Graduation is upon us and in a few short days, family, friends and students will be gathering to celebrate this truly momentous occasion. For parents and relatives, feelings of pride and satisfaction well up in our souls as they see the children in their lives grow up, having achieved so much. For the young men and women who are graduating, after years of projects, tests, reports and so much homework, they will receive the recognition that they truly deserve. 

But what if I were to tell you that there was one graduate who stands above all others? A graduate who not only achieved great things but also changed the course of history?

Pastor Trevor Van Laar

That graduate is none other than Jesus of Nazareth.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “Jesus was a graduate? I didn’t know that!” Did they even have high school back then? But the truth is, Jesus’ life was marked by a constant pursuit of knowledge and understanding, and his ministry was the culmination of years of preparation and education.

In the Bible, we read that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and spent his early years in Nazareth. As a young boy, he attended synagogue and learned from the Jewish scriptures. He was known for his intelligence, and even as a child, he was able to hold his own in discussions with religious leaders.

As Jesus grew older, he continued to gain insight in the spiritual laws. When he was 12, he spent three days discussing the scriptures with the teachers in the temple. His parents and other adults were amazed by his understanding and wisdom.

Throughout his ministry, Jesus was known for his discernment and kindness. He spoke in parables and used everyday objects and situations to teach deep spiritual truths. He was able to explain complex theological concepts in a way that was accessible to everyone.

But Jesus’ graduation was not just about knowledge and understanding. It was also about service and sacrifice. Jesus’ ministry was marked by his compassion for the poor and marginalized, and his willingness to give up his own life for the sake of others.

In fact, it was his ultimate act of sacrifice that changed the course of history. Jesus’ death and resurrection opened the door to salvation and eternal life for all who believe in him. His ministry was not just about teaching and preaching, but about bringing the kingdom of God to earth and restoring the broken relationship between God and humanity.

As we celebrate those who are graduating this year, it’s important to remember the example of Jesus. Like him, we should never stop pursuing knowledge and understanding. But we should also remember that our education is not just for our own benefit, but for the benefit of others. We should use our gifts and talents to serve those around us and make a positive impact in the world. May we all strive to follow in his footsteps, and may our own graduations be marked by a commitment to making the world a better place.

Trevor Van Laar is Pastor at Gilroy Presbyterian Church and a member of the Interfaith Clergy Alliance. He can be reached at [email protected].

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