Bible Reading: Matthew 2:19-23; Luke 2:21-52
The past two days have been focusing on the birth of Christ. You can find those posts here: Who Is He? The Two Miracle Kids, Who Is He? God Manifested in the Flesh. I plan on making a table of contents for this series as well. It makes it so much easier for me!
So, we covered the birth of Christ and now it is only logical that I cover his childhood! After their child was born, Joseph and Mary were warned by an angel to flee to Egypt with their newborn boy! So, they departed for the land of Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod, who was, if you remember, trying to kill this newborn king! This all took place in order to fulfill what the LORD had spoken by the prophet Hosea, “Out of Eygpt I called my son” (Matt. 2:13; Hosea 11:1).
When they finally returned to Israel, specifically to Nazareth, we do not hear much about Jesus’ childhood until he is 12 years-old. We do know that he had siblings.
John 2:12 (ESV)
12 After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.
John 7:2–5 (ESV)
2 Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand. 3 So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. 4 For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For not even his brothers believed in him.
We know two of his brothers by name. James and Jude, for they both wrote letters that are included in our New Testament! Even though they grew up with Jesus they didn’t believe in him. They didn’t believe that Jesus was who he said he was! That is really the typical sibling attitude, isn’t it? “I grew up with you and you totally did not do that!” or “You were mom’s favorite, but I don’t see what is so special about you!” Perhaps those were some of the thoughts running through James and Jude’s mind when Christ would begin his ministry. They only knew him as the perfect child. If you have siblings then you know what it feels like to have the seemingly “perfect” brother or sister! It makes you jealous, hateful, angry, etc. But, what your siblings cannot truly claim is perfection. Jesus could. Your siblings are not fully God and fully man. Jesus is.
He was the perfect child. Not in the sense that Jesus was easy to parent. I say that because we have one instance recorded for us about Jesus when he was 12.
Luke 2:41–52 (ESV)
41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43 And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching 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 And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
We see in this account that his parents had left 12-year-old Jesus behind in Jerusalem! The Feast of Passover had concluded and the family was headed home, but they forgot their perfect child! They were traveling with other relatives so perhaps they assumed he was with their children playing. But, they notice after a while that he isn’t with any of them! “Have you seen our boy?” “Yeah, Jude is right there playing!” “No, Jesus!!” “Ohhhhh, yeah, no we haven’t seen him. Last I saw he was hanging out with the Rabbis.” Promptly the parents turn back to Jerusalem in search of their perfect child.
It took them three days to locate their son. Now, let me pause and let that sink in…….
Three days. We have all wandered off in the supermarket and been lost for a few minutes before our parents round the corner and find us. There is a family in my church who have 7 kids. The middle son always gets forgotten. On one occasion they went out to eat and after eating they loaded up their van to head for home. Except they forgot their boy at the restaurant. It took them a while to realize he wasn’t in the van with them on their way home. It only took them about an hour to find him (he was old enough to be on his own for awhile, so it wasn’t as if he were a helpless child).
Now, imagine being the parents of the promised Messiah. Imagine what was going through their minds as they looked for their son for three days. After three days of searching, they find him in the temple asking questions to the teachers and even giving answers to their questions! Despite being astonished by what their son was doing at the temple they ask him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking all over for you! You could have given us a heart attack!”
“Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” His parents didn’t understand what he meant. Then, they travel home together.
How can Jesus be the perfect child if he had given his parents a panic attack because they couldn’t find him!?! Well, he wasn’t disobedient to them, was he? No! Verse 51, “And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.” Jesus was obedient to them. The perfect child was obedient to imperfect parents. He submitted to the will of his Heavenly Father, but in this event, we see that he also submitted to his parents, who were fully human.
Let that be a lesson to all children. Obey your parents in the Lord, for this right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth (Eph. 6:1-3).
Children, don’t let your mother or father say, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it!” Obey them, that it might be well with you. Follow the example of the perfect child, Jesus, who obeyed both his Holy Father in heaven and his earthly imperfect parents.