41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
Have you had a chance to read the cards and letters from everyone yet? And when you read them, maybe you learned a few things about your old classmate from high school or college, a former neighbor, or your cousins that now live in North Carolina, or moving to Wisconsin. If you received a letter from someone who had a new addition to the family this past year, probably their new precious gift from God had a monopoly on the pictures in the letter or card. They might have talked about Arial who is potty trained, Brandi who started kindergarten, Cali is now playing basketball, David got his driver’s license, Emily is off to college, Frank is off to college, and Gene is getting married. I wonder what it would have been like to read Mary and Joseph’s newsletter? I wonder how long it took for the news and the surrounding events to reach the ears of their parents? I wonder if Mary and Joseph’s parents got to hold baby Jesus soon after he was born? But, these sort of details are not recorded for us on God’s Facebook pages. But, this is what the Bible shares with us.
The time between Jesus’ birth, escape to Egypt, return to Nazareth and then his baptism by John in the Jordan are the silent years. There are no stories or milestones recorded except for one. It is the story that breaks the silence of 12-year-old Jesus at the temple. We can muse about what sort of child Jesus was growing up, learning to walk, go to school, play with his friends, do his household chores with his siblings, skinning his knee and learning the art of carpentry, but the Holy Spirit didn’t see fit to share these events with us. However, the one event the Holy Spirit inspired Luke to record for us about Jesus growing up is important for us so that with Mary and Joseph and the teachers of the temple, we too, can grow
“in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
It’s Time To Grow Up With Jesus
To be more amazed at his knowledge
Our story picks up in the life of Jesus when he was twelve years old.
“41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom.”
According to the custom 12-year-old boys were required to learn and practice the laws of Moses that distinguished all Jewish boys form the Gentile counterparts. So, they made travels arrangements with their relatives in order to attend the Festival of the Passover in the spring of the year. Great foreshadowing of the day when Jesus would once again travel to Jerusalem in order to die on the cross for us all. Now, it was time to return home.
“43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day.”
It appears that Mary and Joseph were not necessarily helicopter parents and it was an ordinary thing for relatives to travel together in a larger caravan on the way home. However, after traveling for a day and beginning to wonder where Jesus was, and because Jesus had not checked in with them, so they head back to Jerusalem.
Here my mind goes crazy! Was it like parents shopping and suddenly losing sight of their child? Was it like the parents who anxiously watching the clock approaching 1:00AM and their teenage son isn’t home yet? Where is he? In the hospital? In jail? In a ditch somewhere? This is what Luke records,
“Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.”
Probably retracing their steps, asking people if they’d seen him, they eventually find him
. “46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions…..48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
We can feel the same fear and frustration as they find Jesus. Nothing new there. So, why does the Holy Spirit insert this little story into Luke’s gospel that involves a little family miscommunication? What’s so significant and spiritual about that? On a scale of 1 – 10 this seems to be a 1 in the events of Jesus’ life. Wouldn’t we rather be impressed on the questions and answers that were flying back and forth between Jesus and the most prominent, intelligent teachers of the land? Perhaps God is setting up this background information, so the careful Bible reader can contrast the ignorance and misunderstanding of Mary and Joseph with the knowledge and understanding of the 12-year-old Jesus. Here’s the hint:
“47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers….48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished.”
Yes, astonished! Even though the angels had told them of Jesus’ mission beyond Nazareth, even though Mary had confessed in her Magnificat,
“My soul glorifies the Lord 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name”
the angels, the shepherds, and wise men—while all of this was part of the history of Jesus’ identity, perhaps they didn’t know what to make of if all either. But, there in the temple this they know: It was time for them to grow up and be amazed at his knowledge for their little boy isn’t acting like a 12-year-old boy! He has taken his place among the most learned religious leaders, and more than that, he was engaging them in a very adult manner. Can’t you imagine Jesus sharing heavenly wisdom, asking profound questions as he often did during his ministry to make people think! It was time for everyone who heard him to Grow Up with Jesus and be amazed at his knowledge!
No doubt for Mary and Joseph, being amazed was also embarrassing. On the one hand they were grateful to find their child, proud at his behavior, and amazed at his conversation. But, on the other hand it was time for them to stop underestimating Jesus, too. Let this also be our lesson for today: We haven’t learned it all yet. It is time for us to grow up with Jesus, too! Stop sinning by forgetting the promises God has made to you, and they you have forgotten. Stop sinning by behavior that is frustrating your relationships with others because you have forgotten to apply the loving example of Jesus. Stop sinning by thinking you know it all and can stay away from God’s temple, or his Word at home, or personal time with God’s Word. Jesus loves to share his wisdom and knowledge with you from his Word to guide your decisions, give you help in life’s situations in marriage, parenting, and helping your neighbor. Jesus loves to teach you more about God’s plan of salvation, to believe more, love more, help more and live each day more and more impressed with Jesus’ knowledge. Are you in a good place in this regard? Simply ask yourself this simple question: Do you think Bible Study is for new members? Kingdom Kids? Confirmation kids? Only for the weak and dying? Is that all you think Bible Study is good for? St Peter would answer the question like this:
“18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
2 Peter 3:18
We are constantly learning about our family, relatives, acquaintances and neighbors on Facebook and Christmas letters, so we are always learning when we present ourselves to God’s Word whether we realize it or not. It’s just a matter of what we want to fill our minds and hearts. God doesn’t have to tell us to work harder at watching TV, playing video games, clicking on Facebook or Instagram. But the Lord does tell us to Grow Up With Jesus and Be More and More Impressed with his Wisdom, love, forgiveness for you. Praise be to God, he is going to continue to work at it. So, let’s work at it, too!
More Appreciative of Jesus’ Work Ethic
Who knows what’s best? You or someone else? Who has the best behavior? You or someone else? What do you do with good, godly, beneficial advice about a wrong decision or direction in your life? Because we so often fail in this regard, Jesus proclaims an amazing statement to his dear parents and to us.
“49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
In my young and foolish years, I can remember my parents driving (and they’re both good drivers) and I would think, “I can drive better.” Maybe you’ve had the same thought when it came to your parents. Don’t we even talk about children who grew up in a household where parents were very strict and protective and the kids think, “I’m not going to be that way with my kids someday.” That’s normal—parents correct the kids and set the boundaries—finish your chores before you play; practice your piano before you go outside; clean up your room before you play Xbox! But here we find Jesus correcting his parents about priorities and work ethic. He reminds them, and us, of a higher, heavenly responsibility. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Of all the things we think are important (health, sports, attitude, relationships) for our family, if Jesus would visit your family today would he say the same thing to you? Yes, it is in God’s House where the Lord wants us to gather to hear his Word, receive his sacraments, Pray, Worship and praise our God.
Again, we can only imagine what was going on in the minds of Mary and Joseph after this exchange with their son, but they certainly learned and had refreshed in their memory the importance of this child God had given to them to raise.
“50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.”
Yes, like a proud father who watches their son make mature decisions and engage in adult behavior, or like a happy mother who is so glad that their daughter has developed good study habits, while they may not have understood the immensity of the situation, they gained more insight in to the work ethic of their son. However, Jesus was gaining a fuller understanding of his work as the Savior, and he was performing this work faithfully. This faithful work also meant keeping God’s law perfectly which included his work ethic to perfectly obey his parents as age 12.
“51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them.”
When we make statements like this: “Jesus keep all the law perfectly for us,” we include this little event. Jesus perfectly obeyed his parents for all the times we did not. He had to do this for us so that when he died on the cross, he would have the prefect payment for all our sins and God would apply Jesus’ prefect obedience to us. No wonder
“But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.”
It meant something to her that her boy was growing up. It meant more to her that her son was recognizing his divine assignment and going to work with zeal for his real, heavenly Father. Jesus had the perfect work ethic.
He still carries out this work for us today. He is at God’s right hand hearing our prayers, never calls in sick, never forgets to apply his forgiveness to your sins, and never neglects you. Thank Jesus for his perfect work of salvation for you and then let’s keep growing more and more appreciative of Jesus’ work ethic for you and me. Let’s strive to live as Jesus has made us, his own brothers and sisters eagerly obeying our Father’s will. Let’s serve him all our days at home, work, school, at play.
There are things that surprise us, but they probably shouldn’t.
- Little jerks grow up to be big jerks! Right? When you learn the Junior bit someone at school today, we know he’s been biting since he got teeth.
- “I can’t believe how hot it is today!” Really? You live in Texas!
- Christmas comes faster each year! Not really. But, perhaps our real surprise is how much life we’ve lived, how much love we given, how many memories we were able to make in such a short time.
- I have no idea how many relatives grew up with Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It doesn’t really matter.
What matters for you and me is that now we are living in God’s time of grace. So Now It’s Time To Grow Up With Jesus
- To be more amazed at his knowledge
- To be more amazed at his work.