Thursday, December 24, 2015

Luke 2:41-52 Jesus' Missional Self-identity at 12

KEY TEXT: Luke 2:48-49 And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress." And he said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" 

KEY THOT: By the age of 12, Jesus was already conscious firstly of his self-identity as the Son of the Father and secondly, that of his life mission: “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Jesus was a “second generation” believer whose parents were believers, growing up in the instruction of the Scripture from young. Jesus typifies many second generation believers who have an intuitive knowledge of God from infancy, being “born of water and of the Spirit” (John 3:5) through baptism. Jesus exemplifies the experience of second generation believers who are raised up into this double awareness of their self-identity as children of the Father with a clear sense of life mission within the context of God's kingdom. Christian parents should not follow blindly the path of "success" delineated by this world. 

Children of believing parents are holy because of their parents’ faith. To be holy means to be “set apart” for God, expressed in the act of infant baptism: “For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy” (1 Cor 7:14). And they are filled with God’s Spirit from infancy, just as John the Baptist was: “he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb” (Luke 1:15). The goal of Christian parenting is to help our children affirm their spiritual self-identity as children of God and discover their life calling in Christ. 

We can start today. A Chinese proverb says: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Christian parents of young children should start to inculcate within them this sense of divine self-identity and mission as their main responsibility. Instead of setting them on a secular path that identifies success with worldly accomplishments and then discovering they have left or lost their faith in the process, the wise Christian parents would focus on establishing their spiritual self-identity and life mission in the context of God’s kingdom.

Susanna Wesley is known today as the “mother of Methodism” even though she had never preached a sermon nor published a book nor founded a church. All she did was raise up two famous sons (Charles and John Wesley) who founded the Methodist movement in England that now has a global influence. She home-schooled her 10 children, employing strict discipline of the Rod as well as the Word. She wrote devotions for her children, spending time with each child on different day. John Wesley attributed to her strict and godly training for equipping him to live out his faith as a university student at Oxford and to resist the ungodly influence there.

We need more parents like Susanna Wesley in Singapore who are laying the foundation of future spiritual giants when their children are still young.

Father, deliver us from conforming to this world but help us be transformed by the renewing of our minds to seek first Your kingdom and righteousness for our children, so that they will not depart from the faith. Amen.

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