Jesus Grows Up
August 2 - Nº 214 Matthew 2:12-23; Luke 2:39-52
When Herod realized that the Magi had left Israel without reporting back to him (see #213 - Gifts from the Magi), he was furious! His plot to kill the new “king” had been ruined. So he came up with another one. First he calculated the child’s age from the Magi’s account of when the star had appeared. Then he decided to kill all the baby boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and younger. Such a wide-spread massacre was sure to include the new “king!” This was a second fulfillment of a prophecy by Jeremiah who had predicted that Jewish mothers would weep for their children (see Jeremiah 31:15). They had mourned deeply for the little ones they lost when King Nebuchadnezzar’s troops invaded Jerusalem more than 500 years before (see #184 - Babylon Invades Judah, # 185 - The Siege of Jerusalem, #186 - Jerusalem Goes Up in Flames). Now they mourned again over the loss of their babies. A few years later, King Herod died. Again, an angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him that it was safe to return to Israel from Egypt (where they had escaped—see #213 - Gifts from the Magi). So Joseph moved his family back to Nazareth. It is there that Jesus grew up. He was a strong, healthy child filled with wisdom. And God’s grace was evident in his life. During those days, all Jewish boys went through a bar mitzvah when they turned 13. At that age, they were considered old enough to enjoy the religious rights and take on the religious responsibilities of an adult. This “rite of passage” usually took place during the Passover Festival at the Temple in Jerusalem. It included tests of the boy’s character and knowledge. Once he passed, there was a large celebration. Jewish boys often accompanied their parents to the Festival when they were 12 years old so they could observe and learn what to expect the following year. That was the situation one year as Jesus accompanied his parents to Jerusalem. Since the trip from Galilee took several days, they traveled and camped out with a large group of family members and friends from Nazareth. When the feast was over and it was time to return home, Jesus stayed behind at the Temple. Mary and Joseph were unaware of this, and they traveled a whole day thinking he was with others in their group. That evening, they looked for him and could not find him. They immediately rushed back to Jerusalem and searched anxiously for three days. Finally, they found him sitting in the Temple with the teachers. He was listening intently and asking questions. Everyone who heard him speak was amazed at his knowledge and his ability to answer the questions others raised. Even his parents were astonished at what they saw. But Mary ran over and asked, “Son, how could you do this to us? We have been so worried about you!” Jesus replied, “Don’t you realize that I need to be in My Father’s House doing what He wants me to do?” It was difficult for his parents to fully comprehend what he was saying to them.
Jesus clearly understood who he was! He was the Son of God! Because of this amazing fact, he needed to be where God wanted him to be—doing what God wanted him to do! Do you understand who you are? Do you realize that if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior you, too, are a child of God? Are you where God wants you to be right now? Are you doing what He wants you to do?