazement at the power of Jesus revealed through his miracles. 

Last time we considered the amazement and wonderment concerning what others announced regarding Jesus: 

And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 


First, amazement at what is said about Jesus. 

It’s not about the skills of the announcers. It’s not about the earthly credibility of the announcers. It’s not about the charisma and oratory expertise of the announcers. It’s all about the content of the message: the message of Jesus, spoken by a simple person of humble means. God is the author of the wonderment and the words were spoken by simple men and women. Simple people are God’s means to producing wonderment in the minds and hearts of others. 


In The Beginning Was The Word 

Then, as we proceed through the book of Luke, Jesus arrives on the scene and the wonderment continues as He Himself speaks. 

  • At the age of 12 it was said about Jesus, and all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. And when His parents saw Him, there were astonished…Luke 2:47,48. 
  • When Jesus preached in His hometown of Nazareth, the initial response of the people was wonder. And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips... Luke 4:22 
  • The goal of the religious and political elite was to trip Jesus in His words. They asked questions with the goal to catch him in some statements, 20:20. But they failed every time: And they were unable to catch Him in a saying in the presence of the people; and being amazed at His answers, they became silent, 20:26. 
  • The crescendo of wonderment took place after the resurrection as Jesus spoke to two of His followers on the road to Emmaus. He initially concealed His identity. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him…they said to one another, ‘were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the scripture to us? 24:31,32. 

Jesus produced amazement in His own time with His own words. From the time He was a child until He ascended back to Heaven, Jesus amazed! He made spines tingle; He made eyes pop; He baffled and confounded His enemies: He made hearts burn with wonder! 


His Words? Your soul?

Is your heart numb? Is your heart cold? Is your heart longing? Is your heart warm? Is your heart burning?

In my youth, I would often listen to a Christian artist named Keith Green. Reflect upon these lyrics from his song My Eyes Are Dry. Make it your prayer. 


My eyes are dry; My faith is old; My heart is hard; my prayers are cold. 

And I know how I ought to be; Alive to You and dead to me. 

But what can be done; For an old heart like mine? Soften it up; With Oil and Wine. 

The oil is you, Your Spirit of love; Please wash me anew; With the wine of Your Blood. 

Wonderment: He’s Here!

Wonderment: He’s Here!

Luke 2:15-20 

When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, ‘Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us. So, they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 

When they had seen this, they made known the statement (born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord) which been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 

The Shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

There’s a theme that runs through the book of Luke: Wonderment! Amazement! 

And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 

The thread of wonderment and amazement that runs through the gospel of Luke has a basic flow to it: 

  • Amazement at what was spoken and announced regarding Jesus. 
  • Amazement at the wisdom and spoken words of Jesus. 
  • Amazement at the power of Jesus revealed through his miracles. 

First, amazement and wonderment about what others announced regarding Jesus:

The Shepherds, simply men of simple means, heard from the angels and were afraid, amazed and stunned. They investigated and found the announcement to be true. They beheld the child, Jesus. They went out praising God and speaking of what they had heard and seen. The result: And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 

Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to the temple to present Him to the Lord. Simeon, a righteous and devout man of God took Jesus in His arms and prophesied of His Greatness; this child is a light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel…behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel…, Luke 2:32-34. 

How did Mary and Joseph respond to the words spoken by Simeon about Jesus?

And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. 


What About You? 

What causes this Wonderment? What are the ingredients of Amazement? What stirs one’s soul? 

  • When the truth about Jesus reaches the ears of a seeking soul, a sense of wonder captures their heart. 
  • When words are formulated in descriptive terms that announce the gravity and significance of the person and work of Jesus; amazement grips the heart of one seeking the meaning of life. 
  • When words of profound reality regarding the coming of Jesus are heard by the soul who is seeking God, an epiphany-like astonishment sends chills of enlightenment up and down the spine. 


The Truth of Jesus + A seeking heart = Wonderment! 

Wonderment asks; can this be true? Amazement says; is this what I’ve been searching for? Epiphany-like astonishment says; I BELIEVE! 


Take the Wonderment test.

Here’s a multiple-choice self-evaluation:  

When I hear the truth about God…: 

  • I’m bored; ho-hum. 
  • It’s a good reminder; Duly noted; this is good. 
  • I’m convicted; I should probably do something. 
  • I admit it’s true; I believe it to be so. 
  • I am resolved; I will listen and obey 
  • I am overtaken with wonder, astonishment and Joy; I PRAISE HIM; I WONDER ABOUT HIM; MY SOUL IS THRILLED!!! 

Be like Mary: But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. May we reflect that same wonder as Mary and never lose it. Listen to Bethel’s song Wonder to be inspired and filled with wonder.


Father, give me a mind and a heart that is amazed at the full scope of what who You are and what You have done! Your truth is readily available to me. But what is often missing is the attitude of my heart to hear, receive, ponder and be amazed. Grant me such a heart that I might love You as I should. Amen! 

For You

For You

Luke 2:11 

For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord…

This is one of the most wonderous verses in the Bible. Let’s take it slow and soak in it. Fix your eyes for a few moments on each word in this brief announcement above. Every word is the Word of God and every word is important. 

Recall, the angel is speaking to a small band of lowly shepherds watching over their flocks. 

For today…born for you 

There’s a timeless truth of this announcement that took place in time and space; on a particular day, at a particular time, to a group of actual people upon this earth. It happened on the actual day that the shepherds heard the announcement. Today! For you! The ESV version says, for unto you is born…. 


I did it all for you! 

Let me get this straight; God humbled Himself by being born in a human body, living in the confines of a fleshly shell, suffered and died an unspeakable and horrific death — for a few unbathed, unshaven, calloused hand, bad-breathed, crusty shepherds living in the fields? 

For you means Jesus was born for their purpose, for their benefit, to transform their lives? To give them peace, joy, mercy and grace? To live and abide within their hearts?  

Do you mean to tell me that today, God came to earth in absolute humility after being silent for over 400 years to become intimate friends (John 15:15) with these shepherds; simple men of simple mean? God sent His angel from heaven to make this announcement to them? Really? Really? Really? 


Does He realize? 

  • Do you think the angel making the announcement to these shepherds realizes that one of the shepherds spent his full paycheck on cheap wine and goat meat last Friday night, got drunk, got in a fight, and his wife kicked him out of the bed? Jesus came for him???? 
  • Does the angel realize that the other shepherd cursed at God last night? He has a new-born baby who is sick to the point of near-death, but he had to go back to the fields so he could make the money to pay for the doctor?  
  • Does the angel realize that the other shepherd has stooped to stealing because he has a son who is being bullied and beat up at the synagogue by the older boys because he’s poor and has ragged clothes? 
  • Does the angel realize they have issues! Does the angel realize they don’t have anything of any means to give back to their Savior? Does the angel realize they don’t have any influence to spread the word about the birth of the Messiah? Jesus was born for these guys? 

Okay, Okay, so I’m speculating some. I’m adding color way beyond the text. Forgive me. But the point remains the same. The angel spoke to the shepherds and he said, JESUS WAS BORN FOR YOU! I may be speculating, but I guarantee that since the shepherds are real people, they were dealing with stuff. They had issues; they had troubles; they struggled with sin!  

Jesus came in spite of…no… Jesus came because of their issues; their issues caused by their sin and caused by the sin in the world that surrounds them. 


That was then; this is now! 

Now that we have some context and color around the text, what does the text mean to you? What does the announcement of the angel mean to you? I believe it’s timeless and actually, pretty simple. But let me put it in bold print to make sure there’s no ambiguity.  

But first, consider the announcement as directed toward you? You can’t say it isn’t directed toward you because you have issues? You can’t say it doesn’t apply to you because you feel deserted? Because you feel undeserved? Because you have totally blown it? Because you are stuck in sin? You can’t say — ‘this doesn’t apply to me, I have too many issues. 

No, you can’t claim this message is not for you because you don’t deserve it. But that’s the whole point. YOU DON’T DESERVE IT! Just like the shepherds didn’t deserve it. Jesus came because you don’t deserve it. Let go and accept it. Here it is: 



Father, today you have given us a gift of eternal value that we don’t deserve. You have given us Your Son to be our Savior, our Messiah and our Lord. We once were lost and now, today, You found us and called us and we receive Your Son as our Savior! With unending gratitude, we embrace by faith the Friend of sinners, the Keeper of our souls, the Savior of our lives! Amen!

The Fields Are Alive…

The Fields Are Alive

Luke 2:8-20

In the same region (near Bethlehem) there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.

The angel Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, (1:19) is back to earth on another mission. He seems to have no desire to appear before crowds to wow them and scare them with the message of God’s return; he doesn’t care about appearing before the religious elite and highly influential scribes and Pharisees. His recent visits instead have been with an obscure priest and a teenage girl in Nazareth. 

There’s a Pattern Here

Now, he is going out to the fields, away from the population of the towns and villages, to the sheep and shepherds. We see a pattern from Gabriel: when he leaves the presence of God in heaven to visit the earth, he hangs out with lowly people of humble means. This is a pattern that the new-born child will follow in the future: He left the presence of the Father in heaven to visit the earth where he hangs out with lowly people of humble means.

My Pattern Has Changed

Many years ago, in my 20’s, I saw myself as aspiring to be the pastor of a mega-church. I had big plans for myself. My approach was opposite of Gabriel’s. I wanted big audiences. God had other plans; most importantly, to humble me through various twists and turns in my life. God is pretty good at whatever He sets out to do, and I can attest, He’s pretty good at humbling a snot-faced, spiritually proud, young pastor.

That was then. Now, many years later, one of the great joys of my life is to speak at the noon devotions at the men’s unit of the Star of Hope. The Star of Hope is a Christ-centered community supporting Houston’s homeless men, women, and children. I marvel at how I feel when I speak to these men of lowly means. It’s exhilarating and truly an honor. Why did it take so long in my life to realize how special a ministry to the homeless really is? Why didn’t I follow the pattern of Gabriel and Jesus earlier in my life?

Out in the Fields

Shepherding had once been a noble occupation in the early times of Israel, during the time of the Patriarchs. Jacob’s sons were shepherds. But when Jacob and his tribe relocated to Egypt, they were isolated because Egyptians had a low regard for shepherds, Genesis 46:34. From that time forward, the status of a shepherd devolved through the centuries. At the time of Jesus’ birth, shepherds hung on the lower rung of social status. 

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased, Luke 2:13, 14.

In 1991, AC/DC, The Black Crowes and Metalica held a concert that supposedly reached nearly 1.6 million listeners. 

In complete contrast, Gabriel and his band of angels show up in an isolated field and set up on the stage for a concert of the ages. After a light-check and sound-check, the angelic band performs the greatest concert of all-time. Instead of a massive audience of hundreds of thousands and instead of a royal concert performed for the king and queen; the angels unleashed a performance of the ages to — herds of sheep and a few shepherds.

The Fields Were Alive with Music

The Great Shepherd of our souls sent His angel to announce His coming to some sheep and a few shepherds. Isn’t it ironic?

This reminds me that the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. The apostle Paul continued by saying to the new Christians in Corinth, Brothers, consider the time of your calling; not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. (We resemble this statement). But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly and despised things of the world, and the things that are not, to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast in His presence. I Corinthians 1:25-29, Berean Study Bible.


Father, we thank You that Your ways are always perfect and all-wise. We are grateful you chose us even though we are not noble or rich. We have no room to boast because we had nothing and came from nothing; nevertheless, YOU GAVE US EVERYTHING! We praise You and honor You this day with grateful hearts and humble spirits. Amen!

Road Trip

Road Trip

Luke 2:1-14 

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.  

Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.  

While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:1-7 

This is one of those passages whereby when I read and reflect on it but I’m not really sure what to write about it. What can I say about the birth of Jesus that hasn’t already been said?  

Let’s Take a Tangent

Sometimes when I approach a scripture passage on my daily journey with God, I say to myself, ‘this is a good passage; or this is interesting; or this is important – but I don’t necessarily have a flood of words that come to mind to write down.’ When this happens to me, like this morning, I just start writing, (like I’m doing now). My hope is that a fresh insight will come into my brain as I began to write. I pray and ask for God’s wisdom to shine on me.  

Lord, when I search Your Word, give me wisdom and insight. And may I do it with pure motives and out of love for You. 

With this in mind, let’s reflect for a moment on David’s words in Psalms 143:

I stretch out my hands to You; My soul longs for You, as a parched land. Answer me quickly, O Lord, my spirit fails; do not hide Your face from me, or I will become like those who go down to the pit, (David is quite dramatic),  

(Here’s the important part for me this morning), Let me hear Your loving-kindness in the morning: For I trust in You; teach me the way in which I should walk; for I lift up my soul. Psalms 143.6-8 

Time to Refocus 

OK, I’ve been avoiding the text long enough. Back to Luke 2.

“Honey…sweetheart…sweet Mary, we have to get up and get going. I didn’t sleep at all last night. He has been very active these last couple of days. I feel like I’m going to burst.” Mary’s eyes grow moist as Joseph replies with pain in his eyes; “Perhaps you should stay. How can the Romans punish us under these circumstances? The journey is nearly 70 miles. We can’t be expected to put the baby’s life at risk – and yours as well.” 

“Sweet Joseph, we have already decided. I must go to Bethlehem. We have discussed the words of the prophet Micah, remember? I am determined to go.” 

But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you (Bethlehem) One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel…Therefore, He will give them up until the time when she who is in labor has born a child…And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God. Micah 5:2-4.

Mary continues as resolve overcomes her pain; “The Romans believe this census is for their purposes; to deepen their grip on our people. But we know it is from God. The angel was very clear to me; my son is the Son of the Most High! The prophet declared that the chosen One will be the ruler in Israel and He will be born in Bethlehem. We must go.” 

Joseph could see Mary’s eyes turn from fearful pain to resolve. Then she says, “We must go…but by the way, were you able to borrow that donkey so I don’t have to walk?”

When Charlie Brown screams out in frustration, ‘Is there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about,” Linus steps up and recites Luke 2. 

Father, we are humbled by the humble circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus. His visit to earth was to serve, in humility and meekness. This most powerful One chose to suppress His power (except in a few chosen circumstances) and royalty in order to serve. May we serve as well, loosening ourselves of the grip of pride and aspirations of comfort above all else, may we serve. Amen!