Explore the Bible: Matured

The Explore the Bible lesson for Jan. 3 focuses on Luke 2:41-52.

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  • The Explore the Bible lesson for Jan. 3 focuses on Luke 2:41-52.

In this week’s lesson, we see the now 12-year-old Jesus in the temple courts listening to the religious teachers and even asking them questions. I love the response Jesus received. Luke 2:47 says, “Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.” I highlight that word “amazed.”

In his very first public appearance and with his very first public utterances, people responded to Jesus with amazement. And what an appropriate response that is. Consider this list of words Webster defines as synonyms for, or words associated with, that word amazed: astonished, astounded, awed, awestruck, dumbfounded, flabbergasted, marveled, wondered, startled, surprised, bemused, bewildered, overwhelmed, staggered, stunned, shocked and stupefied.

It really shouldn’t amaze” us that the first words of Jesus were met with a word of response like any of these “amazingly” descriptive words. Amazement actually characterized the response of people throughout the earthly ministry of Jesus.

It’s amazing

Consider this list of the “amazed” reactions people had to the things Jesus said and did:

  • When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching (Matthew 7:28).
  • The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:27).
  • And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel” (Matthew 9:33).
  • Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed (Matthew 13:54).
  • The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing (Matthew 15:31).
  • When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked (Matthew 21:20).
  • When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away. (Matthew 22:22).
  • The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law (Mark 1:22).
  • The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority!” (Mark 1:27).
  • He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2:12).
  • So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed (Mark 5:20).
  • When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing?” (Mark 6:2).
  • Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed (Mark 6:51).
  • The disciples were amazed at his words (Mark 10:24).
  • The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” (Mark 10:26).
  • The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching (Mark 11:18).
  • Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him (Mark 12:17).
  • But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed (Mark 15:5).
  • Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers (Luke 2:47).
  • All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips (Luke 4:22).

Do you see the “amazingly” profound message in these verses? That’s 20 times in the Gospels that Jesus elicited a sense of amazement from the people he encountered!

And this leads me to ask you this question today. Are you still amazed at the words and works of Jesus in your life? As we launch a new year and a new year of Bible study together, perhaps this is a much-needed word of exhortation for all of us. Maybe we’ve all lost just a little of that sense of amazement that we once had when it comes to the reading and studying of God’s word. Maybe this is a good time to recapture and rededicate to our first-love sense of wonder and awe regarding the word of God and the words of Christ.

The religious leaders were amazed at a little 12-year old’s words. And this was just the beginning of the story. For the rest of his earthly life people were constantly being amazed. What about you? Are you still being amazed at the teachings of Jesus today?

Maybe this a good song for all of us to sing as we begin this new year together:

“I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene,
and wonder how he could love me, a sinner, condemned unclean.
How marvelous! How wonderful! and my song shall ever be;
How marvelous! How wonderful! is my Savior’s love to me!”

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Jim Lemons is professor of theological studies and leadership at Dallas Baptist University. He is a senior adult Sunday school teacher at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas. 

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