On the Road With [out] Jesus | Luke 2:41-52
Topic: Stand Alone Passage: Luke 2:41–2:52
Good morning! During this season we spend intentional time meditating on Incarnation of God the Son through the birth of Jesus. We’re familiar with 7lb 2 oz baby Jesus, we like that one and we know about Jesus public ministry as a grown man of 30-33, but we don’t know much about Jesus and his life in between. There are apocryphal writings that give some pretty sensationalistic ideas. I had a coworker that told me with great confidence that Jesus as a young boy went to India and the Far East and became Buddhist and then came back with all this wisdom like a Jewish Yoda. I believe there is much we can learn as disciples of Jesus about what our lives following him should look like by seeing how he was a boy.
Luke 2:41-52 | 41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43 And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the group they went a day's journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching 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 And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?” 50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them.51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
Verses 41 – 42 | God Loving Parents
Jesus had parents who were devoted to the God of the Bible. After what can only be described as a transcendent encounter with divine messengers of the creator of the universe they didn’t check out of “organized religion” or start their own new sect or cult. They were good committed, mainstream, Jewish parents, who raised their children following the call of Deuteronomy 6 to train their children in the knowledge and fear of the Lord. This included full participation in the covenant community of other Jews and keeping the traditional customs and ceremonies of the Law. Passover was one of three required feast of the year. It required a pilgrimage to come from your home to the Holy City and temple in Jerusalem. They recognized the importance of observing the commands and celebrations of the God of the Bible and so Mary and Joseph participated every year. Jesus joined them when he was 12 (not about 12, remember Mary is giving Luke these details. There’s not “hey can you ever think of at time you were frustrated with Jesus?” or something from his time as a child that was noteworthy? Well there was this one time…
Jesus joined them and they went up to “according to the custom” Earlier we see Jesus was circumcised on the 8th day and presented to the Lord in the temple. Young boys would become “Son’s of the covenant at the age of 13 (not dissimilar to a Bar Mitzvah now) , it was usual for older boys to come to the temple especially during a feast/festival a time or two before 13 to begin to get an understanding of the covenant they were entering into. Jesus parents were intentional about including him in the communal times of worship. Jesus family was all in on following the Law and customs of God. It wasn’t unusual for people to come to a day or two of the Passover festivities and then leave early after getting the experience. Jesus family stayed the whole week and didn’t leave until after Passover ended. They savored the time.
Verses 43-45 | Jesus lost
Of course Jesus parent were great spiritual leaders, they had heard from angels, they knew the miracle of the virgin birth, they had respected prophets of the temple proclaim blessings on Jesus when he was dedicated at the temple. Yes Jesus had devoted parents, but he didn’t have perfect parents. Jesus didn’t even have the singular focus of Mary and Joseph. He was Mary’s first born, but he wasn’t an only child. Mary and Joseph had other kids to think about and we see how that goes as they start the road trip home. Jesus had more than a few half-brothers and sisters. Mary and Joseph were probably pretty focused on the littles and were less than attentive to Jesus. There would have been a caravan and it was typical for women and the children to be at the front of the caravan and the men to be in the back. Jesus being 12 he was in that “awkward” time not quite a little boy and not quite a man that Joseph could have easily assumed “he’s with mom” and Mary could have believed “I bet Jesus is hanging with his dad and the men”.
Application: They assumed Jesus was part of where they were going without actually laying eyes on Jesus. After a big religious feast and festival they were headed back to their normal lives without Jesus. We have Christmas in the rear view and are looking ahead to “routine” in 2016. Woe to us if we think we can go down the road and forget Jesus.
So on the three day journey from Jerusalem to Nazareth, the first day has ended and they start to look around and realized they have traveled a significant distance without Jesus. Mary you’ve got him right? This would never happen today! Jesus would have a cell phone and they would link to his “find my iphone” app. The routine road trip turns into a Holy Home Alone. What were they thinking and feeling? You’ve been tasked with raising the divine Son of God and savoir king of God’s people and you’ve lost him!
What is their reaction? Well I’m sure Jesus can take care of himself. I am sure we can live a perfectly fine life without Jesus, or we’ll just wait until the next big religious festival and see him back at the temple. They couldn’t have a “Christmas and Easter” relationship with Jesus. They were family a day, two, three without Jesus leads to an intentional and desperate search. Distant from Jesus they began their search for him in community. Jesus parents were in community they knew and trusted. Because families were known and knew other people’s families it was natural for the community to watch over each other’s children when traveling together. Community is only effective in as much as it points you to Jesus. They needed Jesus!! You better find Jesus. They returned to where they last saw him. I know I last saw Jesus in Jerusalem. They were a day out, a day back and a day looking in Jerusalem a city of roughly 70-80k at the time.
Verses 46-47 | Jesus in the temple
Where is Jesus? He’s not wandering the streets, he’s not scared wondering where Mary and Joseph are, he is in the Temple with the teachers. The temple courts were places of teaching and much of it would be done in a midrash a discussion based teaching method. During Passover, and shortly after, all the varsity level Bible preachers and teachers would have been gathered there like a conference with all the most promising up and coming young teachers, disciples. Jesus isn’t hanging around a small group as the only guy who did the reading, these are high level theological thinkers having deep discussions about God and His word. In this temple where Jesus would teach, where Jesus would chase out money changers, here is Jesus, not yet the teacher, calmly sitting under the teaching of imperfect men. Jesus listens, Jesus asks questions, and Jesus gives answers! His answers were illuminating, showing great insight into the discussion. They also showed a characteristic of Jesus. In an exclusive group; Jesus, at 12, stood out. All were amazed.
Verses 48-50 | Jesus True Father
It is here Mary and Joseph found Jesus, and when they did they were “astonished,” but not like “wow” but like “shocked”. “Child! Don’t you know Jesus what you’ve me and your father through? Why!” She’s is incredibly unsettled! Jesus has lived with Mary and Joseph for 4,400 days and it only took 1-3 days without Jesus for Mary to fall into anguish and confusion. At a certain point Mary has forgotten the promises of God in Jesus, at least functionally. Luke 1:30-53 | 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Rather than remembering and resting in the promises of God Mary has a real fear and lack of security comes from thinking the promises of God in Jesus can only be fulfilled as much as she is able to remain faithful. I lost Jesus! Now God won’t be able to reign over His eternal kingdom. It’s not up to Mary, or you. I think there are times we want to ask Jesus “Do you know what you’ve been putting me through?” As if his just toying with us. In those moment’s I believe we’ve have also forget the promises of God that he who began a good work in us will complete it and he works out all thing for God for those who are called according to his purposes. We need to be reminded of the truth of who Jesus is and reacquainted with Jesus who is fully man AND fully God. Mary has become so familiar with Jesus she has stopped being amazed by the miracle of Jesus. I think this can easily happen to us. Some of us have experienced radial transformation following Jesus some of us can recall with great detail the times and periods of our lives that God began to do great work in our lives through Jesus but as disciples following Jesus for long periods of time our marvel can diminish. Twelve year old Jesus when met by the fear and anxiety of his parents reminds them of the fundamental truth of who He is, who His true father is and what he must do.
He “Must Be”…. Jesus is always doing what MUST be done. Jesus response is a significant truth of the Gospel. Jesus is first and foremost the Son of God. Jesus has a primary allegiance that overrides all other. It’s to His Father. The way he says this is unique and distinct from other Jews of the time who would have been said “our father” or “in heaven”. Jesus is asserting his divinity. His exclusive relationship with God the Father. This led to confusion. Podigy is easy to understand, Savoir King and Son of God the Father is difficult when you’re looking at a 12 year old boy from poor Nazareth. Preteen often feel misunderstood, but this significantly more difficult because you’re talking about the challenging truth of Jesus being BOTH fully man AND fully God. Fully man in all humility, fully God in all sinless perfection and glory.
God the Father has sent him for a specific mission. Luke will later say Jesus MUST preach because he was sent for a purpose (4:43). Jesus will tell his disciples he MUST suffer and be rejected by the elders, priest, scribes (likely some of the same men who were amazed by him at 12 were crying crucify him at 33 specifically because Jesus claimed to be The Son of God. That he must fulfill the Law and prophecies that Jesus was discussing with these leader. Finally after His resurrection Jesus told the disciples on the road to Emmaus he must suffer, die, and enter glory. Jesus MUST for us; because we can’t for Him.
Verses 51-52 | Humble Obedience
In light of the truth Jesus full divinity, the true Son of God, what happens next is truly remarkable. He doesn’t say “I am on mission now, I am going to rule the world from this temple, or even “it is time for me to reveal who I am, and die for the sins of the world.” No. He doesn’t lord over his parents, he goes with them. He “went down with them”. See the temple in Jerusalem was at the top of a mountain so to leave the temple in any direction was to have to go lower. He goes down and not only leaves a great and grand place for a humble and undesirable place (Nazareth) but he does so and walks a life of perfect obedience even submitting to broken imperfect sinners. Honoring your father and mother was one of the most revered commandments in the Law and Jesus is going to fulfill it perfectly even with imperfect parents. We have a perfect father in Heaven and because of Jesus obedience in our place we can have the freedom to obey and honor our father. Jesus, on mission for the world, obeys and submits to imperfect sinners so imperfect sinners can obey and submit to Him as we live lives on mission for Him.
Philippians 2:5-11 | 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Because Jesus was obedient in our place on the Cross we can live new lives of obedience when we Trust Jesus!