Bible Readings: Luke 2:41-51
Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.
When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival 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 travelled 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.
After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.
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.
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them.
Shopping trollies with child seats are brilliant. Going round a supermarket knowing exactly where your children are, and that they are not helping themselves to, and eating, whatever they fancy is a real bonus. There comes a time, though, when they don’t fit in the seat anymore and then the nightmares begin. “Where are the children?”, “I don’t know, I thought they were with you”, “But I thought they were with you!”
I think Mary and Joseph experienced something similar. At the age of twelve Jesus was in the transition from being a child, and travelling with the women’s group, to being a young man, and travelling with the men’s group. This might account for the fact that on the first evening of their journey home from Jerusalem to Nazareth, Mary assumed he was with Joseph and Joseph assumed he was with Mary.
Mary and Joseph would have spent the next day travelling back to Jerusalem and another day anxiously searching for Jesus. They eventually found him in the temple, debating with the teachers, amazing those who were listening, and surprised that his parents hadn’t realised he would be in his Father’s house.
Anxiety over our children doesn’t go away, whatever age they are. Is there anyone you feel anxious about at the moment? Can you imagine them in their heavenly Father’s house and trust them to his care?
In the temple, with the teachers, Jesus would have been discussing the basics of their faith, asking questions and debating the answers and their implications for life. What questions do you have about the faith that you have grown up with or have recently stared to discover? Asking questions and debating the answers is good, and is the way to Christian growth and understanding.
Father, I place into Your hands my friends and family.
Father, I place into Your hands the things that trouble me.
Father, I place into Your hands the person I would be,
For I know I always can trust You.
Father I place into your hands