So Sunday we covered Jesus' birth, the shepherds in the field, Harrod, and all the other stuff. We're now moving closer to Jesus' ministry. But before that happens, Luke tells an interesting story about Jesus as a boy.
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.
-Luke 2:41-45 ESV
I said he's a boy, because according to jewish custom, he is still a child. Even today's standards say 12 year old is a boy. It's important to note that by his next birthday Jesus would be considered a man. When we turn 18 we're considered an adult. But that's not how it was back then. You have to consider that when Mary became betrothed to Joseph and gave birth to Jesus, she was between ages 14 and 15. So I'd say those were pretty adult. So, the 12th year was the final year of preparation before he entered full participation in the religious life of the synagogue. Up until that time his father was teaching him the Torah, but at the end of the 12th year the child goes through a ceremony, the bar mitzvah or "son of the commandment," and becomes a man.
So why didn't Mary and Joseph notice Jesus pulled a Home Alone?
His parents didn't hop in a car, drive to Jerusalem, then after the feast ended, hopped back in and headed home. It was a caravan of an entire Jewish community traveling together to Jerusalem. So imagine 100 or more people with mules carrying enough stuff to support their families for a couple weeks. So, imagine ALL THAT STUFF. And among all that your most trusted, oldest child is more than likely with a neighbor or cousin ahead of them.
Mary and Joseph loved Jesus. Any parent loves their child. That's why God passionately pursues us. We were lost, and God didn't wait for us to clean ourselves up and come back to him or to find our way to Him, but He sent Jesus to bring us back to Him.
God loves you.
Do you believe it?
Do you believe it?