As I sit here and write these words, I long to be back in Nicaragua. Why? Mainly because when I am there, I am able to truly disconnect from the distractions of this world, and I become focused on God like no other time.
As Americans, we are always busy. However, the truth is we make ourselves busy. We attend too many unnecessary events, watch entirely too much TV, and we keep schedules that don’t even make sense sometimes because they wear us out more than help us to relax. I am certainly guilty of this sort of thing and so, my goal is to purposely clear out some things from my life over the course of the next year.
Early this summer, I clearly heard God instruct me to engage in His word (the Bible) and make it a priority. So I began reading the gospels again, but more intently. I am using colored pencils to mark up the pages in order to draw out as much from the scriptures as possible. Right now, I am in Luke and as I read about the life of Jesus, it is amazing what pops out at me off the pages of this book.
Luke gives a very detailed description of Jesus’ life, and some things are unique to this chapter. So in light of our discussion, let me share 3 verses. To help put these verses in context, let me explain what is happening. Jesus has now grown from a baby to a child of 12-years-old. His parents have no doubt begin to let the glory of His birth fade a little. No miraculous events happen of late, and they have settled into life in the moment. The Bible doesn’t tell us much about these years, but we know that Joseph and Mary went on to have other children, and as good Jewish parents, they would have raised Jesus and his siblings in the usual Jewish traditions and customs.
In this part of Luke, we find Joseph and Mary traveling to Jerusalem for Passover. Once the festivities are over, they began the journey home. However, the scriptures tell us Jesus stayed behind and that His parents did not know. How could that happen? The Bible states “they supposed him to be in the group,” and we are told the group was made up of relatives and acquaintances. Imagine a large caravan of people and animals, perhaps large sections of family and friends, traveling together. This is exactly how they would have traveled. There would have been lots of kids running around, and so Jesus’ parents probably thought He was off playing.
OK, OK, I know –not the best parenting story, but let me say that at the end of day they looked for Jesus, realized He was not among them, and then became desperate to find Him. Skipping ahead a little, Mary states they were “greatly distressed” (verse 48).
Let me ask you, have you ever walked off from Jesus, realized you were without Him, and then turned back desperate to find Him? I know I have! Joseph and Mary returned to Jerusalem and searched for 3 days to find Him. Are we that determined to reconnect with Jesus after our wanderings that we will search for Him until we find Him? I hope so!
Now, we come to the three scriptures I want to look at a little closer – Luke 2:46-48 NLT:
Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”
Here is Jesus, at 12, conversing with the teachers of the Law and not just talking, but listening to them. I, for one, would have loved to be in the corner of the room. Was Jesus doing more learning or more teaching? We are not really told, but I believe, even at that age, He was focusing on His mission. Think about it for a moment. He already knew Father God intimately. Being born in a human body, He had only to wait until His physical form caught up with His spiritual form. In Jewish tradition, males are considered adults at the age of 13, so Jesus was on the verge of being “of age.” But this little boy was special. Even though He would have been taught the scriptures from an early age, He actually possessed knowledge of them prior to His birth, and He already had the second half of the scriptures inside of Him. So when He spoke, no doubt, they were “amazed” by Him.
I am sure when Mary and Joseph saw Him that day in the temple, from there on out they knew a significant change had occurred. They weren’t sure what, but they, especially Mary (verse 51), knew they were no longer seeing a child before them, but God’s plan in motion.
What I love most about this story is the imagery of Jesus talking over the scriptures. He knew the truths the Old Testament words held, but more importantly, He knew the truths the New Testament words would hold. God impresses upon our hearts and instructs us to study and meditate on the word night and day (Josh. 1:8).
Are we able to sit and discuss God’s word? Are we listening to what God has to say through it?
Are we too distracted and need to unplug from the busyness of this world?
Here is another thought. Jesus understood the principle of preparation. This is why He stayed behind. He was beginning His preparation, perhaps testing the waters a little, because He tells us in verse 49 where His focus was:
I long to have that focus. I long to know and discuss the truths of the Bible and so, I have begun to pull away and find time to read my Bible more intently, attempting to pull out the truths it holds. The Bible is more than a book, and it will speak to your heart, but you (and I) must spend time in it.
Will you join me?
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.