41 Every year during Jesus’ childhood, His parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration. 42 When Jesus was 12, He made the journey with them. 43 They spent several days there, participating in the whole celebration. When His parents left for home, Jesus stayed in Jerusalem, but Joseph and Mary were not aware. 44 They assumed Jesus was elsewhere in the caravan that was traveling together. After they had already traveled a full day’s journey toward home, they began searching for Him among their friends and relatives. 45 When no one had seen the boy, Mary and Joseph rushed back to Jerusalem and searched for Him.
46 After three days of separation, they finally found Him—sitting among a group of religious teachers in the temple—asking them questions, listening to their answers. 47 Everyone was surprised and impressed that a 12-year-old boy could have such deep understanding and could answer questions with such wisdom.
48 His parents, of course, had a different reaction.
Mary: Son, why have You treated us this way? Listen, Your father and I have been sick with worry for the last three days, wondering where You were, looking everywhere for You.
Jesus:49 Why did you need to look for Me? Didn’t you know that I must be working for My Father?
Little is recorded about Jesus’ life between His birth and the age of 30. But this one episode tells so much. First, Jesus’ family life is a lot like anyone’s—full of mishaps and misunderstandings. Second, as Jesus enters young adulthood, He begins manifesting an extraordinary sense of identity. (Remember, a 12-year-old isn’t “just a kid” in Israel—he is becoming a man.) He isn’t just “Mary’s boy” or “Joseph’s stepson.” He has a direct relationship with God as His Father, and He knows His life will follow a path of working for God.
50 Neither Mary nor Joseph really understood what He meant by this. 51 Jesus went back to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. His mother continued to store these memories like treasures in her heart. 52 And Jesus kept on growing—in wisdom, in physical stature, in favor with God, and in favor with others.
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