on Luke 2 :52
Jesus increased in wisdom - See on Luke 2:40 (note).
The following remarks, taken chiefly from Mr. Claude, on the foregoing subject, are well worth the reader's attention.
I. The birth of Christ is announced to the shepherds.
1. God causes his grace to descend not only on the great and powerful of the world, but also upon the most simple and inconsiderable; just as the heavens diffuse their influence not only on great trees, but also on the smallest herbs.
2. God seems to take more delight in bestowing his favors on the most abject than in distributing them among persons of elevated rank. Here is an example: for while he sent the wise men of the east to Herod, he sent an angel of heaven to the shepherds, and conducted them to the cradle of the Savior of the world.
3. In this meeting of the angels and shepherds, you see a perpetual characteristic of the economy of Jesus Christ; wherein the highest and most sublime things are joined with the meanest and lowest. In his person, the eternal Word is united to a creature, the Divine nature to the human, infinity to infirmity, in a word, the Lord of glory to mean flesh and blood. On his cross, though he appears naked, crowned with thorns, and exposed to sorrows, yet at the same time he shakes the earth, and eclipses the sun. Here, in like manner, are angels familiar with shepherds; angels, to mark his majesty; shepherds, his humility.
4. This mission of angels relates to the end for which the Son of God came into the world; for he came to establish a communion between God and men, and to make peace between men and angels: to this must be referred what St. Paul says, Colossians 1:20, It pleased the Father, by him, to reconcile all things to himself.
5. However simple and plain the employments of men may be, it is always very pleasing to God when they discharge them with a good conscience. While these shepherds were busy in their calling, God sent his angels to them.
6. God does, in regard to men, what these shepherds did in regard to their sheep. He is the great Shepherd of mankind, continually watching over them by his providence.
II. The glory of the Lord shone round the shepherds.
1. When angels borrow human forms, in order to appear to men, they have always some ensigns of grandeur and majesty, to show that they are not men, but angels.
2. The appearance of this light to the shepherds in the night, may very well be taken for a mystical symbol. Night represents the corrupt state of mankind when Jesus came into the world; a state of ignorance and error. Light fitly represents the salutary grace of Christ, which dissipates obscurity, and gives us the true knowledge of God.
III. The shepherds were filled with great fear.
1. This was the effect of their great surprise. When grand objects suddenly present themselves to us, they must needs fill us with astonishment and fear, for the mind, on these occasions, is not at liberty to exert its force; on the contrary, its strength is dissipated, and during this dissipation it is impossible not to fear.
on Luke 2 :52
In favour with God - That is, in proportion to his advance in wisdom. This does not imply that he ever lacked the favor of God, but that God regarded him with favor in proportion as he showed an understanding and spirit like his own. Happy are those children who imitate the example of Jesus - who are obedient to parents who increase in wisdom - who are sober, temperate, and industrious, and who thus increase in favor with God and people.
on Luke 2 :52
2:52 Jesus increased in wisdom - As to his human nature, and in favour with God - In proportion to that increase. It plainly follows, that though a man were pure, even as Christ was pure, still he would have room to increase in holiness, and in consequence thereof to increase in the favour, as well as in the love of God.