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"The next day they found Him in the Temple seated among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. The teachers were all quite taken with Him, impressed with the sharpness of His answers. But His parents were not impressed; they were upset and hurt.
"His mother said, 'Young man, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been half out of our minds looking for you.'
"He said, 'Why were you looking for me? Didn't you know that I had to be here, dealing with the things of my Father?' But they had no idea what He was talking about.
"So He went back to Nazareth with them, and lived obediently with them." Luke 2:46-51 (The Message).
Missing for three days! Then they found Him in the Temple; their son, twelve years old, sitting among the religious big shots, wowing them with His questions! Many questions go through one's mind. How did He connect with them? Who took care of Him? Where did He sleep? Who gave Him food? Unanswered questions because, to Luke at this moment, they didn't matter.
It's difficult to reconcile these two scenarios -- Mary and Joseph, naturally frantic over their son's disappearance and Jesus, blissfully unaware of the panic He had caused them because He already, at this tender age, had a dawning consciousness of His involvement in a much bigger realm. Strange too, that Jesus responded to Mary's rebuke with His own rebuke. It's almost as though He expected them to be in on His mind.
What did the religious boffins find so amazing and unusual about this child? He was like a little professor, a wise man in a child's body. They were impressed with His questions. Why not His answers? Who was asking the questions? Not the religious know-it-all’s. Jesus was. What does that tell us? There is wisdom and humility in asking questions.
In Hebrew thought, intelligence was measured by the questions asked rather than by the answers given. Makes sense, doesn't it? Questions reveal the level of our thought processes. Deep thinkers ask deep questions. Many people ask no questions at all because they believe anything and everything without applying intelligence or reason. It's no wonder God calls us "sheep"! How else can human beings swallow the rubbish they believe?
What was Jesus thinking while the teachers were spouting their "knowledge" to Him? Was He taking it all in and weighing it up against His budding understanding of the true nature of His heavenly Father? In the days to come, that would be the point of departure from these religious leaders of Israel. Their God and His God were worlds apart. Their God ground their faces into His Law and held them at gunpoint to their allegiance to the Law at the expense of mercy. His God was compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness.
His response to His mother's rebuke alerts us to the fact that He was already aware of God's and His unusual relationship as Father and Son. He ignored Mary's "your father" for a higher connection with "my Father". That shut Mary up. She had nothing to say in response to that. She was gently put in her place, forced to remember that her Son, even at twelve years old, was the Son of God.
"His mother held these things dearly, deep within herself. And Jesus matured, growing up in both body and spirit, blessed by both God and people." Luke 2:52 (The Message).
She tried, but He was way ahead of her. She added yet another of those unexpected gems to her treasure chest of memories for another time. One day, in the future, she would process all these things and they would finally make sense when she could see the big picture.
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