Read Luke 2:41-52. What stood out to you in this reading of the text?
What stands out to me in this text is Jesus’s response to his parents’ frantic searching for him for three days! He says, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” When I was younger, I read this and thought of Jesus as being so holy. Of course he was in God’s house, teaching God’s word. That seemed fitting.
Now, having been a parent of twelve-year-olds, I see this story in a whole different light, from the parents’ perspective. If Jesus needed more time in the temple, he should have communicated that to his parents. They lost several days of travel and probably their traveling companions. Did they have enough food and supplies to last these additional days? They probably had other children with them for whom they needed to care. Jesus, the eldest, was the one causing a problem instead of setting a good example! In addition to that, his parents were filled with “great anxiety” in their search for him. Can you imagine being frightened for your child’s safety in those large crowds? For three days?!! Would he be lost forever?!!
The Bible says Mary and Joseph “did not understand what he said to them.” I can’t imagine any parent understanding or being understanding about that situation! I think my parenting emotions would have ridden a roller coaster from relief to puzzlement to anger to extreme watchfulness. Jesus went with them, and the next verse specifies that he “was obedient to them.” I’ll bet he got in trouble for not telling them where he was. He wasn’t “lost”; he was right where he wanted to be.
When I was younger, I would read that “Mary treasured all these things in her heart,” and I’d think how holy Mary was in realizing that Jesus was so godly. Now, I’m wondering if she was thinking, “Here’s something else we need to be watching for. Not only are we seeing miraculous signs about Jesus, now we see an attitude within Jesus. He seems to think he is above following the rules and being considerate. We’d better be careful about that.” Does that sound irreverent . . or realistic? It might be true because the next verse tells us that “Jesus increased in wisdom.”
What a fine line Mary and Joseph had to walk. They knew Jesus was special and of God. But they still had to parent him, redirecting him when he was learning. I wonder how the family found a balance with that. It’s a little scary thinking of a tween having the power of the universe at his disposal, especially when the hormones kick in! Balance, indeed!