"Left behind" These are some of the scariest thoughts a parent can have, and this realization hit my dad when my brother, Ron, was about seven. It was back in the olden days when station wagons had a rear seat turned backwards. Ron had been sleeping in this seat when we stopped at Howard Johnsons to eat. After the meal, he asked, "Dad, where's the restroom?" We got up. Dad paid the bill, and we piled in and headed north on the New York State Thruway. An hour and a half later my dad looked back, "David, check on your brother in the back seat." He wasn't there.
Jesus was twelve, not seven, when His parents left Him behind in Jerusalem. Luke vividly tells the story.
"When the festival days were completed, His parents began their return trip, but Jesus, their boy, remained in Jerusalem. His parents had no idea. Thinking he was in the caravan, they went a day's journey before they started looking for Him among relatives and folks they knew. When they didn't find Him, they returned to Jerusalem and searched. Now after three days, they found Him in the Temple. There He was sitting in the midst of the teachers listening to them and asking them questions." - Luke 2:43-46
Luke told us that Jesus as a child grew in wisdom and that God's favor was upon Him (Luke 2:40). Now we jump forward in time when Jesus is right on the verge of manhood, and we get to see how others witness His wisdom. After their frantic search Mary and Joseph finally go back to the Temple, and there's their Son in the middle of the Jewish rabbis. He's listening and asking questions. In tomorrow's Devo we will hear Jesus speak for the first time in Luke's Gospel and have to wrestle with who his real father is, but today I'm struck by the fact that, as a twelve-year-old, He already had the wisdom to sit in the midst of wise elders, listen, and ask questions.
Our church gatherings could be a lot less one sided if we returned to some of this Jewish stress upon questions, listening, asking more questions, and then back and forth dialogue. With all our iPads, power points, and one way lectures, maybe this interactive form would grab the attention of more of our twelve-year-olds. On the cusp of manhood, they need the circle of godly, mature, wise teachers.
LORD, my congregation told me again and again, 'Dave, you're a good preacher. You need to improve on your listening.' They were right and this snapshot of Jesus for the first time as a twelve-year-old sitting, listening, and asking questions challenges this fast talking New Yorker to remember again that he has two ears, one mouth. This means twice as much listening today as talking.
Meanwhile back with my dad frantically heading south on the Thruway to find Ron. When we arrived at the Howard Johnson, there Ron was surrounded by waitresses with an entire gallon of ice cream. He told the manager, "Don't worry. My dad will finally realize I'm not in the car. He'll be back."
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!
You can also listen to weekly messages from Dave on OnePlace.com.