Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.
42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.
43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?
50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. Luke 2:41-52
Jesus life has revolved around the feasts of HIs faith, Judaism. His family took Him every year to the Temple. The trek on foot from Nazareth to Jerusalem is approximately 65 miles. At a travel pace of 10-12 miles per day the round trip would take a minimum of two weeks: A two week early spring camping trip with entire families in tandem. As a child, Jesus would play along the way with siblings and cousins. Once in Jerusalem, He would meet up with extended family like cousin John and his parents Elizabeth and Zechariah. Family reunions with a purpose: Worship. Sacrifice. Learning.
Jesus we learn from Scripture had come to understand by age twelve “who” he is. Did His mother tell Him the story of His miraculous birth? Did the townspeople make sure Jesus knew He was different? Did Joseph have a discussion with Him? Did His perfection make Him stand out like a sore thumb in the family. Was Jesus the child prodigy? Did He have to learn to “keep His power to himself?”
By the age of twelve, Jesus knew His Father was Almighty God. He desired to be in His Father’s house–the Temple. He earnestly sought out those who knew about His Father, those who were suppose to have a relationship with the Father, the priests. He loved reading the Torah. His young spirit was seeking His Father. He was a bit indignant with His parents because they are scolding Him for doing what He felt they of all people should understand. As a parent, if you have ever had a pre-teen you know that look and that tone! You arrive at moron status as a parent.
Child development at this age is lightning fast. The period between childhood and adulthood is where identity is formed. The focus of interests becomes pronounced. Education becomes more directed toward career, income production, and areas of proficiency and enjoyment. Stature is reached as bones lengthen and growth plates close.
So what was Jesus trial and temptation during this period of life? It was all the trials and temptations of every other pre-teen: His identity. His voice is changing. His body is changing. His relationships are changing. His thoughts are changing. He is aware of sin and its consequences around Him. His responsibilities in the family are changing. Expectations are changing. He is aware of the cycle of life: birth, growth and development, struggle, illness, disability, disease, and death. He is aware of social status: the rich, the poor, the destitute, the smart, the mentally challenged, the socially acceptable rabbi and the social outcast prostitute.
We see from this scripture His identity is already firmly in place: “I must be about my Father’s business.” This is a statement of a child with a firm grip on their reality and the pushback society will provide. The pushback comes from parents, teachers, peers, and social norms for following expected paths.
Where have you felt “squashed into a box” of expectation? Are you the round peg and feel as if you must force yourself into a square hole to please those you love. Do you struggle with “being enough” just like you are? Have you ever done something that scared your parents and made them wonder if you would survive or if you had already met your demise? Jesus scared His mother and earthly father to the point of grief! They had begun to wonder if He had been taken, had been injured and died, if they would ever know what happened to Him. All because He put His agenda before the courtesy of keeping them informed. Was he disobedient? No, he was just preoccupied.
Scripture tells us He obediently went home and stayed in submission to His parents until His Heavenly Father said, “It is time to go.” Some 18 years later. (Luke 3:23)
What is God calling us to do but it is not quite time for? Like Jesus we can learn as much as we can in the interim. Often God calls us to do something and then there is complete silence. David experienced this. God had him anointed king, but it would be decades before this would come to pass. Joseph heard from God in a dream of how his life would unfold and then life fell apart. Jesus knew God had a plan but He was required to WAIT. There is much to learn and come to understand about God Most High in simply living out our daily lives. At twelve, Jesus was ready to get started. His Father used His mother and Joseph to say, “Not yet, Son!”
Growing. Waiting. Learning. Being in submission. Developing. Maturing. These are struggles we all face. The Father knew Jesus needed to learn these lessons in the security of a family. So often, we hear from the Lord early in life when we are attentive and then life seems to put the brakes on all our hopes, dreams, expectations, and desires or it gets too hard and we choose to go a different way. We can learn from the lives of Joseph the favored son, David the runt of the family, and Jesus the prodigy. Wait, on the Lord! Again I say:
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Three young men in Scripture who knew their destiny early but waited a long time to see all the Lord promised come to fruition. Even parents often know what a child’s destiny is. It can scare them to death. They foresee what the child cannot see–the dangers, the expense, the sacrifice required, the distance it will require, and the gain in the life of the child is a loss in the life of the parent!
The pre teen and teen years are when we grow in stature, in wisdom, and learn how to communicate appropriately with others and discover the hollow space in our heart only God can fill. Trying to fill this space often gets us into trouble. We can experiment with drugs, alcohol, lifestyles, hobbies, careers, and sex but only God’s Holy Spirit will fill this God-shaped vacuum. Open your eyes, listen with your ears and your heart, touch others with your words, be the hands and feet of God, and really feel with the compassion of God. Do not be afraid God has forgotten His promise to you or your children. He is faithful to complete what He begins! The temptation is to doubt His faithfulness. (Preaching to self right now!) He created you with a purpose, an identity, only you can fulfil. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6) You “were born for such a time as this!” (Esther 4:14) Joshua 1:9 reminds us, “Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be you dismayed: for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Born for This by Mandisa
Treading in Time,