Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
- Luke 2:41-52
“Losing a child in a public place is terrifying for any parent. Minutes feel like hours while they search. Imagine what it would feel like to lose your child in a big city, for three days, with no recollection of the last time you had seen him. This is exactly what happened to Mary and Joseph when Jesus was a boy.
“Jesus and His parents traveled to Jerusalem every year to celebrate Passover. Once the festival had ended, Mary and Joseph began their trip back home, and after an entire day of traveling, they realized that Jesus wasn’t with them. They returned to Jerusalem. It took three days of searching, but they finally found Him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers.
“The Bible says that everyone who was with Jesus were ‘amazed at his understanding and his answers’ for the religious leaders (Luke 2:47). The original Greek for this passage doesn’t indicate that their surprise was a one-time occurrence. It says that they were repeatedly amazed, as if their eyes were bulging out. Why? Was Jesus already angering the religious leaders with His teaching? No. Jesus was not a teacher in this story, but a student. And it was His genuine questions that shocked those around Him because they showed great propriety, wisdom, and intense interest for religion in such a young boy.
“Take a lesson from twelve-year-old Jesus today. Strive to gain wisdom that astonishes those around you–over and over. Ask God to give you an intense desire to know Him better, like Jesus had.“
- Presidential Prayer Team Devotion
I make no bones about it that I watch weather on television. They have cute sayings that are totally worthless. “Turn around. Don’t drown.” “When thunder roars, go indoors.” I was a Safety Director. You can come up with the catch phrases all you want, but unless safety is a way of life – thoroughly engrained, the catch phrases will not work in the present American society. You will still have people drive around barricades and drown. If they don’t quite drown, they will give the standard response, “I didn’t know.” They knew, but most people think that they are mightier than they really are or smarter than the person who set up the barricade.
That being said, the “Hot Car Index” has infuriated me. They show it after each child in the US dies after being left in the backseat of a car. Most of these children are not found until after the child dies. How can anyone be that stupid? Do they not love their children?
Oops. Wait. Joseph and Mary loved Jesus. They were definitely not stupid. My mathematical brain finds fault in the devotional quote. It says they lost their Son for three days in the big city of Jerusalem. No, they spent a day traveling toward Nazareth. They had to have spent a day traveling back to Jerusalem. Jet packs were not invented yet. Then, they spent three days looking for Jesus. That is five days, not three. If that had been a hot car incident, Jesus would be dead in five hours, or less.
First, shame on me for comparing my perfect track record regarding not leaving my children in a hot car to those who have. Also, I will not try to go back and tell Joseph and Mary how to retrace steps and not spend time in the places that you have not been – only where you were. Joseph and Mary did not stay at the temple. They may have stayed with family or friends. The natural place to look would be where you spent the night, the neighborhood, the local ball fields and parks – not the temple. That I will grant to them.
But here, a twelve-year-old boy was amazing the greatest minds of His day with His questions and insight.
I have been amazed at twelve-year-olds in the past, but most children who are twelve act like they are twelve years old. Even those who have impressed me cannot keep up the amazement. At some point, a soccer ball bounces in the distance and they stop asking questions. “Been fun! Gotta go!” And they are gone. Alan Sherman’s classic lament, Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh, where he begs his parents to take him home from summer camp, ends with “It stopped raining. It stopped hailing. Guys are swimming. Guys are sailing, playing baseball. Gee, that’s bettah! Muddah, Fadduh, kindly disregard this lettah!” (For those who do not read English as a first language, change the words ending in “ah” to “er.” Sherman was using a non Rhotic American dialect of New York or Boston origin in his song. Of course, Muddah and Fadduh are mother and father.)
You can see that using an Alan Sherman reference to prove my point means that there are 60-somethings that betray the inner child also.
But Jesus? They continued to be amazed by Him.
When were we last in the presence of God and we sat, totally amazed, dumbfounded? Maybe we need to tap that inner child and become amazed again.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.