Every once in a while, I Greek-out. (That’s like geeking-out but with a biblical flair.)
It happened when I turned to this verse in Luke 2: And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature (v. 52, NIV). Stature? What are we talking about here?
According to my handy Greek lexicon, the word for stature is hēlikia. (Don’t ask me to pronounce it.) Different English translations of that word include “age” (length of life), “adult age” (maturity), “suitable age for anything” (old enough), “attained state fit for a thing” (the right age), and “height” (Jesus got taller).
These translations come from the six other contexts in which the word hēlikia is used in the New Testament. Whether a reference to Zacchaeus being too short, the man born blind being old enough to answer for himself, or Sarah giving birth when she was way past the age to do so, hēlikia speaks of height, age, maturity, and completeness.
Perhaps as this story from Jesus’ teenage years comes to a close, Luke is trying to say that Jesus grew in all of these ways. He didn’t just grow taller; he grew wiser, more experienced, more prepared for all that he was called to do.
One more Greeky-geek thing: Paul writes to the Ephesians that God has similarly prepared you and me. We have been given grace “to equip the saints” and “[build] up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of faith . . . to maturity . . . to the full hēlikia of Christ” (4:11-13).
I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty cool.
What would it take for you to believe you are old enough—or mature, wise, or experienced enough—to fully embrace the calling God has for you?
Jesus, I usually think that comparing myself to you is either arrogant or foolish. Help me see that growing to be just like you is exactly what I’m called to do. Amen.