December 31, 2000

Luke 2:41-52

Every year Jesus' parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up as they always did for the Feast. When it was over and they left for home, the child Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents didn't know it. 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. When they didn't find him, they went back to Jerusalem looking for him.

The next day they found him in the Temple seated among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. The teachers were all quite taken with him, impressed with the sharpness of his answers. 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."

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?" But they had no idea what he was talking about.

So he went back to Nazareth with them, and lived obediently with them. His mother held these things dearly, deep within herself. And Jesus matured, growing up in both body and spirit, blessed by both God and people.

<The Message>


1. How well do you remember that you have been blessed? Mary and Joseph seem to have forgotten the blessing they received with the birth of Jesus. There is some of the same sort of anxiety one might expect from Abraham and Sarah with the offering of Isaac. What will we do without the boy? Will we have betrayed the promise made at his birth? And so plays out the ease with which we focus on the present moment over against knowing the blessing even in the midst of confusion and loss.

2. There is a sense that Jesus matures. This is a key issue in our image of ourselves and how we deal with those who are different from ourselves. Our tendency is to herd everyone on to the same page (they are somewhere near on the same pilgrimage) and don't quite know what to make of it when someone wanders off message (even if it is to an important time of learning). When we get surprised we revert to basic survival instincts and require obedience. Can you imagine Jesus being grounded? Yourself? How does blessing fit into this.

3. Jesus impressed with his questions while a cute young thing. Those same questions, deepened over time, become distressing, not cute. It is for those questions that Jesus gets it in the neck. The question we can dodge coming from a youth is not a question which can be dodged when asked with authority from an adult. This is one of the more subversive passages when we can see Jesus maturing. What question from your youth have you avoided asking again?

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