Amazed by his words
By the Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh, Special Writer
Background text: Luke 2:41-52
Devotional text: Luke 2:47
As we enter the New Year and continue our Bible reading about the life of Jesus, we come to Luke 2:41-52.
We have already read through the miraculous birth stories of Jesus, from the angel Gabriel’s annunciation to Mary through the coming of the Magi from the east who brought with them gifts for the child Jesus. The gifts that were fit for a king.
There is nothing else said about the early years of Jesus in the Bible until we come to the section of scripture found in Luke when Jesus was 12 years old.
The first thing we learn in this section of scripture is that “every year (Jesus’) parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover.” However, as we read more, we find the visit to Jerusalem, when Jesus was 12, would be of great significance.
We need to understand at this point that Jesus’ age would have allowed him to be treated as one closer to adulthood rather than as one of the younger children.
Continuing with scripture (43-45), we read, “After the Feast 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.”
It’s good for us to know that people would not travel alone when going to the feast days in Jerusalem. They would travel in caravans of people, many made up of relatives and friends. They traveled this way for protection from thieves that were often encountered along the roads.
With this information in mind, we can understand that Jesus could have traveled with other family members or friends, thus becoming lost in the sight of his parents. So they traveled on for a day while looking for him among their caravan companions.
Finally realizing Jesus was not with them, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. It would be another three days before they found him sitting with the teachers in the temple courts (verse 46). Jesus was found listening to the rabbis and asking questions.
Another important bit of information about the teachers in the temple is to understand the significance of these rabbis.
During the Passover festival, the most wise of the rabbis would gather together in the temple court to discuss and to teach concerning the great truths of their religious beliefs. Perhaps they were even discussing the expected coming of the Messiah.
As we come to the next verses of scripture in this section (47-50), we continue to understand more about who Jesus was and the person he was becoming.
“Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding. 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.”
It is obvious that Mary and Joseph never expected their son to be in the temple sitting with the most-learned rabbis and keeping pace with their wisdom. As the scripture tells us, those who were listening to the rabbis’ discussion were amazed by this young man’s wisdom and knowledge.
We can also understand how the parents of Jesus had been frantically searching for him. Once found, they were equally astonished to find him with the rabbis.
Jesus’ answer to them is typical of young men. To him, begotten through the Holy Spirit, it was natural for him to sit with the rabbis while in Jerusalem. However, to his parents, who had not seen this side of him before, he was their son whom they feared was lost in the crowd.
This section is completed in verses 51-52: “Then he went 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 men.”
Once Mary had a chance to think about where they had found Jesus and what he was doing there among the rabbis, she realized even more how unique was her son. Mary and Joseph did not know what the future would hold for Jesus, but in this section they were beginning to realize that God was fulfilling a special purpose for him.
After these readings found in Luke 2, we do not hear any more of the life of Jesus during his next 18 years. The scriptures tell us he returned to Nazareth with his parents and was obedient to them. Here we learn that though Jesus had a special calling on his life, he was raised as a normal youth and he was obedient.
This reminds us of God’s commandment to honor our fathers and our mothers. Jesus followed the commandment through his youth. We may not know details, but we can assume that being the oldest son he would have grown to also help his father in the carpentry business.
The next time we see Jesus in Luke is in chapter three. Jesus, at age 30, went to the Jordan River to be baptized by the man we know as John the Baptist.
Next week, we will continue to look at some of the amazing words of Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, as he took on his Messianic ministry.