The parallels between the birth of the prophet Samuel and Jesus Christ are quite remarkable. Compare the incredible similarity between Hannah’s song in 1 Samuel 2 and the Magnificat of Mary in Luke 1. Mary was well versed in this Old Testament narrative and seems to have used Hannah’s grateful praise as a springboard for her own.
Now compare the development of Samuel with the development of Jesus.
“And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favour with the LORD and with men.” (1 Samuel 2:26)
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men.” (Luke 2:52)
Jesus grew! Born as a helpless limited baby and placed within a manger he now progresses through the stages of development.
1) He grew in wisdom – Wisdom was no new theme for a Jewish home. Consider Proverbs a book of wisdom and the role it may well have had in the lives of Joseph and Mary. The wisdom literature of the Old Testament directed the faithful to YHWH the fountain of true wisdom.
2) He grew in stature – Healthy children grow and parents have the joy of watching all the stages of normal development. Jesus is now entering his teenage years, a period kept silent in holy Scripture. Growth spurts occur as puberty brings about development – the boy becomes a man.
3) He grew in favour with God – What a remarkable statement! Although in very nature God, the eternal Word now made flesh, grows in favour with God. This is the eternal Son, in whom the Father is well pleased.
4) He grew in favour with men – Already at age twelve, those who heard him were amazed at his understanding. Noone ever spoke like this man. Noone ever conducted his life like this man.
Luke 2:52 has been often used as a model text for Christian children. There’s always room for more growth! With God’s help, children are encouraged to follow the example of Jesus Christ, not to gain salvation, but to evidence the reality (if indeed it is true), that they already are children of God.
I have encountered at various times in my life individuals and groups who have pushed hard the challenge of following Christ’s example–one would think salvation was by imitation. The Scriptures are clear – Salvation is by GRACE alone, through FAITH alone in CHRIS alone. Though Jesus set a perfect example, we are called to trust Him, to believe in Him, to confess Him as our Lord and Saviour. The hymnwriter expressed it this way –
“Believe…..on the Lord Jesus Christ
Believe…..on the Lord Jesus Christ
Believe…..on the Lord Jesu Christ
and thou shalt be saved!”