There has always been a prelude to our life of choices.
I don’t remember selecting the family I would be born into; do you? My nationality, the place on earth I would live, the era in which I would land, born to position or humble means…none of these were handed to me on a ‘menu’ for checking off my preferences. It’s a safe bet you weren’t given a menu either.
Today though, we are ‘here’: our present destination arrived at via a thousand little choices along the way. Yet, tomorrow’s choices will be taken into account as well. And they will further us along the way in the direction we are headed, present new diversions, or take us around the mountain one more time.
At some point, each of us moved from prelude to believing, deciding, and acting upon our choices. This gift in the Garden – the power of choice and free will – was exercised a first time by every human being (I’m guessing mothers the world ‘round would say this occurred at the age of two!). That muscle has been being exercised ever since the day of Adam and Eve right into our day.
Enter consequences. Enter Jesus.
His prelude was different than ours; no argument there! Because he was divinely human, Jesus was aware of the consequences for all mankind should he not complete his life’s mission. He entered our earthly domain with foreknowledge too terrible and wonderful for us to conceive.
Yet he did not go from the manger to the right hand of the throne of God without walking through every 24-hour day in between. Like us, he lived making his thousand little choices. And he learned obedience.
I believe Jesus’ journey to the cross began at twelve years old when he found himself in Jerusalem with his parents. I also believe that is when his exercising of choice began.
At the age of twelve Jesus made the annual trip to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. Scripture says his parents had faithfully gone every year; now at twelve, he accompanied them. It was then I believe his internalized prelude (obedience to his familial relationships) became externalized choice as he made his first scripturally recorded decision: “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49)
He had chosen to be in his Father’s house…much to the angst of his parents when they discovered him missing after three days! Jesus? Upset his parents? Can you imagine raising Him?
But then he did what the Jesus we know and love must do if he was truly Jesus. Knowing something his parents simply did not understand, he returned to Nazareth and was obedient to them. Scripture tells us Mary began to watch her son and guard her heart concerning the things that had been foretold of him. Meanwhile,
Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:52)
Jesus was making choices all along. Yet at the age of twelve – and up to age thirty when he entered public ministry – he made a conscious choice to honor his parents through his obedience to them. I believe it was because of the grace of God that rested upon him from a young child (Luke 2:40) that He was able to choose to wait, grow and learn, develop wisdom and gain favor – not only with men, but with His Abba.
A necessary postponement since one day that same grace would require different choices and singular obedience to His other Parent.
Grace…the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life.
It’s the gift beyond the Garden that enables us, like Jesus did, to make a thousand little choices in obedience to our other Parent, too.
Celebrating His Resurrection and ours with Him…
Shammahs Field LLC/Shammah Ministries is the biblical counseling, life coaching, and spiritual growth ministry entrusted to Wayne & Nancy Bentz. You can learn more about the resources they have to offer at www.shammahsfield.com.