“Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them.”
Typical boys at one time or another create anxiety for their parents. Jesus was typical in that sense! Even boys who have been told that they are good have at one time or another been disobedient. They have broken their parents rules on occasions … they have disobeyed them … they have sinned. Jesus was an atypical boy in that sense! In Hebrews 5:15, of Jesus we read, “in every respect [he] has been tested as we are, yet without sin.” Perhaps the closest that we ever come to seeing Jesus being sinful is in this story!
After having gone up to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover, Jesus lags behind at the Temple, while his parents and others of their party have left the city to return home. Mary and Joseph have assumed that Jesus is somewhere in the caravan and a day later they realize he is not to be found. Mary and Joseph quickly return to Jerusalem anxious to find their son. They look frantically for him everywhere. On the third day they do find Jesus and he is in the Temple. There he is sitting and listening to the teachers and asking them questions. The teachers are all amazed at his understanding and his answers.
Mary and Joseph’s first reaction is astonishment as they observe the interaction between the teachers and their son, Jesus. Their second reaction is one of great relief. Their third reaction is one of some frustration as Mary his mother asks, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” Jesus responded, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” They did not understand him! Jesus most likely gave Mary and Joseph some anxious moments while he was growing up, making it difficult to be his parents. As parents they were concerned for his safety and well-being. Then we read, “Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them.” Mary and Joseph, most likely realized that Jesus had not been exactly disobedient to them, but his absence had disturbed them greatly. Later, they may have realized that Jesus showed a greater obedience to His Father by remaining in the Temple … to grow in wisdom and in the knowledge of God’s will.
Once again we read that as with the shepherds’ declaration following Jesus’ birth, Mary treasured all these things in her heart. Most certainly we know that Jesus gave Mary some treasured memories that she pondered in her heart for the rest of her life.
O Lord, parenting is a difficult job and all children give their parents a mixed bag of anxious moments and treasured memories. As children, help us to be obedient to our parents knowing that they, like You, want the best for us and are always concerned for our safety and well-being. Forgive us when we have disobeyed. Thank you for Jesus, who can sympathize with our weaknesses, is without sin, and is ready to extend mercy and grace in our times of need. Amen.