Friends and family didn’t understand Jesus because they didn’t understand God’s plan.
Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they travelled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
In this story from Jesus’ early life, it is interesting to see (for the first time) a dynamic that plays out for the rest of his time on earth up to his resurrection. No one seems to understand Jesus- who he is, what he is talking about, or what he is doing – even his closest family and friends.
In this story (and in many occasions throughout Luke), Jesus rebukes those around him for not understanding, even though it seems like an unrealistic expectation! Jesus’ mother is anxious because she could not find her son. Of course she is! Would you expect any different response?
I think it shows the great divide between God’s plan in Jesus, and how far humanity had fallen away from a tight relationship with God. They had no idea what was going on. We could not understand what God was doing because we were far from Him.
It also shows how tough Jesus had it. He had little encouragement from friends and family to accomplish all that his Father had planned. They just could not have known. THEY needed Jesus to bridge the gap in their understanding and distance from God. I see why Jesus often separated himself from everyone to pray to his Father at great length- the one who DID know all that lay ahead. The deep sacrifice yet rich reward. Praise God that Jesus had the strength to continue with God’s plan even though those surrounding him were pointing him in a different direction. How might we be similar?
Head: Can you see the difference between Jesus’ and his mother’s response and how their understanding of God’s plan was different?
Heart: How would Jesus have felt going this journey alone?
Hands: How can you make the most of your church family to serve God’s plan together?
Prayer: Thank you Jesus for all you have accomplished for us in your death and resurrection. You pushed ahead with your Father’s plan even though you were alone, and received very little encouragement from the people you came to save. Help us to be disciples who push forward with your plan of love, justice and redemption together, making use of your church family for encouragement, so we don’t have to go alone. For your glory, and in your name. Amen.
A song to listen to: Suffering Servant