Jesus, the Unlikely Apprentice I

Discipled in Family

Text: Luke 2:41-52

Jesus was an apprentice. Like F(f)ather, like son.

He apprenticed with his heavenly Father. He learned obedience by the things which he suffered (Hebrews 5:8-9). He taught and did only what he heard his Father teach and what he saw his Father do (John 5:19). He was the Father’s disciple. Jesus was discipled by the presence of the Holy Spirit in his life as a gift from his Father.

He apprenticed with his earthly (step)father as a carpenter. But he learned much more from his family than being a carpenter. They were devout believers. Jesus participated in the faith traditions of his family. According to the custom, he was circumcised on the eighth day (Luke 2:27).  Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover. According to the custom, the family journeyed to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover when Jesus was twelve (Luke 2:42). Luke stresses the devout and habitual nature of the family’s faith practice.

Jesus was discipled in the faith of his father and mother, the faith of Israel. He was an obedient son to both his earthly parents and his heavenly father.

His training in the faith is seen by his keen interest in what was taught at the temple. When his parents found him, he was sitting with the teachers—listening, asking questions, and answering questions. He was fully engaged in a search, a yearning to know the God whom he recognized as Father. He did not isolate or withdraw, but sought out the teachers of the law to learn more. This was not a grandiose display of his knowledge to create shock and awe in others, but a devout and healthy fascination with his faith and his God.

Jesus is a human being. He grows up in a family that shapes his faith, customs and understanding. He learned as we all learn, and he grew up as a human being. It was “on-the-job-training” for the Incarnate Word.

Jesus, as human being, was not omniscient. Neither was his knowledge downloaded upon request as if he were Trinity in the Matrix needing to know how to fly a helicopter. His knowledge came like others—through learning, growth, discipling. He grew in his relationship with God and humanity.

As a human being, Jesus “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God” and the people.

Jesus was apprenticed in his vocation as the Messiah by the Father. He was apprenticed as a child by his parents. He was also apprenticed by the realities of human life in a fallen world—he learned what it was like to be human, depend on God and live in a community of faith.

Jesus was a disciple, too.  We learn how to be disciples from how he was discipled, how he pursued discipleship, and how he modeled discipleship for his disciples.  We, as disciples of Jesus, follow Jesus, the disciple.

Small Group Questions

  1. Do you ever imagine Jesus as a little boy? Where does your imagination take you? What is his relationship with his Dad, Mom and siblings like?
  2. What does this text tell us about his family relationship? How did this shape his faith development? What does this text reveal about Jesus’ character and devotion?
  3. What are some of your family faith traditions that identify you and draw you together as a family in the Lord?
  4. Was Jesus an apprentice in his family? What value do you see in thinking about Jesus as an apprentice? What dangers do you see?

Note: This is the first of a series of seven lessons at Woodmont on which Dean Barham, pulpit minister of the Woodmont Hills Family of God, and John Mark Hicks  are collaborating.  It involves homily, small group material and Bible class material. You can hear the sermons on the Woodmont podcast when they become available.  The series begins the first Sunday in February.

4 Responses to “Jesus, the Unlikely Apprentice I”

  1.   Adam G. Says:

    That’s a nice, apparently brief lesson. Thanks for sharing it.

  2.   John Mark Hicks Says:

    Yes, it is brief. 🙂 Thanks. This is actually the small group material. Dean will offer the homily on Sunday, and I will teach a Bible class on this theme.

  3.   rich constant Says:

    john mark

    well now i”ve done it …
    my flight will land this sat. around 12:07, john mark.
    you are prone to hospatially i am sure.
    i can’t wait to meet you and jennifer…
    so don’t go any where now!!!
    i am planing to stay untill tuesday morn.
    fly out at 11 am…
    i hope you you don’t need more than 4 hours of sleep each night….
    this will be fun…

    although not as much fun as i am having now..

    just kidding
    how is that old hart…. skip a beat did it…
    going to read the paper on luke 18:1-8 to night



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