Jesus was twelve years old, Luke writes in his gospel, when he came to Jerusalem with his parents and other families from his village in Nazareth. They came to celebrate the Festival of the Passover. When the parents, families and children returned home to Nazareth, Jesus was not with them. Jesus was missing. Was Jesus disobedient because he stayed behind in his Father´s house or do you think he just did not realize his action might be understood as disobedienc by his parents? Children´s Pastor, Katka Valčová asked the students this question at the Lutheran Elementary School in Martin.
She asked the children to imagine Jesus´ parent´s reactions to their missing son. They were his parents who cared for him, and loved him, and were responsible for him. Katka explained that the crowd travelling home from Jerusalem took three days. Arriving in Nazareth Mary and Joseph realized Jesus was missing. He was not in the crowd of family and friends who had made the journey. So his parents travelled three more days back to Jerusalem. They were searching for their son. They wondered where he could be and why is he not with us!
Pastor Katka said Jesus parents spent three day looking for him in Jerusalem. Finally they fond him in the temple. Pastor Katka took the children through the this timeline:
- Three days travel from Nazareth to Jerusalem.
- Three days back home to Nazareth after the Passover, but where is Jesus?
- Jesus parents travel three days back to Jerusalem to find their boy.
- On the tenth day they found Jesus in the Temple listening and teaching adults.
His parents searched for their son. They were worried. Why didn’t Jesus follow them home with the other families from Nazareth? Mary and Josepsh may have understood Jesus´ absence as disobedience. But it was not. It was just a misunderstanding of Jesus mission.
When his parents met their son in the Temple they might have scolded him. Where have you been? So Jesus explained to them! “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” The twelve year old Jesus was growing to understand his mission and his Heavenly Father in a way his parents did not understand his mission. So, what seemed like Jesus behaving in a disobedient manner was a misunderstanding by his parents. Later, Jesus returned from Nazareth with his parents and his mother, Mary, “remembered His words in her heart.”
From Luke’s report in the Bible we can recognize two lessons:
1. Jesus teaches us, that obedience to God and to our parents is important Wisdom is important too.
2. Jesus was in the Temple, his “heavenly Father’s house, teaching and helping others know about God Question.
How is this Bible story about Jesus and mother and father meaningful for us today?