43 After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.
At the end of the festival, it was time to travel home. Because of the distance and the dangers, people who made this trip did so in large groups or caravans. Joseph and Mary traveled a full day’s journey from Jerusalem and, amazingly, nobody had Jesus with them.
Before we are too hard on Mary and Joseph, let’s consider that either of the two could have assumed that the other had Jesus, especially if they were separated in the caravan. Jesus was 12. He was still young enough to be with Mary and the women and children. But he was bordering on manhood, and thus could have been with Joseph and the men. Besides, the children of many families were together, and it was just easy to assume that Jesus would have been with them. But he wasn’t.
Can you imagine the moment when it dawned on Mary that Jesus was missing? It’s not like she has lost just any kid. This is the boy that an angel came to tell her was coming. This was the boy who would fulfill all of God’s promises to Israel. This is the boy over whom Simeon and Anna prophesied in the temple. Just think of it, humanity has one shot at salvation, and Mary left him behind at the temple.
I’m being a little silly here. Mary is a mom. Her boy is missing. She does not know where he is. I’d guess that this is what fills her mind.
As soon as it is light the next day, you can imagine Mary and Joseph racing back toward Jerusalem. It probably did not take the full day to get back, but it would have been close. Thus, it took until the third day for them to finally make their way to the temple.
What did Mary and Joseph find when they reached the temple? They found their boy. He was not hurt. He was not frantically looking for them. No, Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the temple courts, sitting among others learning from the finest scholars of the day, asking and answering questions.
Let’s notice something special about Jesus here. He was 12. He was sitting among a body of PhD level students. He was participating in the conversation. No, he was not the teacher. But he was understanding what was being said and he was asking intelligent questions. This young man was fitting in with the big boys at the finest center of learning about God’s word that existed in that day. How good were Jesus’ answers and questions? Verse 47 says that people were amazed at Jesus’ answers and understanding.
What happened here? Jesus did what we too must do as believers, he made learning Gods’ word a top priority. Even though Jesus was God, in his humanity, he still learned and grew. When he had the chance to sit at the feet of the best teachers in the nation, he took it.
Besides worshipping Christ, one of the things that we are committed to doing as a church is growing together in Christ. Simply put, this means that we learn to love one another and to be more like Jesus. And let me say with absolute clarity, there is no growth in Christ without growth in the word of God.
The Bible is the way God speaks to us. The Bible is God’s perfect revelation of himself to mankind. It is breathed out by God. As 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us, it is useful for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. The Bible is what teaches us God’s standards and how we fall short. The Bible is what teaches us about the wonderful grace of God. The Bible is how we know how to worship God, to serve him from day-to-day, and to tell others about him. Without his word, we do not grow.
If Jesus, even at age 12, found it necessary to stay at the temple for 3 days to hear the wisdom of the best teachers in his day, do you not think that we should commit ourselves to the study of God’s word? How do you do that?
· Come to worship.
· Have a daily quiet time in the word.
· Connect with a small group.
· Get into a mentoring relationship with a mature believer.
· Take classes that we offer to help you go deeper in the faith.
Make it a priority in your life, a top priority in your life, to learn, understand, and obey the word of God. This is crucial to your growth. Parents, teach Gods’ word to your children. Youth, study Gods’ word for yourself. Do what you must do to make his word an essential part of your daily life.