The evangelists share precious little of the youth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Luke, the ‘beloved physician’ and inspired historian, pulls the curtain back just long enough for us to catch a glimpse at the twelve-year-old God-man. Given this fact, it is all the more striking that the first and last scene from his boyhood shows him scolded for being naughty! Here is the account –
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man (Lu. 2:40-52).
Boys will be boys, it is said. They tend to get into mischief, cause trouble, and give their parents grief. Had this been any other child, then, it wouldn’t have been newsworthy. But it sticks out precisely because the boy who got into trouble was Jesus. The sinless boy! The one of whom the apostle would later testify that He was and always shall be “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” Yet his parents in a moment of weakness fail to see the bigger picture and scold Him. Add to this wonder that in His defense He stayed well within the bounds of the Fifth Commandment in honoring father and mother. And add to that wonder – the God-man responded so mildly to the impudence of His creatures!
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A message was delivered on this passage on Mar. 18, 2002. It can be accessed here.