Twelve-year-old Jesus scares the wits out of his parents. And no wonder. They think they’ve lost him—the holy child that God entrusted to them!
After three days, they find Jesus at the temple. He’s sitting there with the teachers: listening and learning, asking questions and giving answers. And everyone is amazed.
Of course they’re amazed. Jesus is God. He knows more than any of those teachers. He knows everything. That’s what we might think. But that really won’t do. What’s going on here is that Jesus is amazing for a twelve-year-old.
Something else is going on too. When Jesus’ parents find him at the temple, Mary scolds him: “How could you do this to us?” But Jesus doesn’t get it: “You should have known I would be at the temple.”
Twelve-year-old Jesus has a problem. He hasn’t figured out how to put together his sense of obligation to his heavenly Father with his obligations to his earthly father and mother. There’s nothing wrong with that, nothing sinful about it. It’s simply beyond the wisdom of a twelve-year-old—even the twelve-year-old Jesus—to know how to balance those competing obligations.
That’s okay. Jesus won’t be twelve forever. And as he grows up, he will grow in wisdom.
It’s not easy being twelve. We know so much and understand so little. And we can’t wait to grow up. Jesus, you know all about growing up. Help us to grow up in you. Amen.
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