Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Jesus' Identity and Our Understanding of Him

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem… Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers” (Luke 2:41-43, 46-47, NLT).

At twelve years of age, Jesus would have been considered an adult, so Mary and Joseph weren’t alarmed at first when he wasn’t with them in the large caravan of people traveling home. When Jesus didn’t show up when they made camp in the evening, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three long days (3 days!), of searching and worrying, they found Jesus in the Temple, discussing theology with the religious teachers. For your information, during Jewish Passover festival, the greatest rabbis or teachers in Israel would assemble to teach and to discuss great truths. Certainly the coming Messiah would have been a discussion topic. Jesus would have been eager to listen and to ask probing questions. The depth of Jesus’ wisdom at his young age “amazed” these teachers.

 Meanwhile, Mary and Joseph had looked for Jesus for three days, so her question to Jesus was understandable: “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere” (Luke 2:48). Jesus simply replied, “But why did you need to search? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (2:49). Jesus knew his identity. Mary and Joseph, however, didn’t realize that Jesus was making a distinction between his earthly father (Joseph) and his heavenly Father (God the Father). Young Jesus wasn’t denied Joseph as his lawful father but as an adult he have the freedom to choose and he know that he “must be in [his] Father’s house.” Jesus knew that he is the Son of God. Mary and Joseph also knew Jesus was God’s Son, but they didn’t understand what his mission would involve. Jesus’ earthly parents had to learn and observe complex outworking of Jesus’ special identity and calling, even as he lived in their family.

Think about this: Mary didn’t completely understand her son, but she remembered these events and sought to find their meaning. When Jesus answered them, Mary and Joseph “didn’t understand what he meant. Then [Jesus] returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:50-51). Eventually Mary’ son, Jesus, would become her Saviour and she would understand. Mary, like us, need to grow (continuously) in our understanding of Jesus and His identity. Daily we must ask God to give us minds that seeks after His truth with eagerness and pleasure. Never stop searching for the truth. Always curious about the things of God. Read, study and obey God’s Word over and over again. Feed your spirit everyday with Jesus, the Bread from Heaven. Spiritually speaking, drink and continue to be filled with Jesus, the Living Water. Be satisfied in Him.

As you have grown, in what ways has your understanding of Jesus changed?

Life Application Study Bible Devotional: Daily Wisdom from the Life of Jesus (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2011)

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