And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. 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. And when his parents[a] saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”[b] And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature[c] and in favor with God and man.Luke 2:40-52
I once knew a family who would leave their son at church from time to time. I’d be getting ready to lock the building and Charlie would come to me and say, “Do you know where my mom and dad are?” Having driven separately, they would each leave thinking Charlie was with the other. Sometimes they would show up to get him, other times we’d have to call them, “Hey, you forgot Charlie again.” So before you become too critical of Mary and Joseph here, put yourself in their shoes.
Passover was an extremely busy, exciting time in Jerusalem. The City of 30,000 would swell to a population of 500,000. Passover was one of three major festivals (Exodus 23:14) that required a pilgrimage to Jerusalem each year. Families and entire villages would travel together. For safety, men would walk in the front and back, putting the women and children in the middle as the group would navigate narrow mountain trails. During Passover large groups would camp together in and around the city of Jerusalem. For some reason when it was time to leave, Jesus didn’t get the message. Mary and Joseph must have believed he was in the group somewhere.
Imagine the terror they experienced when they realized they have left Jesus behind. He could be anywhere, along the path, still in Jerusalem or maybe he accidently left with the wrong group. With no way to communicate, Mary and Joseph begin the trip back to Jerusalem to look for Jesus. After three days they found him in the last place you’d expect to find a 12-year-old boy: the temple.
But then, Jesus is not your normal 12-year-old boy. Luke tells us in verse 40, that the child Jesus was being filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon him. Jesus’ heavenly Father had been teaching, revealing and imparting wisdom to him through the work of Holy Spirit. So much so that everyone who heard him asking questions of the teachers were amazed at his understanding.
But I’m also amazed at his devotion. At the age of 12, Jesus is already committed to the work of the Father. After being scolded by Mary, Jesus calmly responds, “Where did you think I would be? What else would I be doing?” Jesus is already aware of what’s most important in this world, in his life: being with and serving the Father.
How often are we distracted but what’s truly important in life? Especially during this time of year, the busyness, chaos, and excitement around us tend to capture our attention and cause us to lose sight of God’s presence and calling on our lives. We chase after our own agendas, leaving important things behind. We get swept away with anxiety and fear when only one thing really matters.
Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Paul Viers | Senior Pastor