I don’t know about you, but I’m always apprehensive about things that take me outside my comfort zone. On the other hand, I’m also eager to expand my skill set… catch-22, right? Whilst I would prefer to stick to things that I know I’m comfortable with, I’m learning that the ‘scary’ things aren’t always as bad as I’d imagined.
“Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.” (Luke 2:46)
Although I was familiar with the story of how Mary and Joseph accidentally lost the Son of God, I hadn’t really considered it from Jesus’ perspective. Verse 41 highlights that they made their trip to Jerusalem annually. In other words, for as long as He could remember, Jesus had been going there for the Passover Feast. If anything noteworthy had occurred on previous trips I’m sure it would have been recorded. However, this trip was special.
Your value isn’t linked to your age.
I love how verses 46 and 47 capture the nature of the interaction between Jesus and the scholars; He’s in the company of learned men and He’s holding His own! It’s clearly a fruitful and thought-provoking discussion for both parties. Would you have had the confidence to do something similar at that age? It would have been easier to tell God that it was ‘too soon,’ so He’ll talk to them in few years when He’s older and wiser. He didn’t. Irrespective of whether He felt He was ready, He knew that even at 12, God felt He was ready.
Jesus demonstrates immense self-awareness in that He isn’t discouraged by how others may perceive Him, rather He chooses to seize an opportunity that He knows His Father thinks He’s ready for. Notice that He has the maturity to listen and ask questions, whilst also having the boldness to contribute and add value to the discussion. As a Christian, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself in situations where you question God’s assertion that you’re ready. You’ll be tempted to hide behind excuses why an opportunity or calling is not for you. What do you do when you disagree with God?
Humility allows you to say ‘yes’ when the logical response would be ‘no.’
Pause for a moment to consider what would have happened had Jesus chosen not to linger. At the tender age of 12, no one would have expected Him to separate from His parents. He hadn’t done so in previous years, and He could have opted to maintain this pattern. In fact, it’s unlikely that any of the scholars would have felt something was amiss at this particular Passover Feast. However, the fact that they were “astonished” by His contributions suggests that He enriched their understanding of the topics discussed. Could they have learned these things in the future? Perhaps. But Jesus was here at this Passover Feast and He had no intentions of leaving until He’d conversed with them.
- It doesn’t have to make sense to you if it makes sense to God – there are opportunities that you don’t feel ready for for, but you’re seemingly being presented with. If you’re sure it’s a door that God has opened, then have faith that He’ll equip you with what’s needed to proceed successfully.
- Don’t overburden yourself – it’s easy to say ‘yes’ to everything, but not everything that appears to be good is for you. Ask God to help you discern what you should focus on so you can exercise balance.
- Enjoy it – the interaction above was mutually beneficial; if Jesus was nervous, you certainly can’t tell. Whilst something that stretches you is likely to feel uncomfortable, try not to let that define your experience.
Some things are easier to say yes to than others, but often times it’s the things you’re least inclined to do that inspire the most growth. Don’t shun something that could potentially be a blessing to you and others simply because it’s uncharted territory.