“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” Luke 2:41-52
As we approach the Christmas season (yes, this is happening, and I like it 😊), we see this story of Jesus as a young boy. He was part of a family who loved him, and he was just a boy, still growing up.
This passage is well known, authored by Luke, who apparently had Mary as a source for his writings. His is probably the most intimate look at the family life of Jesus. Luke records in this passage the story of Jesus staying behind at the Temple to learn more from the Rabbis. Indeed, Jesus probably shared some great insights with them as well, prompting them to say that they were “amazed at his understanding and answers”.
Yet later in the passage, we find Jesus giving a curious answer to his mother who was very worried about the whereabouts of her son. Jesus responded to her, essentially, that she should have known that he needed to be in his “father’s house”.
Just because Jesus is the Son of God, we expect him, at age 12, to be different than every other 12-year-old that we know. We perhaps expect that he should have been profound and knowledgeable about everything, including human relationships. Yet we find that he did not understand the heart of a mother at that tender age. She was, understandably, angry and scared about what happened to her son. When Jesus gave his response to her, it seems to show lack of understanding of her emotional response.
The last verse shows the answer to this. Jesus, as a 12-year-old boy, still needed to learn some things. He was indeed the Son of God, but he had also chosen to set aside this divine nature, and subject himself to a fully human experience. This meant that he had to learn some things about human emotions and human relationships. The last verse confirms this, stating that he “…grew in wisdom and stature…”
We are all in the process of growing, hopefully till the day we die. Jesus was an example to us once again that submission to authority produces character and growth in the hard areas. Imagine how difficult it must have been for Jesus to set aside supreme knowledge, and omnipotent power in order to be with us and experience the human condition. What love he has for us!
Prayer: Father, your plans are higher than our plans, your ways higher than ours. Thank you for the plan of sending Jesus to be with us, and to give his life for ours, Amen.