The child grew - As to his body - being in perfect health.
Waxed strong in spirit - His rational soul became strong and vigorous.
Filled with wisdom - The divinity continuing to communicate itself more and more, in proportion to the increase of the rational principle. The reader should never forget that Jesus was perfect man, as well as God.
And the grace of God was upon him - The word χαρις, not only means grace in the common acceptation of the word, (some blessing granted by God's mercy to those who are sinners, or have no merit), but it means also favor or approbation: and this sense I think most proper for it here, when applied to the human nature of our blessed Lord; and thus our translators render the same word, Luke 2:52. Even Christ himself, who knew no sin, grew in the favor of God; and, as to his human nature, increased in the graces of the Holy Spirit. From this we learn that, if a man were as pure and as perfect as the man Jesus Christ himself was, yet he might nevertheless increase in the image, and consequently in the favor, of God. God loves every thing and person, in proportion to the nearness of the approaches made to his own perfections.
Strong in spirit - In mind, intellect, understanding. Jesus had a human soul, and that soul was subject to all the proper laws of a human spirit. It therefore increased in knowledge, strength, and character. Nor is it any more inconsistent with his being God to say that his soul expanded, than to say that his body grew.
Filled with wisdom - Eminent for wisdom when a child - that is, exhibiting an extraordinary understanding, and “wise” to flee from everything sinful and evil.
And the grace of God - The word “grace” in the New Testament commonly means unmerited favor shown “to sinners.” Here it means no more than favor. God showed him favor, or was pleased with him and blessed him.
It is remarkable that this is all that is recorded of the infancy of Jesus; and this, with the short account that follows of his going to Jerusalem, is all that we know of him for thirty years of his life. The design of the evangelists was to give an account of his “public ministry,” and not his private life. Hence, they say little of him in regard to his first years. What they do say, however, corresponds entirely with what we might expect. He was wise, pure, pleasing God, and deeply skilled in the knowledge of the divine law. He set a lovely example for all children; was subject to his parents, and increased in favor with God and man.
Christ is our ideal. He has left a perfect example for childhood, youth, and manhood. He came to this earth, and passed through the different phases of human experience. In His life sin found no place. From the beginning to the close of His earthly life, He preserved unsullied His loyalty to God. The Word says of Him, “The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him.” He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” RC 37.3Read in context »