Text of the Week
Jesus is our unlikely hero this week -- because he is only twelve years old in this story! By Jewish custom, a boy became a man at age thirteen -- so Jesus was definitely still considered a child in this story.
Any parent who has misplaced a child can identify with Mary and Joseph in this story. They found him in the Temple, talking with the rabbis and teachers. It is an interesting story -- and Mary understandably questions him. "Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety."
In his answer lies some of the mystery of the story.
Things you didn't learn in Sunday school...
There are more stories about Jesus' childhood in the apocryphal gospel, The Infancy Gospel of Thomas. Hero stories often contained episodes from childhood demonstrating unusual wisdom or miraculous powers. Luke is the only canonical gospels (contained in the biblical canon) that has a story about Jesus as a child. In the Gospel of Luke, this story bridges the infancy narratives and the start of his ministry as an adult. In this story, Jesus is beginning to be aware of his identity and what it means. Unlike the stories of The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, the focus is not on the teachers praise of Jesus but on his response to his parents. These are the first words in Jesus' own voice in Luke's gospel.