Read: Luke 2:41-52
Today we read a story that I’ve read a hundred times. It reveals the incredible truth that Jesus was fully human and, we later appreciate, fully God. Of all the stories, I’m so grateful that Luke was careful about choosing this one.
There are times when I read a verse that my head seems to spin, my thoughts get completely lost and I simply have to stop. This is one of those:
Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. Luke 2:41
I’m sure that most will read that verse and continue on to the main point of the story, but when I read the first four words today, I froze.
This young couple (well, at least Mary was young) invested 30 years into Jesus’ life before His public ministry began. Three-Zero. Something like 11,000 days Mary and Joseph woke up to see Jesus. At first they tended to Him when He was a baby. Feeding, dressing, holding, cleaning. Routine things you do with an infant. Later, getting excited about first steps, walking, talking, playing.
I don’t know when Joseph left the scene, but I can’t help but imagine the looks they gave each other and the conversations that began with, “what do we teach the Son of God?” Seriously!
Jesus’ parents were so faithful, so obedient, completely confident that God would do what He said, that they raised Jesus in a home alongside other families, John the Baptist, His cousin, other children, James. I know I’m rambling a bit because, as I said, I’m lost in the wonder of thousands of days when Jesus called Mary and Joseph–mom and dad.
Perhaps this is the perfect couple. Jesus would later be referred to as the simple one that came from a lowly village, but no words are recorded that belittle Mary and Joseph. Not once do we read something negative about Jesus’ parents.
Thank you Lord for such an example of faithful, loving parents.
And then, the rest of the story. These perfect parents lose Jesus.
Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. Luke 2:44-45
They went back to find Him…oh my! They went back kicking and screaming, hair on fire, holy fill-in-the-blank, weren’t you paying attention, he said, she said–where is Jesus?!?!
I don’t know about you, but I’m sure that most of us have misplaced a child at least once, or maybe it’s just me. Like the Sunday when our oldest two, Miranda and Katrina, decided to walk to church, 12 miles away. Talk about panic! Or they time Alyssa took a nap in the third seat of our 15-passenger van. Oh yes, when we did not find them, we went looking with all kinds of thoughts running through our minds, no doubt. Looking back, knowing the complete story, I can be calm–not in the moment.
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.” Luke 2:48
Anxiously searching, to say the least. Jesus was merely sitting with the elders having a conversation. I wonder if some of these same elders would later be early Christians, memories of this time flooding their minds when they heard stories about the preacher on the hillside.
Jesus’ response is amazing:
“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Luke 2:49-50
No worries mom and dad, we were just walking to church, I was just taking a nap, or we decided it would be fun to walk in the woods, etc. We weren’t trying to upset you, we were just doing our own thing. Isn’t this what we want? Eventually, our children grow up and become independent of parents. Just not starting at 12!
The Son of God continues to amaze us as He shows His reverence for mom and dad, the earthly parents:
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. Luke 2:51
As a parent, this chapter tugs and pulls on my heart. You’ve probably figured that out by now. It’s such a challenging task to raise children, constantly wondering if this was the right discipline or if we should just let that slide with a glance and raised eye-brow. It simply amazes me that Jesus was obedient to his parents on earth. He walked and talked with his relatives and friends for many years before His ministry began.
Lord, of all the stories You could tell, all the books You could have inspired, thank you for giving us this insight into the early life of Jesus.