Luke 2:41–52 NRSV – Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. 43 When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. 44 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. 45 When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 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.” 49 He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he said to them. 51 Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.
Summary – The transition between the story of the birth of Jesus and his baptism, then ministry is this account of his participation in the festival of passover in Jerusalem. Jesus was only twelve but he stayed behind after the group of travelers with his parents left. Jesus was learning the Scriptures and engaging the leaders of Israel. The summary of his purpose is, “I must be in my Father’s house.” Jesus increased in wisdom and in years and “in divine and human favor.”
Insight – Do you ever wish you were older or living in another town? Do you long to leave the community that you are in? Like Jesus, we must learn to live in 1) Obedience in our Place – God condescended not only to take on flesh, but to be part of an ordinary (if not despised) hometown. In the first century references to Jesus, his last name was not “Christ” but “of Nazareth.” But even from heaven Jesus gives this local identification in appearing to St. Paul: “I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 22:8). We must also embrace our community. 2) We should live in Obedience in our Time – He continued “to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom” (v 39 also v 52). This means that Jesus, like ordinary boys, progressed through the stages of maturity. What is implied is that He did so faithfully. Did He do miracles in place of chores? Did He “just know” everything or did he study? The text says in the temple, He was “both listening to them, and asking them questions” (v. 46) which indicates that He matured without a supernatural crutch. We must also be faithful where we are. 3) We should learning Obedience in our Business – After anxiously looking (v 48), they found Jesus in the temple. This was an occasion (annually) to gain more wisdom from study and to begin the process of the “inspection” of the leadership of Israel (a theme throughout the Gospel). Perhaps a better translation of v49 is that Jesus was “engaged upon my Father’s business” (Weymouth) since there is no term for “house.” We must also be engaged in kingdom activity.
Catechism – How does Scripture describe the childhood of Jesus? Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.
Discussion – Are you discontent with any aspects of your life?
Prayer – Heavenly Father, we thank you for sending your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ to become a human and to live and grow as a person. He was tempted in all things, but did not yield to any sins. In this Christmastide, grant that we may learn contentment as we remember that Jesus lived as our example and Jesus died our death that we might live forevermore. In His name, Amen.