Luke 2:41-52 (ESV)
41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43 And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
It’s interesting to consider what Joseph and Mary were feeling as they were looking for Jesus for three days. As a parent, there were times that I was looking for my kids, and I can tell you that after a few minutes had passed, my stress levels were rising exponentially. I can’t begin to imagine how Mary and Joseph felt after three days of searching.
I’m also amazed at Jesus in this passage. First, that Jesus is amazing the teachers at the temple with His questions and answers. Second, at Jesus’ response to Mary, not accepting the blame for the situation but gently reminding Mary that He needed to be in His Father’s “house.” The Greek word for “house” is an expression found only here in the Bible and it literally means “about the things, the business or work, of my Father.” Jesus is already aware of the mission of God.
Finally, that Jesus just submitted to Joseph and Mary and was obedient and grew up in wisdom as well as favor with God and men.
In this passage, it’s astounding to see Jesus knew His purpose. Jesus knows what it is He is supposed to do, and He is pursuing His Father’s purposes. But Jesus also understands that God’s calling has its good timing. So, Jesus waits, submits, and is patient for His ministry to begin.
Calling is something for us to consider. What is your calling? What is it that God wants you to do? Purpose is easy. Love God and pursue Him always, love people (Mark 12.28-34). But calling is different. Calling is how you live out your purpose. Do you know your calling? Don’t worry too much if you don’t know your calling yet. It will come as you pursue knowing, loving, serving, and following Jesus. The Lord will make it abundantly clear to you what it is that He wants you to do, but you must wait patiently, pursue Christ relentlessly, and listen to Him.
When that calling comes, be ready to respond. Read, pray, listen, and submit to older believers. Learn from them and continue to grow into maturity of faith and discipleship. Give people permission to speak into your life and your faith so that you become experienced and ready. I think we’ve all seen what happens when someone tries to lead too soon or without the right experience or seasoning. It’s usually a disaster for the leader and the people he or she is trying to lead. But, if you’re willing to take the time to grow and mature in your relationship with Christ, you will flourish in your calling even in times of difficulty. (By the way, we are all called - not just in church leadership - you are called as a missional disciple of Jesus in the circumstances in which you find yourself! Ephesians 4:11-12).
Take some time to treasure these things in your heart, talk to God and listen for His voice as He calls you into the deep waters of relationship with Him.
God bless you and know that you are prayed for constantly!