Parents often believe that their children are special. Many even have collections of heartwarming stories to prove it. Well, Jesus’ parents had WAY more. From the angelic annunciation of his birth to stellar signs in the sky, it was clear to mom and dad that their boy had a big call on his life.
So how did Jesus step into his calling? Did he model anything we can apply on the journey towards our own calling? In this post, I will explore 7 virtues Jesus displayed in his transition from a working class Israelite to the man who turned the world upside down.
And [Jesus] went down with [his parents] and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. – Luke 2:51
Many of us are familiar with the story of Mary and Joseph losing 12 year old Jesus in Jerusalem. When they finally found him several days later, sitting in the temple and amazing the religious teachers with his wisdom, he seemed surprised that his parents didn’t check the temple first — the place he called his “Father’s house”.
It’s clear from this story that, at an early age, Jesus was already well advanced beyond his years in the things of God. Moreover, he also understood his identity as the Son of God. Yet, he didn’t play the “I’m the Son of God and can do whatever I want” card, but humbly submitted himself to those who were in a position of authority over his life.
Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age. – Luke 3:23
Both Jesus and his parents had every reason to believe he was destined for greatness. Yet, he was a simple blue collar worker up until he was thirty years old. So did Jesus spend 3 decades of his life living down to his potential? Or is it simply the amount of time it took for Jesus to catch his big break?
From everything we know about his early life, there’s no record of Jesus striving to enter ministry. There are no signs of discontentment or attempts to escape his humble status for a greater position.
Yes, Jesus was destined for greatness, but he was content with the journey. He had faith in God’s purpose for his existence. Moreover, he had faith in God’s ability to fulfill that purpose.
Therefore, he was free to live in the moment, to enjoy being a son, a brother and a neighbor. He didn’t hide away on a mountaintop somewhere, plotting his grand entrance into ministry. Instead, he picked up his carpentry tools every day and served his community in a very practical way.
When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”- John 2:3–4
Leading up to Jesus’ first miracle, scripture records a fascinating exchange between Jesus and Mary, his mother.
Like most moms, it’s likely Mary was eager to see her boy finally enter his calling — to step into the spotlight and sparkle. Yet, Jesus was careful not to step into anything at the wrong time.
His mother looked for opportunities. But Jesus, like a good orchestra musician, looked to the conductor of his life’s symphony — carefully observing every gesture and patiently awaiting the cue to play his part.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. -Matthew 3:13
After spending 30 years in obscurity, the time finally came for Jesus to step into his public ministry. We always begin Christ’s story with its end in mind. Yet, to the people of his day, Jesus wasn’t the Risen King when he began teaching. He was just a local carpenter — Joseph’s boy.
Therefore, it took courage to turn and walk in direct opposition of people’s expectations — to choose God’s vision for his life over society’s.
And behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” – Matthew 3:17
It goes without saying that faith is a must have fundamental virtue for any believer. In fact, scripture goes as far as to say that no one can please God without it (Heb. 11:6).
And there’s no doubt that Jesus pleased Father God — so much so that God announced it from heaven for all to hear (Mat. 3:17). So, it’s safe to say that Jesus was full of faith, faith that opened heaven and moved the Father’s heart to publicly declare his affection for a son who was confident in what he hoped for and certain in what he did not yet see.
He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor . . .” – Luke 4:17–19
The above quote is an excerpt from a dramatic story in the Bible. Jesus was visiting his hometown synagogue one Sabbath day. At some point, he was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah to read. He unrolled it, found a place in the scroll and boldly read to the congregation a nearly 700 year old prophecy about himself. After he finished, he rolled up the scroll, sat down and said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luk. 4:17).
Where did Jesus get such confidence in his identity? He got it in the desert where, shortly before this event, he was fasting 40 days. And the devil payed Jesus a visit there, tempting him to perform miracles that would prove he was truly the Son of God. Yet, Jesus didn’t comply. His confidence in his identity didn’t lie in miraculous powers. His confidence in his identity, as was later displayed in the synagogue, was solely in God’s word for his life.
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” – John 1:43
Jesus took on his first disciples almost immediately after getting baptized. He wasted no time getting to work. He began teaching, performing miracles and healing the sick.
Moreover, he did all this in the face of constant opposition from religious leaders, his hometown community and even his own family. Yet, he didn’t quit. There is no mention of Jesus ever returning to carpentry. When the time came for him to step out into God’s purpose for his life, he did so without looking back. Even if it meant losing his business and leaving the comfort of his home, Jesus was all in.
[God] is declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.” -Isaiah 16:10
The above quote is found in the same scroll from which Jesus read on that Sabbath day in the synagogue. It’s likely Jesus was very familiar with that passage. As a result, he understood the nature of God — that he creates everything and everyone for a specific purpose. Moreover, he understood that God is the one who sees to it that his purpose comes to pass — hence the contentment, confidence and all the other virtues he modeled.
Now it’s likely that no angeles declared your birth to shepherds, but God has a purpose for your life as well.
For we are [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10
Before the world was formed, God set out to accomplish something in the earth, and he called you to do it. This calling is the purpose for your existence. And with God, you are more than able to fulfill it. Take a moment to meditate on how you can apply the virtues Jesus displayed to your own journey towards calling.