Questions Day 22 (3/6/13)
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Didn't you know?
41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom.
43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.
46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 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.”
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Luke's gospel includes a few childhood stories of Jesus ignored by Matthew, Mark and John. On the 8th day after his birth, Jesus is circumcised according to Jewish tradition. Six weeks after his birth Jesus is presented in the temple for dedication by the old prophet, Simeon, according to Jewish tradition. When Jesus was 12 years old, Joseph and Mary take him to Jerusalem for the annual Passover feast, according to Jewish tradition. What Luke gives us is a touching story about parents who care, a church that listens, and a boy that is growing in his faith.
According to Jewish law all Jewish males had to attend a Jerusalem Passover at least once in their lifetime. Women were not required to attend at all. Our story begins with the words "Every year His parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover." They went every year.
This was a three day walk of about 25 miles a day from Nazareth. The roads were infested with robbers so people traveled in caravans of a 100 or more for reasons of safety and security.
Men walked on the outside of the caravan for safety purposes. Women walked in the middle. Children played back and forth, as children do, so nobody really noticed that Jesus was not with them until an entire day had passed. Parenting, even parenting Jesus, is a little like bungee jumping; you don't really know what will happen until you reach the end of your rope. They went a whole day without realizing he was left behind. We can only imagine the emotions Joseph and Mary experienced. They searched for three days to find the boy Jesus.
No biblical commentators spend much time on the verses which speak of Jesus being found in the temple, listening and asking questions. We can only make assumptions that Jesus had been taught the Scriptures much like a young Jewish boy would be taught today. What is most perplexing and insightful is that Jesus was sitting among the teachers. Jesus wasn't just running the streets with his pre-teen friends, he was with the teachers, the scholars of what we know as the Old Testament.
Can you see Mary and Joseph retracing their steps and asking if anyone had seen a boy that looked like Jesus? Can you imagine how distraught they were with the "no's" and how hopeful they were when someone mentions a young boy talking with the teachers? When Mary and Joseph discover the boy Jesus, notice it is Mary who starts the questioning about why Jesus has treated them "like this" and gives a one sentence lecture. Jesus' response is in the form of a question "Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
I can remember being in 7th grade at Floral Heights UMC in Wichita Falls. The monthly board meeting filled the Fellowship Hall with over 100 people who came for dinner. Mrs. Washington made the BEST biscuits in the world. I'm convinced that the people attended the meeting for the biscuits more than the business, and that's not just a Methodist dynamic. The chair of the Administrative Board was Milton Karrenbrock, who in my 8th grade perception was a giant, but he really was a big man. He needed to be because he had three beautiful daughters and the youngest, Laura, was my age.
Laura and I were both rather bored with the church business and we snuck up to the 3rd floor youth area where the youth game room was located TO PLAY PING PONG. We were the two Jr. High youth who had attended the meeting. Imagine my surprise when my mother appeared at the doorway asking, "what are you two doing up here?" Evidently, Mr. Karrenbrock stood up at the end of the Administrative Board meeting and declared to everyone from the podium, "Dr. Palmer, our meeting is now adjourned, but one more thing needs to be said. There are only two youth missing from this room and meeting. One is my daughter and the other is your son."
The only thing that soothed me after my mother's scathing lecture on the way home was the rumors my 8th grade friends were spreading. Laura was a cheerleader and it had already been making the rounds that she and I disappeared together at church and were found together. Additionally, everyone knew Mr. Karrenbrock was like Bigfoot without the hair when protecting his daughters and I was able to walk and had no bruises. Over 20 years later I performed Laura's wedding in Dallas and we still laugh about that episode which skyrocketed my "coolness" factor among some.
Where are you spending your time? Where do people find you? Do you have a sacred place in which you connect with God? Even today the importance of the Temple to the Jewish faith is seen as men and women gather at the Western Wall, the only remnant of the Temple.
What can we learn about that kind of devotion?