Summary: This is what this passage tells us. Spiritual growth was not only a priority in the life of Jesus, it was everything. Jesus taught us how to live a balanced life.
When we look at the life of Jesus and what the Bible tells us about Him we quickly notice that the majority of what we know is from his adult life…those 3.5 years He spent in ministry. There is of course the story of his birth. Also in the gospel of Luke we are told that following the birth of Jesus that the family returns to Bethlehem and during the next year the wise men follow a star to Him. All of the Nativity scenes we see with the Wise Men gathered around the manger aren’t actually correct. Jesus would have been walking by that point. Following that time, King Herod, afraid of losing power, had all the baby boys in the region who were two and under killed. The Bible tells us that an angel warned Joseph and Mary and they fled to Egypt with Jesus. Then after it was safe they returned to Nazareth where He grew up.
Then we see the baby Jesus in the temple, 8 days old as He is being dedicated to God. Following that, the scripture is silent about his childhood so we do not see anything until the time when He is 12 and He is at the temple amazing the teachers. Following that we then do not hear anything until He enters His public ministry at the age of 30. So we have an 18 year period of silence where the Bible only gives us one verse to tell us what it was like. It is a summation of what happened during that 18 year period. Here it is. Luke 2:52.
Now I believe that Luke must have heard from Mary, the mother of Jesus during these years….. so why did he choose only this one passage to share with us? Scholars often refer to these as the hidden or lost years because we know so little about them. But what we know is what God chose for us to know. What He gave to us is exactly what He wanted us to have.
Now what does this passage say to us as his disciples now living 2000 years later? This is what this passage tells us.
Spiritual growth was not only a priority in the life of Jesus, it was everything.
Jesus taught us how to live a balanced life.
This verse follows the story of Jesus having traveled to the temple at the age of 12. This would have been a trip they would have made every year for Passover. The Bible tells us that it was their custom to do so. We quickly learn that when the feast was over that Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem… no big deal but he forgot to tell his parents. Joseph and Mary didn’t know it. The scripture says that “thinking He was in their company, they continued to travel.
It’s probably not very spiritual for me to admit this but I have found that I cannot read this passage anymore without thinking of the movie “Home Alone.” Kevin, remember Kevin, the little boy was upset and went to bed that night ….without setting his alarm clock. The family was catching an early flight the next morning and because they had such a large family, extended relatives traveling with them, they miscounted that morning and Kevin was left behind. Who does that? Joseph and Mary apparently.
With Jesus we don’t know if they miscounted or what. It was common for the women to leave earlier than the men because they didn’t walk as fast. That way they could all arrive at the same time and walk at a pace that was comfortable for all of them. So Mary likely left with all of the women leaving Joseph and Jesus behind. So why didn’t Joseph have him? It was also a tradition that children would often travel together as a group or with another relative so that is probably what Joseph thought.
So we know that after arriving at their destination and realizing he was not with them, they began to look. Have you lost one of your children before? I remember it happening at least twice to us. We found Ross sound asleep in his bedroom. The problem was he was under his bed. Brian was playing down the street, I think he had found a girlfriend, he was about 6 years old so he probably was on his 3rd or 4th one by that time… but anyway we could not find him for several hours. We laugh now but it’s not a good feeling when it happens.
So the Bible says they searched for him but couldn’t find him so they headed back to Jerusalem to look and 3 long days later they found him. Where was he? At church. Where else would Jesus be? My wife says that when she was a baby in this church … Bud and Mandy were custodians and Mandy worked in childcare some. Well Denise’s parents got home from church one Sunday and one of the workers in the church nursery called their house to say hey, you forgot your little girl… she’s here in the nursery. My wife is still traumatized over that.