Throughout fantasy fiction there is a theme that storytellers explore and even those who are not fans enjoy. Some time in the superhero’s or heroine’s journey, a dawning realization takes place that they are different, endowed with power and able to achieve amazing feats.
Stories are told by human authors and perhaps they are exaggerating, for effect, what we all discover at some point, the nature of our uniqueness and a sense of our power – albeit limited. It is this discovery that often determines what you do with your life and what you do for a living.
Take your mind back to Nazareth and you will encounter a question that has perplexed students of the Christian faith for centuries. When did it dawn on the young Jesus how powerful and unique he really was?
There are many who are afraid to even ask the question, thinking, somehow, that it diminishes him to imagine him not fully aware from birth of all his majesty. But that would be fantasy. The baby at Bethlehem was a real baby just as the boy in Nazareth and the man in Jerusalem was a real man. Real babies grow and learn and mature. It is part of the wonder of the arrival of God on earth that he put himself through that process. It takes great power to do such a thing.
Doctor Luke gives us a glimpse into that process by telling us about Jesus’ first Passover visit to Jerusalem. By law, 12 year old males must be taken to the capital city because, at that age he was described as a son of the law.
Now try to see what he saw. During Passover in Jerusalem over two hundred thousand animals were slaughtered and he would have seen the strange sight of slurries of blood and streams turned pink as the festival progressed. Turning over in his mind and flowing through his emotions was the thought that this sacrifice was never enough. It had to repeated over and over. Perhaps someone could find a better way.
Then he would visit the top debating chamber in the country. The most expert minds of the law would hold open question sessions. But he would hear them arguing about how far you could walk on a Saturday and how much herbs and spices you should give away.
Going through the temple courts he saw market traders haggling over doves, sheep and currency deals, using the festival as a money-making venture. Parts of it were inspiring and parts full of disillusionment but it was all absorbing.
So absorbed was he that he spent three full extra post- festival days, unsupervised, in the strange city immersing himself in the debates, taking in the sights, sounds and atmosphere.
Meanwhile his parents, having realized he was not with the Nazareth convoy which left three days prior, had been frantically looking for him.
Luke tells us that everyone around this 12 year old was amazed at his understanding and answers. Jesus, too, must have been exhilarated at the experience of engaging with the elite. But more was going on than a fun debate. Listen to his astonished mother: “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you”.
Then the moment. “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
There you have it. At some deep and profound level Jesus has transferred from son of Joseph to Son of God.
The truth has not changed but a realization has arrived. Mary and Joseph and Luke knew this was important, that’s why it is recorded. Jesus knew as well.
Don’t be afraid to be Biblical. Luke tells you ten more facts to see the story unfolding. We will look at them next week but let me leave you with some connections to this week.
Although Jesus was unique, you too will have moments when you realize at a deeper level who you are. You’ll discover powers you did not know you possessed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek understanding. It is in asking these questions and in seeking understanding that you will connect with your God given talents, mission and purpose.
If you let him, the same Jesus will also amaze you with his understanding and his answers to your questions. He will also bring you into his Father’s house.
Then a whole new vision will open up.
Next week – Ten Facts of Life
Luke 2: 41-52
Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival 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. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
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