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Beyond Parenting

December 31, 2018

Hoffman: 19th c.
Young Jesus in the Temple

Scripture: Luke 2:41–52

After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

Luke 2:46-47 NRSV

Jesus escapes from his family during the Passover festival in Jerusalem. He is twelve years of age: the oldest and first born. This is the only story from his youth that is available to us, so the writer of Luke likely wanted to include a really good one. And, he does not disappoint us. Although we are not told how, Jesus manages to stay behind in Jerusalem, leaving his parents uninformed of his intention or his reasons for parting from them without notice. Those of us who are parents, or grandparents, know that this scenario would be cause for great alarm and worry for the welfare of this child.

While the parents and relations are hurriedly seeking his whereabouts throughout the great city of Jerusalem, Jesus is at peace in the temple, doing what comes easily to him and fascinating his elders with his questions and insights. What’s more, Jesus is in the shelter of God’s home for the Jewish faithful. For the young Jesus, apparently that is all that he needs! His parents are another matter.

In the end, Jesus consents to obey these fully human, earthly parents. But, now he knows that there is a difference in the role he has within the family and the ultimate responsibility of his ministry. Christian tradition holds that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine. This makes him very special indeed, set apart from all others among humankind. In these verses, he is preparing for his ministry of healing and preaching and leading by example. And for you and me, it is the greatest blessing that he did so!

Today, we know that Jesus “got it right,” despite causing great stress and trauma for his parents and family. However, these verses witness to the depth and breadth of our description of Jesus in scripture. As the Son of God, he required special attention.

After all, it is he whom we know- as Lord and Savior.

Stan Reid


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