His parents had been looking for him for three days. This special boy, child of promise—only twelve, after all. Where was he? He had always been obedient, always responsible. What could have happened? Mary and Joseph were worried sick.
Yet there he was all the time, safely 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” (Luke 2:41-52).
What was going on in Jesus mind? What was he thinking, especially during the night hours when, like the boy Samuel in the tabernacle, he was alone with God and his thoughts? (Where did Jesus spend those couple of nights? The text is silent. Perhaps he hid away somewhere in the temple precincts during the hours the temple was closed.)
We don’t know what was going on in Jesus’ mind and spirit. But perhaps there are some clues.
It would be plain silly to think Jesus already fully knew precisely who he was and exactly the future that lay before him. The very next verses in Luke say that Jesus, returning with Mary and Joseph to Nazareth, “increased in wisdom and in years [or stature], and in divine and human favor” (Lk. 2:52). Already he was “filled with wisdom” (Lk. 2:40), yes, but certainly only as a human child.
Jesus (like Mary) must have pondered many things in his heart as he grew in his sense of his own identity and calling. Being fully human, and at this point fully a child, he could not possibly have known his full vocation as Messiah, the one on whom all Israel’s hopes rested.
So here he is in the temple, sitting with the elders, asking questions and giving amazing responses.
What is going on here? Can it be precisely here, in these temple discussions, that Jesus is working out who he really is and what he is called to do?
Speculation, and yet it makes sense. We perhaps get a clue much later, in the gospel of John, when Jesus speaks with Pilate. Pilate says, “So you’re a king?” Jesus replies, “You say I’m a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.” (John 18:37-38). By the time his public ministry began Jesus understood very well the reason he was born and why the Father had sent him, as he emphasizes constantly in the gospel of John.
Surely Not Me!
So here perhaps is what is going on with Boy Jesus in the temple:
He asks them about the Law and the Prophets.
They explain, and at some point they speak of the Messiah.
“Tell me more about the Messiah,” Jesus says.
The scribes and elders explain the prophecies. The Messiah who is promised; who he is; what he will do. Son of David; promised King; suffering servant; bringer of a new covenant.
Descendant of David! Born in Bethlehem! Perhaps Jesus begins thinking about all Mary had told him, all she’s stored up in her heart of hearts. The private, quiet conversations between mother and child that the gospels leave unrecorded.
Then come the quiet night hours. Jesus thinks and prays and ponders and thinks some more.
Messiah? Descendant of David, born in Bethlehem? Could it be . . . ?
No! Surely not me.
But by now Jesus knows the Isaiah scroll. He knows the Pentateuch. He knows the Messiah will come, child of promise, the one to fulfill the promises; the one fulfilling the law, to be like a lamb led to the slaughter. A unique person who in his one person combines all the themes of prophet, priest, and king. The promised Lion of the tribe of Judah who will have first to be the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. Son of man who will receive an everlasting kingdom.
Could he really be one greater than the temple, “one greater than the Sabbath”? Wow!
Here’s what I think happened. By the time Mary and Joseph find him, Jesus has figured it out. “It is I.” Yes. “For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth”—the truth of God; the full meaning of the law; true love and obedience; the true, unique, and only possible way to the coming of the kingdom, the Jubilee, God’s will fully being done on earth as in heaven.
Did Jesus struggle with this, possibly a preparation for the 40 days in the desert? Pride. Presumption. Arrogance. Absurdity. I am only a twelve-year-old boy in Roman-occupied Judea!
Yet in the night hours perhaps the Father spoke to him, like God to boy Samuel. (We think of the link between Hannah and Mary.) And perhaps here was a foretaste of Gethsemane. Can it be? Am I called to this? Whatever: Father, not what I want, but what you call me to.
Surely Jesus’ attitude was precisely that of his dear mother Mary (unlike that of Uncle Zechariah): “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Lk. 1:38). Your word: that is, all those Old Testament prophetic words of the coming Messiah.
So Jesus returns to Nazareth with Mary and Joseph. The matter settled; the steep road ahead becoming clear. Later through his years of public ministry Jesus takes many deliberate steps “in order that the Scriptures may be fulfilled.”
And finally that marvelous post-resurrection burning-heart scene on the road to Emmaus. “Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, [the risen Jesus Messiah] interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures” (Lk. 24:27).
Perhaps it all traces back to boy Jesus in the temple, beginning to be about his Father’s business.
The Father’s Business
The story of the boy Jesus is not given to tell us how brilliant or how special or self-consciously divine Jesus was. Rather it is given to show how normal, fully human, all-boy he was as he grew and perhaps struggled to understand “his Father’s business.” “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tempted [or tested] as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).
May God help each of us to understand and fully commit to the Father’s Kingdom business, as did our Apostle and Forerunner and Great High Priest.
This post was written by Dr Howard Snyder. You can find the original post with comments here: http://howardsnyder.seedbed.com/2013/05/23/my-fathers-business-boy-jesus-in-the-temple/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
A Manchineri believer in Brazil, Genesio, recently told missionary Peter Rich, how ice cubes led to his salvation.
“I used to think that only people that preached God’s Word were able to have ice cubes. I didn’t know what they were. One day I asked my mother, ‘What are those hard things that missionaries have in their cups?’ ‘Son, she replied, ‘That’s just something other people do.
“But I was still curious so I asked Peter, What are those things in your cup? He told me that it was water made hard with cold. I knew he was lying to me. I went home and said to my mother, ‘I think Peter is lying to us. He said those hard things were just water. I know that’s not true.’
“Then one day after we had finished some work we were doing for the missionaries, Peter gave me some water with those hard things in it. I drank the water and asked if I could take the hard things home with me. Peter gave me some water with the hard things in it. I ran home as fast as I could and asked for a bowl to put them in. My mother and brothers and I poked them with our fingers and wondered what they could be. Around midnight we noticed that they were turning into something like water. What could it be?
“Later I was watching when Peter was filling a little tray with water. He said he was going to put them in that box they call a refrigerator and by the next day the water would turn hard. Peter said, ‘Come back tomorrow and I’ll show it to you.’
“The next day I went back and the water was hard. Peter showed me the back of the box and explained that the process that made heat which made the water get hard.
“Not long afterwards I was talking with my brother Tshiko. He was telling me that he didn’t believe the things that the missionary was teaching. I told Tshiko that I also did not believe at first but after seeing how a box made by mere men could take water and transform it into hard rocks I now believed that a God who created all things could surely transform the soul of a wicked person into His image.
“From that time on I looked forward to the meetings because I wanted to learn all I could about this God. I never had any trouble listening from then on. Now I know the true God.”
Genesio along with several other Manchineri believers continues to help Peter translate the Scriptures into the Manchinere language.
Pray that Peter Rich and his co-workers, Genesio and his brother Raimundo, will clearly and accurately translate God’s Word into Manchineri.
This post was written by D McMaster. You can find the original post here: http://usa.ntm.org/mission-news/52278/the-testimony-of-the-ice-cube
BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
We are not very understanding or tolerant of our limitations. We forget how we are 'formed'. Instead of accepting our creatureliness as a good gift from God, we often find ourselves being harshly judgmental and unforgiving of ourselves. This lack of compassion can lead to self-abusive and self-neglectful behaviors. When we forget how we are formed, we can forget to take care of such creaturely basics as sleep, decent food and relaxation.
Fortunately, God does not forget how we are formed. God remembers. God knows we have limitations. God remembers that we are 'dust'. Because we are so intolerant of our limits, it is important to emphasize that the metaphor 'dust' in this text does not imply worthless. It is not that God remembers how worthless we are - just dust to be sweep up and thrown away . Quite to the contrary, God remembers our weakness and limitations and has compassion on us. Again, because we are so intolerant of our limits, it is also probably important to emphasize that 'compassion' is not 'pity'. God does not pity us poor, pathetic, helpless mortals. Quite to the contrary, God's compassion is the tender, loving care of a good parent towards a child.
God knows and respects our limitations. They are not a surprise to God. God is our Creator. God remembers what we tend to forget. God remembers that we are creatures.
Thank you, Lord, for remembering what I forget.
You remember that I am human,
that I need to sleep,
that I need to play,
that I have limited strength and ability.
Thank you for having reasonable expectations of me.
Thank you for understanding my limits.
Help me to be compassionate with my humanness
Even as you, Lord,
are compassionate toward me. Amen.
Copyright Dale and Juanita RyanNational Association for Christian Recovery
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.- Genesis 1:3
I can remember many times in which I would venture out to my grandpa’s workshop when I was a child. He had barrels full of different types of wood, nails, saws, and everything else that could get a little boy in trouble. Often I would began building something and after about an hour….I would figure out what I was going to make. Usually, I would start nailing and then see what the creation looked like, and start making it look more like what I wanted it to eventually become. I can’t even count how many times I set out to make a pinewood derby car, and ended up with half a box. The fact is….I would often get tired of nailing and cutting so I would leave the creation on the bench and leave. My grandparents didn’t care though…it would keep us kids out of the house for a few hours.
God never gets tired of creating. Many humans are under the impression that creation stopped on the 6th day in the book of Genesis. The Bible indicates that God is constantly refining, rebuilding, recreating, and transforming things all around us….and within us. New babies are knit together in the womb everyday. New land is being formed and built under the surface of the ocean on a regular basis. Even the death of a tree implies life only a couple seasons away.
We often think that our problems are too cumbersome for God to handle. Or, perhaps we believe that God is too busy to hear our cry. Truth be told, God did not sit down in a workshop and fashion all of creation. He simply spoke. All matter that exists as of this moment was spoken into being by God. God’s plan is perfect and timely, yet it is born from the sound of His voice. His desire is to continue creation within us. With just a word….God can create light from the darkness that we are stumbling through.
We can find comfort in the power and gentleness that is found in our Creator.
This post was written by Rev DeCrastos. You can find the original post here: http://otherwordsdotnet.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/spoken/
I remember life in the garden. It was wonderful. We could go anywhere we wanted, do anything we pleased, and there were no burdens or conflicts. We did not have the weight of shame or guilt to weigh us down. God’s presence was with us in a tangible way, and life ran smoothly. One of my favorite things I used to do in the garden was to sit with God and talk under the various trees. I didn’t really have a favorite, because they were all beautiful and provided shade. As I would speak with God I would casually reach up and eat from the fruit the tree provided. I never wanted for anything because food and shelter were always there when I needed them.
There, however, was this one tree that we could not eat from. At the time, I didn’t understand why we couldn’t eat from it and the curiosity was overwhelming. Looking back on it, I realize that God had to provide a choice for us concerning obedience so our love would be real and not coerced. This makes sense to me…now
. So, as you could imagine my wife and I were disobedient and ate fruit from that tree. Now, I have been observing my descendants ever since that day, and I have made some interesting observations.
Since the time that I disobeyed, not much of the attitude of humanity has changed. Sometimes they do not understand why God has certain standards, and later realize it is for their protection. They will lash out with anger because they cannot do all things they desire with God’s approval. I have seen this play out so many times. God has a better plan and it is easy to see from my perspective, but I can honestly understand what they are feeling because the plan is not fully apparent.
The most interesting observation has to do with the garden from which I was expelled. Humanity seems to be trying to relive life in the garden…I can’t say I blame them…It was wonderful and there was such freedom. They desire to have no guilt, shame, or punishment. They are going about things backwards though. My race, instead of being obedient to God, is trying to take a shortcut by declaring nothing sinful and ignoring warning signs of collapse. In this, they have been able to reduce the affects of shame, guilt, but freedom still eludes them.
The fact is, I can understand their thought process. If we get rid of the bad things such as guilt and shame then things will be perfect again right? Well, in a way yes….but they are missing one main element. The reason the garden was so great was not because of the bad things that were absent, but because of the best aspect that existed…God’s presence.
My sons and daughters don’t need to spend all of their time and energy trying to fix what I messed up. God’s presence needs to be allowed to freely move among them. I am so glad God thought of the Jesus plan. There is hope after all.
This post was written by Rev Landon. For the original post, go to: http://otherwordsdotnet.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/adams-journal/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
"My skin is too dark" one man says. Another whines, "I'm too pale." Another man complains, "I'm too tall for this seat!" Another whispers, "I wish I was just a bit taller."
Daily in our culture, we are bombarded with messages that we are too fat, too thin, too tall, too short, too dark, too light. In order to sell us products to fix whatever is "wrong" with us, advertisers have capitalized on the oldest trick in the book: they have imitated the tactics of the enemy in the Garden of Eden!In Genesis 3,
the serpent suggests that things could be a little bit better if Adam and Eve just eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Doubting God's character, they took the bait. With their eyes now opened, Adam and Eve experienced shame for the first time. Shame is that voice that tells us that there is something wrong with us, that we are not quite acceptable the way we are.
God's Word liberates us from this kind of shame, lies, and deception. Over and over in Genesis 1,
God announces that His creation is good. It wasn't a qualified good -- that creation was only good on sunny days or when the land was particularly fruitful. It wasn't just good when man's muscles were firm and his skin was flawless.
No, God looked over all that He had made and without reservation or qualification called it good.
To cling to the truth that God's creation has been created good, by God, is entirely countercultural today.This is truth worth holding on to tightly.
This post is taken from Today in the WordBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Maker of the Universe Phil Keaggy
The Maker of the universe,
As Man for man was made a curse.
The claims of Law which He had made,
Unto the uttermost He paid.
His holy fingers made the bough,
Which grew the thorns that crowned His brow.
The nails that pierced His hands were mined
In secret places He designed.
He made the forest whence there sprung
The tree on which His body hung.
He died upon a cross of wood,
Yet made the hill on which it stood.
The sky that darkened o'er His head,
By Him above the earth was spread.
The sun that hid from Him it's face
By His decree was poised in space.
The spear which spilled His precious blood
Was tempered in the fires of God.
The grave in which His form was laid
Was hewn in rocks His hands had made.
The throne on which He now appears
Was His for everlasting years.
But a new glory crowns His brow
And every knee to Him shall bow.