Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search 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. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.
~~Jesus knew the importance of family. I have read this passage several times in the past and I had never really noticed these words “and he was obedient to them”. Mary and Joseph had been separated from him for 3 days. I would imagine they were a little upset and relieved all the same time when they found him in the temple. He could have stayed in the Temple but he was obedient to his earthly family (and to God) and returned with them.
Now, while Jesus was in the temple he was listening to and asking questions of the teachers. I would imagine that they could have let him stay in the Temple and begin his ministry on earth but he had other obligations. Even though he was the Son of God, he was also the son of Mary and Joseph. That meant that he had a role to fulfill with them as a family before he could begin his work.
“Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them” God’s plan for Jesus at that time (and for us as well) is to be obedient to our parents. Colossians 3 states “Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.” Jesus pleased the Lord by being obedient and doing His will and he was blessed for it. According to the end of this passage: “and Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor”. Isn’t it great how God will bless us when we obey him! Jesus could have stayed in the temple but he would have missed out on the opportunity to learn and to grow with his family and increase in wisdom and favor. Jesus was 12 at the time and knew that he had a purpose to fulfill from God. But I wonder, that at the age of 12, if he fully knew what his purpose would be. I think the time spent being with his family allowed him to grow and learn from both his earthly and Heavenly Father. He may have missed out on that if he had not obeyed and stayed in Jerusalem.
How well are you fulfilling your family role? Are you being obedient? Pray to God; Lord help me to realize my role in my family. Show me areas where I may be lacking. Help me to be obedient for I know that will be well pleasing to you. Amen.