Summary: God, the Father, desired strict obedience from Jesus and He desires the same from his children.

Text: “So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him” (Luke 2:45).

Story: “When Orders Conflict”

A young man about to enter the regular army was talking with an old soldier. The old soldier had been giving him some strong advice on the subject of obeying orders. “But suppose, General,” said the young man, “orders sometimes conflict. What am I to do in a case like that?”

“Well, in the first place,” replied the old soldier, “they never will if they emanate from persons who have the right to order. If you find yourself at some time seemingly subject to such conditions, you may depend upon it that there has been a mistake somewhere. In that case, however, the safe way is to find out who the superior is and obey him.”

There are a good many times in ordinary life when at first glance orders seem to conflict. In times like this the safe plan is to take the old soldier’s advice and obey the superior. You remember that at one time Peter and John were ordered by the magistrate to quit preaching. I have no doubt that under ordinary circumstances these men would have given heed to the voice of the officers of the law. But in this case there was the order not to speak, from the magistrates, and the order from God to hold not their peace. They settled the matter by obeying the superior Commander. (The Lookout)

According to our Scripture, Jesus was a young man of 12 years when he went to Jerusalem with his parents to celebrate the great festivals spoken of in the Old Testament and recorded in the book of Deuteronomy 16:16. Three times a year all young males were to go to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Passover or Feast of Unleavened Bread; Feast of Weeks which is also known as the Feast of Pentecost, Feast of Harvest, or the Day of the Firstfruits; and, Feast of Tabernacles.

The Feast of Passover or Feast of Unleavened Bread celebrated the release and deliverance of the Jews from captivity in Egypt and established Israel as a nation. The Feast of Pentecost or Feast of Harvest or Day of the Firstfruits was a one-day celebration and marked the culmination of the wheat harvest. The third festival, the Feast of Tabernacles brought to light the completion of the harvest as well as the remembrance of the 40 years of wandering around in the wilderness.

Jesus lived most of his life in Nazareth which is in the hills of Galilee. He was a normal little boy like all of his friends. His earthly parents raised him in the light of the Jewish customs. For example, after a baby was born to a Jewish family, three ceremonies came into play. The first ceremony was that of circumcision and was carried out on the eighth day of life. This was in accordance to God’s law and is specified in Leviticus 12:3. This was symbolic and indicated separation of the Jews from the Gentiles. In addition, this ceremony showed a special relationship between the baby and God.

The second ceremony was the redemption of the firstborn as specified in Exodus 13:1. The firstborn sons were to be consecrated or set apart as belonging to God. This ceremony also had a clause of redeeming or buying back the child from God. This was done by presenting an offering to God. Parents were aware that this child belonged to God because God has the power to give life. This ceremony took place at the age of one month.

The third ceremony was the purification of the mother. After a woman gave birth to a son, she was considered ceremonially unclean for 40 days and could not enter the temple. If the woman delivered a daughter, she was considered ceremonially unclean for 80 days and could not enter the temple. This ritual was to separate the unclean from the holy. This practice may or may not sound too clear to us, but it was adhered to and practiced in Jesus’ day.

At the end of the 40 or 80 days of separation, the parents would bring a lamb to the temple for a burnt offering and one dove or pigeon for a sin offering. If the family could not afford to bring a lamb, a dove or pigeon could be substituted. Mary brought the latter which was “a pair of doves or two young pigeons” (Luke 2:24).

Mary and Joseph were following God’s law to the very letter. They were obedient in every area of their daily life. They went through each of the ceremonies in accordance to God’s Word. Mary and Joseph were obedient to the will of God. They were given the privilege of raising a son and that son was the Son of God.

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