Luke 2:41-52 (MSG)
41 Every year Jesus ‘parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up as they always did for the Feast. 43 When it was over and they left for home, the child Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents didn’t know it. 44 Thinking he was somewhere in the company of pilgrims, they journeyed for a whole day and then began looking for him among relatives and neighbors. 45 When they didn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem looking for him. 46 The next day they found him in the Temple seated among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. 47 The teachers were all quite taken with him, impressed with the sharpness of his answers. 48 But his parents were not impressed; they were upset and hurt. His mother said, “Young man, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been half out of our minds looking for you.” 49 He said, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I had to be here, dealing with the things of my Father?” 50 But they had no idea what he was talking about. 51 So he went back to Nazareth with them, and lived obediently with them. His mother held these things dearly, deep within herself. 52 And Jesus matured, growing up in both body and spirit, blessed by both God and people.
This is a very unique story in scripture. We know virtually nothing of Jesus’ childhood or his relationship with his parents, so this is a peculiar, momentary glimpse into a much bigger story. Because this story is so unique, our attention as the reader is often drawn to 1) how the teachers in the temple were impressed and amazed at the kind of things Jesus was able to talk about… even as a 12-year-old boy and 2) the dialogue between an upset mother and her son. The teachers were impressed, but Jesus’ parents were not. They were upset that he strayed away from the group. We tend to like that Jesus, even at such a young age is impressive and knowledgeable, and we find a strange comfort in knowing that his relationship with his parents was pretty normal as well. But there is one detail in this story I, for one, have often overlooked. Yes Jesus impressed the teachers in the temple with what he knew, but what I find interesting is that his parents didn’t find Jesus in the temple just spouting out facts and preaching doctrine. Instead, “they found him in the Temple seated among the teachers, LISTENING to them and ASKING questions.” I’d love to know what he asked.
Sometimes, Lord I am too eager to speak… too eager to spout off what I know. But I don’t know it all. There are plenty of things I don’t yet understand. Help me today to LISTEN well and ASK good questions.
What questions do you have about God, faith, or the Bible? Where can you go to ask hard questions and argue faithfully?