Submitted by Jan on Tue, 22/12/2015 – 14:59
Year C (2015-2016)
Bible Book: Luke / Lukas
Verse: 41 – 52
On Friday we all focused on the “good tidings”; a mother and baby, a magical star, shepherds and wise men and the sound of angels singing about joy and peace. Most of us leave church on Christmas day filled with a feeling of warmth and love.
Next Sunday the reading of the lectionary returns to the story of Jesus’ birth and epiphany, the time in the church calendar where Jesus’ manifestation as Christ is celebrated.
So it is strange that we find today’s gospel reading in the middle of these stories of the birth of Jesus and His acknowledgement as Christ.
Suddenly we jump to a text where we read of Jesus as twelve-year-old. The family is traveling to Jerusalem for the biggest religious festival of the year. I imagine that the roads to and from Jerusalem looked much like the beaches of Kwazulu Natal at this time of the year – crowded, noisy, people laughing and talking and playing, groups forming and breaking up.
Every year we hear about children getting separated from their parents in the crowds on the beaches at this time. Every year I think about these parents, probably first thinking that their child is with granny, or with another family member, and then realizing they are not. Imagine the fear and anxiety when you realize that you do not know where your child is, the frantic searching through the crowds. The relief when you see your child again.
Our texts tell us that this happened to Joseph and Mary! It took three days – three days! – before they saw Jesus again. Imagine the thoughts that filled their minds!
What was Jesus doing when they found Him? Was he anxiously looking for them as we often see the lost children on the beach do? No! He was sitting in the temple. We often hear the part of the text where those around Him were surprised by His wisdom, but miss the first part of the text. He was “sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions”(vs 46 NIV).
Although Jesus was God, He was also totally and completely human – a concept which remains difficult to understand. This human, teenaged, Jesus was asking questions and listening. He was also causing His parents concern and worry!
As Christians, we often say that we are followers of Jesus and that His life is the example we need to follow. What does this mean when we read this text?
We see that Jesus, although He was God, as human had to learn, to grow, to develop, and He did this through listening and asking questions!
As people involved in development we often think that we have all the answers, or that we know what others need. Maybe this text should remind us to listen first and to continue to ask questions to grow to deeper understanding!
To think about: Is there a relationship where you need to listen more in order to follow the example of Jesus?
Author: van Rooyen L (Ms)