Jesus in the Temple

Reading the stories of Jesus, I like to think about what life was like in his family. I’m afraid that the little pieces offered in the bible are not very flattering examples of his family relations.

Take for example the story of the time Jesus went with his parents to visit Jerusalem for the annual Passover Festival. As the story goes, 12 year old Jesus was left behind, a poor testimony to the communication habits of Joseph and Mary. I realize that Jesus wasn’t exactly a toddler. His parents may have just expected him to act like the adult he was now, at 12, supposed to be and do what he should without being checked on. Fair enough. No blaming the parents here.

After a long and worrisome search, mother and dad find their son in the Temple, sitting with the Jewish teachers. When Mary tells him how worried they had been, he doesn’t even apologize, which is what I would expect if it were my son.  Instead, he says that they should have known where he was. Really? And why is that? There is something missing here. Even they didn’t know what he was talking about.

The story ends with Jesus going home with his folks “where he was obedient to them.” I should think so! It also says that his mother “treasured” these stories in her heart. I am not so sure that “treasure” would have been my reaction. But I sure wouldn’t forget it. Next time there’d be a dandy consequence.

Luke 2:41-52

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6 Responses to Jesus in the Temple

  1. Mary Rohr says:

    You took on a difficult topic! Finding a balance between relating to Jesus as man, and Jesus as God because we know He is/was both is darn near impossible. We can relate to his parent’s fear over losing him..though from what I understand he was thought to be travelling with the men from Mary’s prospective and with the women from Joseph’s prospective…he must have been at an in between age and it could have been either at that point. I see his response to their fear and frustration more as a gentle admonition to trust, and a suggestion as to His future work once He was grown.

    I don’t see your son as rude in any way, though. I appreciate honest sons, who speak their mind even if I don’t always agree with them since I have 4 of my own. 🙂 I also like to read posts that cause me to reflect a little. Thanks for taking on the deeper questions.

    • Judy says:

      Thankyou for your comments. I am not sure the topic is so difficult. I think what is difficult is that one might offend by bringing humor to topic some people take really seriously. But I think the taking of some things too seriously as a problem in itself. So far, I have found the comments insightful and warm-hearted.

  2. Sue says:

    Judy,

    I think what you are saying–I could be wrong–is that the Bible is giving a rather unflattering look at Jesus’ childhood. He comes across as inconsiderate and rude. His parents seem inept and permissive: Take a look:

    If Jesus was receiving a proper upbringing, wouldn’t he have apologized?
    Why would his mother “treasure” this memory? I remember when I’ve lost my kids, and it was horrible. I don’t treasure those memories, I shudder about them.
    Why weren’t his parents watching him better? I understand kids grew up sooner back then. But even in the Jewish religion, Jesus was not yet a man. Shouldn’t Mary and Joseph have been keeping a better eye on him?
    Jesus tells his parents that they should have known where’d he be. Doesn’t he sound like a rude young man?

    I expected a different Jesus. A Jesus who’d say, “I”m sorry, Mom and Dad. I know you were worried. But I had this buringing desire to go and . . .”

    Didn’t you?

    • Judy says:

      Thank you for you comments. I am really trying to bring humor into the reading of the scripture stories. In my early times of reading and reflecting on the bible, I tended to read with rose-colored glasses. Jesus was bigger than human and always right and perfect. He didn’t struggle to do the loving thing because he was divine. Later, I began to imagine the stories behind the stories. I started to see a new Jesus, one who may have even made mistakes as he learned his lessons on how to love.

      I don’t know that Jesus’ family was really disfunctional. I’d imagine that the idea of “disfuncion” wasn’t even considered. They were just a family much like ours, I think. Pondering the human Jesus is something I do to help me in my own spirituality. The more human he becomes in my mind, the more realistic it is for me to be able to emulate him. He becomes less “distant”. Instead of “I can never be like Jesus because he was divine”, I think, “Because he was human there is a chance that this human being can learn to love as he did.”

  3. Chris Jeub says:

    What an interesting perspective! I love how you reflect on the reality of Jesus and his life. I’d like to see you blog more on this.

    • Judy says:

      Oh, I will. Any of the passages in which Jesus encounters members of his family offer food for thought…my thoughts, anyway. It is fun for me, and even helpful to my meditation, to imagine Jesus growing up in a family much like our own. I might just throw another out tomorrow.

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