God often provides examples for us to follow. He does things not because they are necessary for him, but because he knows they will be essential for us. When God rested on the seventh day of Creation (Gen. 2:2-3), he was not exhausted (Isa. 40:28) but knew that we would be. He rested as an example so that we would follow behind him.
Before Jesus selected his twelve disciples, he spent an entire night in prayer (Luke 6:12). Jesus was not unsure of who he would chose, but he gave an example for us of a wise practice before a major decision. Much of Jesus’ actions were meant to serve as a guide for ours.
Even when Jesus was twelve years old, he was teaching us. Read what he did in Luke 2:41-52.
41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom.
46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 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.”49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
This account of Jesus is the only one we have between the ages of two and thirty. While Luke reports of a single occurrence, Jesus provides a beautiful framework.
As a middle schooler, Jesus was active in studying and discussing theological truths. He asked questions. He gave answers. He shared insights.
Jesus’ commitment to study in religious gatherings guides us to employ discipline in our own lives. If Jesus thought that such dedication was important for his own life, how desperate should we be?
If you want to grow in wisdom and stature, how dedicated should you be to spiritual disciplines?
What’s remarkable is that the nature of Jesus didn’t require diligent study like we personally need, and yet he was dedicated to it. Even as a middle schooler, he was setting the example for the teachers.
Whether you are a middle schooler or that time is a distant memory, I plead with you – learn from Jesus. Be like Jesus. Study the Word. Ask good questions. Start deep conversations.
The pursuit of theology is a lifelong journey worth every syllable offered, every head scratched, and every heart invigorated.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.