[June 25]--Jesus, Where Are You?

Luke 2:41-52

From the events surrounding Jesus’ early infancy we skip ahead to an incident which happened when he was twelve years old. Here are a few short notes:

• Again we see an indication of the godly and obedient nature of his earthly parents. They lived in Nazareth, which was way up in the northern part of the country (Galilee, remember?), and for them to make the long trip every year to the Passover was a sure sign of their attempt to follow God’s law. Jesus grew up in a home where the Lord’s word was honored and obeyed.

• Jesus was twelve, which was the age around which children were considered to be on the verge of becoming an adult. The men and women traveled in separate caravans, and a boy of twelve could've been in either group, or with relatives (as the passage states). That’s why it’s perfectly reasonable for his parents to leave without him and go for some time without missing him.

• Notice that he'd been missing for three days before they found him. Can you imagine the terror going through the minds of his parents?

• In contrast to the sheer panic exhibited by his parents, I just love Jesus’ calm response to them. Mary called Joseph his “father,” which legally he was. But his answer to them contrasts Mary’s designation of Joseph with Jesus’ true Father. They could have saved whatever time they spent looking for him all over Jerusalem. This was his Father’s house, and so that’s where he was.

• I know it’s trite, but there’s truth to this statement: Mary and Joseph weren’t the last people to lose Jesus at church. Thank you, Michael Card.

Again, assuming that this was told to Luke by Mary, I find it interesting that this stuck out in her mind when reminiscing with the author. She told us nothing about his childhood, about his relationship with his (half) brothers, whether he had any friends, what he liked to do in his spare time, etc. What she (and the Spirit inspiring this) wanted us to know was this event from his childhood. Why? What’s the point here? Because this is a foreshadowing of his later life.

Luke made sure to tell us that Jesus from that point forward submitted himself to the authority of his parents. The One who gave us the Fifth Commandment would not disobey it by showing his parents any lack of honor or respect. But there would come a time, prefigured by what happened here, in which Jesus would have to forsake his temporal family obligations and step forward on the path his real Father had planned out.

And contained within this passage, we find the mystery of the Incarnation touched upon. In one sentence we find Jesus referring to his real “Father”: He is God in the flesh, the Word sent to dwell among us. Nothing has been made apart from him. Every molecule in the universe exists because he said so. In the beginning, he was with God, and he was God. And then two and three verses later we see the human side of the equation. He submitted to the temporary authority of people whom he had created. And even more mysterious, he grew. Not just physically. He grew in wisdom and in favor with God and men. Now, how exactly does an omniscient God grow in wisdom? You got me. The best explanation I’ve heard is that in the Incarnation, the Living Word laid aside his divine privileges. Part of the Father’s plan was that he wouldn't have access to everything he would've had as God. There were parts of the Father’s plan which he didn’t know fully as an adult. Again, if you can explain this fully, you’re smarter than me.

For today’s prayer, how’s about we sit in silence for a few moments and contemplate and meditate on what our Lord went through in order to redeem us? He submitted to the Father’s plan-- which had a lot of unpleasant aspects--for your sake and mine. Putting himself under the authority of his parents was just about the easiest part of that plan. He was in store for a lot worse. Think about that for a bit, will you?

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