Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Under Their Thumb

"and was obedient to them" Luke 2:51.

Have you wondered what Joseph and Mary were like as individuals? As a couple? What were Jesus' siblings like? How was His relationship with them?

The Bible is largely silent about His early years and family life. Were they a scriptural version of a perfect blended family? Joseph wasn't Jesus' natural father...remember?

It's easy to assume that life in the original First Family was completely homogenous. Everyone got alone swimmingly all the time. No conflicts, no fights, no sibling rivalry...yeah right. I bet they were just like the rest of us.

We know from Scripture that Jesus submitted to his parents' authority. He was under their thumb. Do you recall how much you enjoyed your parents micro-managing your life? Didn't you just love being told, "NO!" when you wanted to go out and play? When Mom and Dad acted like referees, didn't you applaud their good judgment when they ruled in favor of your sibling? Didn't you welcome their insights as they scrutinized your friends or endlessly obsessed over where you'd been and what you'd been up to? Sure you did.

Was Jesus the John Boy of the Nazareth's version of the Waltons? Did his brothers and sisters with dewy eyes, look up to their older brother in rapt adoration? Or was He just one of the family, no better or no worse? Since Jesus was tempted in every way we can be, He had to have had skirmishes with His siblings. That's typical family dynamics.

Were Joseph and Mary laid back and easy going or strongly opinionated personalities, even hot heads? We don't know. Surely God wouldn't subject His Son to people like us. He'd give him perfect parents. Wouldn't He?

I'm not suggesting that Jesus was raised in a totally dysfunctional family, but to think His life at home was a complete G-rated script is far-fetched. Mary, Joseph and their kids were real people with issues that weren't always handled properly. Did the kids fight? Did Mary and Joseph lose their tempers? As parents did they make what in retrospect would be called bad decisions? Probably. We all do.

Jesus could have a real heart for humanity because He wasn't shielded from the worst we can dish out. I'm not inferring that His home life was abusive, just typical, which at times can be painful.

Like the rest of us, Jesus had to learn submission to authority as a child. Looking at His life, Mary and Joseph did a good job. Raising any child is no small feat. Being responsible for training up God's Son is in a class by itself.

How about you? How has your viewpoint of your parents and how you were raised changed as you've matured? Can you think of specifics that look much different now, viewed through the eyes of an adult, then they did when you were a child?

Parenting isn't for cowards. It is a tough job that entails times of being unappreciated for your efforts and having your motives and intentions misunderstood by your young charges. No parent is perfect, but with God's help, a strong foundation can be laid for a child to build a life upon...just like Jesus had.

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