We all know the story of the birth of Christ. Matthew and Luke give us wonderful details in the first couple of chapters in their gospels. And thanks to all four of the gospel writers, we are very familiar with the stories of the adult Jesus. The boy Jesus, however, would be complete mystery if it wasn’t for an account recorded by Luke:
Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.
By the age of twelve, Jesus was comfortable in the worship of God in the Jewish tradition. (So comfortable, in fact, that when they left him behind in Jerusalem after the Passover celebration, he was right at home in God’s house). How much of that was the fact that he was God in human flesh? And how much of this had to do with how his earthly parents shared their faith and love for God with him?
Like many children, Jesus depended on his parents to take him to God’s house, and that they did. It’s interesting to me that this one story is the one that Luke chose to preserve and share.
When was your faith nurtured – and by whom? And is there someone (maybe someone younger) depending on you to help model some patterns for their faith life?
God, help our walk with you to become so familiar in our lives that our meetings for prayer, study, and worship will be “as usual” for us and our loved ones. Amen