“I thought he was with you….”
41 Now every year (Jesus’) parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. 43 When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents were unaware of this. 44 Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously looking for you.” 49 He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he said to them. 51 Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them, and his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years and in divine and human favor. Luke 2:41-52
I read this scripture for the first time when I was teaching Sunday School at Grace. Being the same age as Jesus was in the story, the middle schoolers were in awe that Jesus dodged his parents and stayed behind to hang out at the temple on his own—what a rebel!
I, on the other hand, felt stressed out and had great empathy for Mary and Joseph as they lived through every parent’s worst nightmare- leaving a child behind unknowingly.
This scripture reminded me that parenting is hard—even for Mary and Joseph! I can’t imagine the moment they realized that Jesus was not among their group. Did they blame one another for the oversight? Did they fall to their knees and pray to God that Jesus remains safe until they were reunited?
This story ends well- Jesus was found—safe and sound. Even though Jesus was the Son of God, he also was the precocious son of parents who were truly human, doing the best they could. Once the flood of relief wore off was Jesus grounded for his shenanigans—especially since he was old enough to “know better?”
I wonder who looked after Jesus during those three days. Was he hungry? Where did he sleep? Was he ever afraid and wished he had gone home with his parents?
Thanks be to God for the village of family and friends that he put in our lives to help us raise our children and keep them safe. Jim and I are grateful—just as Mary and Joseph must have been.
The people of Grace share their favorite bible stories for the 2023 Lenten Devotional: I Love to Tell the Story. Each day's devotional will be automatically posted so come back daily after 7 am for a new reflection.