Richard Whitaker- Discipleship and Connections Pastor LHBC

Luke 2:41-52
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.  And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it,  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, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him.  After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 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.”  And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 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. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. 

Luke’s record of Jesus’ early childhood brings to mind the time that Cheryl and I took our 4-year-old son, Truman, to Rock City and Ruby Falls.  We visited a large, fenced playground, and while Truman played, Cheryl and I sat facing each other, guarding the only narrow exit, thinking we could talk without keeping our eyes directly on him.  A brief time later, we looked over to see what fun was being had, but didn’t see Truman. Calmly calling for him at first, we both soon realized that HE’S-NOT-THERE! Feeling panic set in, we quickly searched through the adjoining play areas shouting, “Truman! Truman!”  Then, a young lady said, “I think he’s hiding over in the ball pit.” We were instantly relieved, bewildered that we lost track of him so easily, and exhausted by the adrenaline rush.  

Bringing up a first-born child is challenging.  But, what if you were chosen by God to raise His only Son?  How would Mary and Joseph prepare Jesus to fulfill his calling as Savior of the World?  We see that they are motivated by love as they persevere for a total of 4 days of eager searching in “great distress.”  The same love that led them to relentlessly search all over Jerusalem, was the same love that motivated them to intentionally teach Jesus that he was God’s son. They taught through consistent example, obeying God’s command to observe the Passover each year and were committed to community as they traveled on their spiritual pilgrimage with friends and relatives.  They weren’t perfect parents, but by the age of 12, Jesus knew that he was God’s son and that he had a higher calling – a calling that led him to align priorities with his Father’s will by sitting, listening, and asking questions in the synagogue.  

Like Mary and Joseph, God’s grace is sufficient for every parenting challenge; past, present, and future.  Submitting their priorities and parenting to God’s designed rhythms of instruction in truth, consistent worship, and life in community were keys to their success.  Prayerfully teach and show them that they are called to be disciples – a lifestyle of surrender to Jesus that is more caught than taught. Bring them into a larger group of spiritual family members who reinforce what you’re living and teaching in your home.  Live on mission in your neighborhood. Pray together for lost neighbors and participate as a family in extending biblical hospitality (love of strangers). In this way, our children will grow in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and men, just like Jesus did.

Lord Jesus, I’m glad to know that you lead the example in all things, even to what it looks like to grow up as a 12 year old child.  Help me to make spiritual growth a priority like you did, while persevering in making disciples in my home. May my children, and those in my neighborhood, grow in wisdom, stature and favor with you and men, just like your son Jesus.  In Jesus name I pray, amen.

1 Samuel 3:10
And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”