Mary looked at Joseph as he dropped the pack from his back. “Go find Jesus so he can help you set up the tent. I’ll fix us some dinner.”
Joseph looked around at the other families gathering together. “I would have expected him to come on his own. He usually likes helping me do things. I’ll go see where He’s at.”
Twenty minutes later Joseph walked up to Mary with a pale face. “He isn’t here. I talked to everybody, especially his friends. Nobody remembers seeing him all day.”
Mary dropped what she was doing and grabbed Joseph’s sleeves. “This isn’t the least bit funny, Joseph. Tell me where he’s at. I’ll get him myself.”
Joseph shook his head. “I’m not playing around this time. I’ve searched the whole caravan. Jesus didn’t join us like we thought he would. He’s not here.”
Tears pooled in Mary’s eyes. “Don’t tell me I lost Jesus, the Son of God. I never knew why God chose me for this responsibility. I knew I couldn’t do it.” She pounded Joseph’s chest. “You were supposed to help me. What are we going to do now?”
Joseph pulled her into his arms. “Don’t worry about Jesus. He has a destiny to fulfill. He isn’t dead. He simply isn’t here.”
“But, what if He is dead? There’ll be a special place reserved for me. I just know it.”
“Shhh…relax, Mary. We’ll go back to Jerusalem in the morning. He’ll be there. You’ll see.”
Mary pushed back and pointed at their pack. “Why can’t we go right now? Our stuff is all ready.”
“It’s too dangerous for two people to travel at night. By tomorrow at this time we’ll be back in Jerusalem. He’ll be there.”
A fruitless search the following evening in Jerusalem was followed by another fitful night of sleep for the couple.
After a check of distant relatives’ homes the following morning came up empty Joseph stopped and looked at Mary. “If you were the Son of God and were in Jerusalem where would you go?”
Mary started running. “THE TEMPLE…!”
Joseph caught up to his wife and hoped to keep her from entering an area that was off-limits to women. When they entered through the main gate they saw a large group of teachers gathered in a far corner. A familiar voice caught their ears.
Joseph put an arm across Mary’s shoulders. “You see, he’s just fine. As a matter of fact he’s the center of attention, as it should be. Now, promise me you won’t make a big scene when we go to get him.”
Mary took a deep breath and held it before letting out a long sigh. “I’ll do my best.”
They watched as the men were held in rapt attention by Jesus’ every word. “Can’t you just feel the wind as the angels’ words are affectionately pushed to the throne by every wing beat. ‘Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty…’?”
Mary pushed through the men far enough to see Jesus. “Son, what are You doing? Your father and I are worried sick about You.”
Jesus stood and stared at her. “Why did you look around for me? Didn’t you know I’d be in my Father’s house?”
With a glance to the sky Jesus pushed his way through the crowd and followed His mother and Joseph back to Nazareth.
Don’t you wish somebody had taken notes and captured what the twelve-year-old Jesus taught at the temple? I’m curious. If it was important for us to know it would have been recorded and preserved. Since it wasn’t let’s not burn brain cells trying to figure it out.
The lesson is not what was said, but, who was impressed by who was saying it.
In Jesus’ day a boy became a man at the age of thirteen. It wasn’t unusual for teachers to quiz twelve-year-olds in preparation for their Bar mitzvah. What caught these men off guard was the depth of knowledge and wisdom this boy possessed.
From my limited experience with writing I can tell you that nobody’s more familiar with the contents of a book than the author of that book. Jesus, as God in a human body, is the writer of the Bible. He was so confident of the nuances of each verse I’m sure He had to hold back much of what He wanted to say to these leaders of Israel.
You would think these men would look forward to Jesus’ annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem so they could plumb the depths better. But, the Bible doesn’t tell us that happened. Apparently Jesus was more ‘invisible’ on later visits to the capital.
It would be eighteen years before Jesus earthly ministry did begin in earnest. Why didn’t these men remember those days in Jesus’ youth? I’m confident at least one of them did. His name was Nicodemus.
Perhaps Nicodemus believed Simeon when he said he saw the Messiah as an infant before he died. He could have been watching this young couple in hopes of seeing their eldest child coming to the temple. Maybe he’s the one who began quizzing this lad.
Remember it was Nicodemus who stole away in the night to question Jesus further and be drawn into a discussion about being born again in John 3.
This same Nicodemus would be one of the last people to touch the corpse of this Messiah as they hastily wrapped it and placed it in a tomb before the sun set on Good Friday.
You see, Jesus has a way of threading Himself into some people’s lives to impact them in a special way. Have you seen Him in your life?
Perhaps He was a neighbor who helped your family in a time of need. Or, maybe He was that stranger who jump-started your car on that cold winter day so you could get to work.
I know He’s been there. You just didn’t recognize Him.
If He has a plan for your life He’ll be back. Look for Him.
I’ll see you later. Wade