For an introduction to this series, click here.
Feb. 12, 2007
This is an incredibly long chapter, dealing with the birth of Christ and the trip to Jerusalem when Jesus was 12. The birth of Christ is certainly a familiar story. I don't think I can say anything that hasn't already been said. And yet, it seems to me one of the weirdest stories in the Bible. God chose to reveal the birth of the most important man in the history of the world to a group of illiterate shepherds and a group of wizards from Persia.
The next section is Jesus' dedication at the Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus was about a week old. Two people there, Simeon and Anna, were the only ones there who saw who Jesus was. Once again, we have an irony only God could appreciate. Here is the God to whose worship the Temple was dedicated, and only two old people, no doubt overlooked or disregarded by most, realized He was there.
The last section deals with Jesus' family's trip to Jerusalem when Jesus was 12 years old. I want to focus on the young Jesus for a second. By this time, He is aware of who He is. I don't think He understood completely who He was, mostly because of verse 52: "And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man." His mind had to mature just like everyone else's. He was no doubt well beyond His peers, but He still had to learn. Most of what He learned, in my opinion, is learning how to live with others, get along in society, and learn what He could do. There are some things, even for someone with all knowledge, that have to be learned by experience. Jesus didn't start walking the same day He was born. He had to learn balance and equilibrium just like every other child in the history of mankind.
That's a very interesting topic, one that I might write a book about one day, if I get a chance. It's fun for me to think about. Of course most of what I write would just be guesses on my part, but it would still be fun. Anyway, you know the story about how Jesus stayed behind to talk with the teachers in the Temple, and Mary and Joseph did not know where He was for at least four days. Here's a question I have never thought of until right now: Where did Jesus spend the night? The Temple would not have been open 24/7. Jesus was in Jerusalem by Himself for at least three nights. Somebody must have taken Him in.
Here's another question I have thought a lot about: How difficult was it for Mary and Joseph to raise their other children after their experience with a perfect child? Do you think Mary ever said, "Why can't you be more like your brother?" I bet she did.
Let's finish this up with a comment on what I think is one of the most profound verses in the Bible: "And he (Jesus) went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them." (2:51, ESV) We will never understand what Jesus went through. He is our great Example in everything, including submission to authority. I always use this passage when teaching young people. There is no doubt that Jesus was smarter, wiser and more powerful than His earthly parents, and yet He was submissive to them.