READ: Luke 2:40-52
I’m a bit surprised at everything today’s reading raises up in me. I so relate to Mary in this passage. I can feel the terror of being a full day away from Jerusalem only to realize my son, my precious deeply loved son, is not with me. I can so imagine it – a caravan of family and friends, people I love and trust with my life. First I feel the secure, just under consciousness certainty that Jesus is out of sight, but safe with his cousin. I mean, after all, the last time I saw him he was running around with him having fun like any young boy. Then, I imagine the longest day and a half of my life traveling with Joseph back to Jerusalem and searching and searching. And finally, finding him back in the temple! In some ways, no surprise after seeing him lit up and on fire during the temple ceremonies of the Passover celebration. But still, that rush of frustration that comes with renewed safety and the “How could you do this to me, to us?”
This was likely not Jesus’ first trip to Jerusalem for the Feast. But there is a poignancy about this trip – his last before he turns thirteen and is required to keep all the law as one who has reached maturity. One of the requirements of the law for a man was that he would go to the temple for the three great feasts of Judaism – the Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles. Next year Jesus would be in Jerusalem for all three. But in Jesus I see one who is so ready. I can picture him sitting in the temple at the feet of the teachers along with a group of young disciples. Typically the Rabbis taught by asking questions and those sitting at their feet took turns answering. Jesus wowed everyone with the understanding demonstrated in his answers. He was where He was gifted and called to be – although the true call would be fulfilled when he took the role of teacher.
His answer to his mother’s question and then his physical response reveals so much to me. Jesus is powerfully drawn to the call and passion of his life. He needs to be in his Father’s house, about his Father’s work. There is a call on him to which he longs to be obedient. But, he ultimately responds to his mother by returning with his parents down from the temple mount to Nazareth and to a place of obedience to his parents. This is a key decision point in this young man’s life. Who will he obey? How will he obey? Hebrews 5:8 tells us “Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered…” Hebrews is specifically addressing what he learned in the suffering in the garden, but I believe Jesus ‘learning obedience’ began much earlier, just like ours does. In the day-to-day submission to his parents, he learned the greater submission and obedience to God that bought our salvation.
Jesus is so much more than me and you, but in so many was he experienced what we experience and left us a path to follow. There are seasons of my life where the call of God to a particular task or passion is so thick it presses on me. I long to make right decisions about submission and obedience and trusting God’s timing – just like Jesus did.
Lord, thank You for this story from Your life. Give me discernment, discipline, obedience to You and Your timing for the dreams and passions You place in me. Give me trust that You are at work helping me learn obedience and this for Your greater glory in me!