Lesson Thirty One
THE BOY JESUS
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I don’t remember the details, but I definitely remember how it ended. My husband and I work at the Seventh-day Adventist World Headquarters. It’s a fairly large building with three floors and a lower level. On this particular Sunday, both of us went into the empty office building and we took our daughter, who was about three at the time. I worked on the second floor while my husband worked on the lower level.
I’m not sure who was responsible for her, but at some point, we realized she was missing.
I’m not sure who was responsible for her, but at some point, we realized she was missing. We separately ran through the corridors calling her name on the different floors but heard no reply. We then headed for the first-floor lobby where security was located to get some assistance in finding our lost daughter. As we ran toward the lobby, we saw this little figure sitting on the steps. As we approached she simply looked as if she were expecting us. For her, she wasn’t lost, but waiting for us to show up. To this day, we don’t know how she got there.
In the story this week, Mary and Joseph “lost” Jesus. But if we read the text carefully we will discover that, at least from Jesus’ perspective, He wasn’t lost at all. He simply hadn’t left when they did.
The family was in Jerusalem attending Passover. As Jesus watched each part of the temple service unfold, He began to understand who He was. He recognized the symbolism in the service and that He, the Son of God, was the sacrificial Lamb. It was this realization that caused Jesus to linger.
It was this realization that caused Jesus to linger.
Those who participated in Passover headed back home including Jesus’ parents. The important ritual of the temple service was forgotten amidst the chatting, laughing, walking, and jostling of the caravan. Jesus stayed behind because He needed solitude—to linger and contemplate the important truths revealed. He needed to associate with those studying the scriptures, not only to listen and learn but to shed light on old passages that suddenly took on new meaning. Filled with understanding His mission, He lingered to engage the rabbis.
Most of us have lost the art of lingering. Our busy days are filled with noise and distractions in the form of children, phones, or coworkers. When was the last time you stopped long enough to contemplate spiritual things?
When was the last time you stopped long enough to contemplate spiritual things?
It took a whole day before Mary and Joseph found Jesus. He wasn’t surprised to see them; like my daughter, He expected them. What surprised Him was that they didn’t know where to find Him. The visit to Jerusalem for Jesus was critical because it was here He learned who He was. It was here He first announced His mission. It was here He first stated His relationship to God—My Father.
To linger is important. Find time every day to linger with Jesus and be renewed.
I think you’ll want to read this Digging Deeper because it reveals something you might not know. Jesus makes an important observation to Mary when she discovers Him in the temple. For the first time, He acknowledges His heavenly Father. Ellen White reveals this about Mary’s response:
“Mary knew that Jesus had disclaimed relationship to Joseph and claimed his sonship to the Eternal. She was perplexed; she did not fully comprehend the meaning of the words herself when he referred to his mission. She questioned in her mind as to whether anyone had told Jesus that Joseph was not his true father, but that God was his Father. Mary pondered these things in her heart” (The Youth Instructor, July 13, 1893).
How interesting! We would think that Mary would have told Jesus His birth story; that He would have known that Joseph was not His father. But apparently, they did not. So, Jesus’ realization in the temple was critical. It was also unique. While God is referenced as “Father” a few times previously in Scripture, no one had ever claimed Him as “My Father.” Jesus was asserting His family tie to heaven. In so doing, He acknowledged that each of us has two families—our earthly or physical family and our spiritual one.
Jesus was a dutiful son and returned home with His parents and for 18 years served them faithfully and lovingly. But when it was time to answer His Father’s call, He did and from then on, while He loved His mother and brothers and sisters, He chose to follow the path God had laid out for Him.
We, too, may one day have to choose between who we will serve. Be sure you have a relationship with your heavenly Father as well as with your earthly family.
Making it Real
Learn how to linger this week. Depending on your circumstances it may not be easy. You may need to plan ahead. Here are some ideas:
- Fix a cup of herbal tea. Find a place to sit in quiet and solitude. Contemplate Jesus’ life as a boy while you sip your tea.
- Buy some of those small oranges—Haloes, Cuties, etc. They are easy to peel, but they are covered with strings. In the time it takes to peel the strings off the orange, enjoy the sweetness of the fruit, while you contemplate the sweet blessings God gives you each day.
- Darkness is often a time to be alone with your thoughts. Once kids are in bed, curl up on a couch or chair and sit in the dark. Think about your walk with Jesus.
Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being a grandmother to two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus, and a granddaughter, born in 2023. She is blessed to have all three living close by, continually bringing joy and delight.