Luke 2:40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.
I was struck just now by the fact that Luke used the word, grace, in relation to the boy Jesus. All my life I have heard the word defined as “unmerited favor,” but Jesus was perfectly without sin, so why did He need grace? As I wrote that, I was reminded of something I often say to strong believers as a blessing, for birthdays and the like: “May the grace of God be poured out on you and through you.” Maybe Jesus didn’t need grace for Himself, but He was certainly the ultimate vessel of grace to all mankind. Sometimes we get “greedy for grace,” knowing how much we need it, but in the process forget to be gracious to others, to let God’s grace flow through us to bless others. Frankly, that’s one of the biggest sources of blessing to us. Paul quoted a saying of Jesus that isn’t recorded in the Gospels: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) We have no idea when Jesus said that, but it is certainly in keeping with all the rest of His teaching that is recorded, and it is true in our experience as well. As I am constantly telling people, selfishness never leads to genuine happiness. It is when we recognize how much we benefit from God’s grace and so allow that grace to flow through us that we reap the blessings of that grace to the full. One of the most frightening things Jesus said was, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15) The better we understand how much we need God’s grace, His forgiveness, the quicker we will be to let that grace, that forgiveness, flow through us to those around us, no matter how much they have hurt us. I’m sure the boy Jesus needed His Father’s grace flowing through Him as He grew up, because people can be amazingly callous and cruel, and forgiveness was probably a daily necessity for Him to apply to others, even though He didn’t need it for Himself.
Naturally, this applies to me as much as it does to anyone. I’m certainly not in Jesus’ category of not needing forgiveness for myself, and I have been called on countless times to extend forgiveness to others. It is indeed when I let grace flow through me that I reap the most benefits for myself! Recently Cathy and I have been blessed by being able to give some of her creations to various people, even including our bank! The response has been gratifying indeed even for me, even though I wasn’t involved in her craft work. In my own case, I am blessed by being able to communicate to others the things the Lord has spoken to me. Hearing from Him is indeed a huge blessing, but it is when I share that blessing with others that I am the most blessed!
Father, thank You indeed for this insight, and for the blessing of being able to share it with others. Thank You for the occasional feedback I get from my blog, and for the likewise occasional feedback I get from spoken messages. Help me not seek such feedback for myself, greedy for “strokes,” but rather give You all the glory, because You alone deserve it. Thank You. Praise God!