When They Don’t Understand You

Jesus, the Messiah

Jesus was born in Bethlehem the town of David, as had been prophesied about him in Micah 5:2 (cf. Matt 2:4-6). Then, an angel of the Lord appeared to some shepherds who were keeping watch over their flocks at night. They were terrified. Then the angel said:

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Lu 2:10-11 NIV

When Jesus’ parents consecrated Jesus to the Lord, a devout and righteous man of God named Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God, for the Lord had fulfilled his promise to Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Simeon said,

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.” Lu 2:29-32 NIV

Simeon also said to Mary, the mother of Jesus:

“This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Lu 2:34-35 NIV

Jesus is our Savior, the Messiah, the Lord. He is our salvation, a light to the Gentiles (Gentiles, which we were) and the glory of Israel (Israel, which we are now). Those who reject him will be brought to ruin. And those who receive him will be saved from their bondage to sin, and they will be brought into his heavenly kingdom (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Acts 26:16-18).

It was prophesied of Jesus that he would be a sign to the people, but he would be spoken against, which he was and he still is. The thoughts of human hearts are thus revealed when they speak against him, when they speak against his gospel, and when they speak against those who love him and who are following him with their lives.

The prophecy included that a sword would pierce Mary’s soul, which I believe to be a prophecy of Jesus’ death on that cross. There he died for us that he might deliver us from our slavery to sin, so that we might die with him to sin, and so that we might now be slaves of his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23).

Luke 2:40-47 NIV

“And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.

“Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him 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.”

Jesus, as a child, was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him. For, he was/is God the Son, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When he walked the face of this earth he was fully human (man), and he was fully God (deity, divine).

So, when Jesus sat among these teachers in the temple courts, he was God incarnate sitting among them. Thus, he was no ordinary child. So, I doubt that he was listening to them and asking them questions in order to gain knowledge and understanding of God, for he was/is God.

But we don’t know what he heard or what he asked, for the Scriptures don’t tell us. But it appears he was respectful and that he sought to hear what knowledge or understanding they had of God and of his word. And it appears that they, in turn, listened to him, and perhaps asked him questions, too.

For, everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. For, they were of God.

Luke 2:48-50 NIV

“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.’

“’Why were you searching for me?’ he asked. ‘Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?’ But they did not understand what he was saying to them.”

So, even though Mary had miraculously been impregnated of the Holy Spirit of God, for she had not been with a man, and even though she knew this child was of God, and even though she had heard the prophecies about him being the promised Messiah, the Christ, the Lord, the Savior of Israel, etc., still she thought of Jesus as an ordinary child, and she treated him thus.

Yes, he was a child, and yes, he was still under their protective care and their authority, and yes, as parents they were naturally concerned when Jesus disappeared. I would be if it were my child, speaking as a human mother of a human child. So, their response was natural.

But Jesus wasn’t thinking as a human child born of a human mother. He had a higher calling. And he was thinking with that calling in mind. He was about his Father’s business (God the Father), and that was what was foremost on his mind and on his heart.

So, his parents were thinking in the natural, but Jesus was thinking in the supernatural. So, they were upset with Jesus. They were thinking only about how what he did affected them, not about his calling and what he had to be doing. So, Jesus tried to help them see that, but they didn’t understand.

And here’s the thing. As followers of Jesus, we are to be like Jesus. We, as well, are to be about the Father’s business, doing what concerns Him. We are his temple, his body, and we are to be servants of the Lord and ministers of Christ to the other parts of the body, and this should be our primary concern, as well as sharing the gospel for the salvation of souls.

But we will have family members, friends and other Christians who will not understand our dedication to the Lord, either. They will not understand why we have to be about our Father’s business, and they will try to encourage us to come with them and to be more like them in the natural world, for they don’t really grasp the supernatural, i.e., the working of the Holy Spirit.

And the thing of it is, many of them have had the truth of God’s word planted in them, too. They know what the Scriptures teach. They have been taught about how God works and how the Holy Spirit works in the lives of Christ’s followers. But their thinking is mainly still with natural minds, and so they won’t understand what we are doing or why we are doing it.

It is like, if you are truly following Jesus the way the Scriptures teach, that you will be thought of as an oddball. Most people, including Christians, won’t get excited about the fact that you are following Jesus with your life, or that you are fulfilling God’s calling on your life, or that God is using you to reach other people with the gospel so that they can believe in Jesus, too.

But they will get excited over you doing something in the natural, and they will even try to encourage you more that direction, because that feels more normal to them. But we can’t let that discourage us. We have to keep on in following Jesus wherever he leads us and in doing whatever he has called us to do, even if those we care about don’t understand us. We just need to be like Jesus in all that we do, and we need to leave other people to God.

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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