Stained glass window in balcony at my church
January 27, 2019 Lost Treasure Pastor Carol P. Taylor
New International Version (NIV)
Moral Benefits of Wisdom
2 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Luke 2:41-52 (NIV)
The Boy Jesus at the Temple
41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
NRSV "and in divine and human favor."
Sermon Series Meeting Jesus Up Close
JOKE Delivering a speech at a banquet on the night of her arrival in a large city, a visiting minister told several anecdotes she expected to repeat at a conference the next day.
Because she wanted to use the jokes again, she requested the reporters to omit them from any accounts they might turn in to their newspapers.
A reporter, in commenting on the speech, wrote: "The minister told a number of stories that cannot be published."
We’ve met Jesus in his early life, with stories (that can and have been published) of his birth, the 2 prophets Simeon and Anna proclaiming that the 8-day old infant was indeed the long-awaited messiah, the visit by the Magi, the escape to Egypt made by Mary & Joseph to protect Jesus. These Gospel lessons from Matthew and Luke told their listeners 2000 years ago and us today, that Jesus was God’s treasured Son, our savior, from the very beginning. Today we’re looking at the story in Luke’s Gospel of Jesus as an adolescent. We see a glimpse into Jesus’ family life, assuring that the family closely followed the customs of their day, regularly going from their home in Nazareth to Jerusalem for the special religious feasts!
In this story from the Gospel of Luke, we meet Jesus up close, partly through Mary and Joseph.
The Message Version
They Found Him in the Temple
41-45 Every year Jesus’ parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up as they always did for the Feast. When it was over and they left for home, the child Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents didn’t know it. Thinking he was somewhere in the company of pilgrims, they journeyed for a whole day and then began looking for him among relatives and neighbors. When they didn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem looking for him.
46-48 The next day they found him in the Temple seated among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. The teachers were all quite taken with him, impressed with the sharpness of his answers. But his parents were not impressed; they were upset and hurt.
His mother said, “Young man, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been half out of our minds looking for you.”
49-50 He said, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I had to be here, dealing with the things of my Father?” But they had no idea what he was talking about.
51-52 So he went back to Nazareth with them, and lived obediently with them. His mother held these things dearly, deep within herself. And Jesus matured, growing up in both body and spirit, blessed by both God and people.
The annual Passover festival was, and is, the most important of holidays for Jewish people. The Passover commemorates the escape from enslavement in Egypt. Going to Jerusalem for the Passover was one of the things that a devout Jewish family did every year if physically possible So we see from this story that Mary and Joseph followed their faith, raising Jesus in their traditions.
In Biblical times, travel could be a challenge. Ordinary people walked most places. And when making a lengthy trip, they traveled in groups.-extended families, neighbors. A trip like this, going to Jerusalem for Passover, would have had a lot of people going at the same time. Women and children traveled together, the men together. We can see that Mary and Joseph were not bad parents for losing him! Each would assume that Jesus was with the other part of the group. Mary perhaps thinking Jesus, a young man of 12, was traveling with the men. Joseph, possibly thinking Jesus still a kid at only 12, thought he was with the women and children, helping with younger kids. Families traveled during the daylight hours and made camp at night, so they didn’t discover Jesus missing until then.
So - the Passover festival was over. at the end of a day's travel towards home, they realized that Jesus was not with them at all. He was lost. So the next morning they hurried back. But not till the 3rd day, did they finally find him at the Temple! They find him talking with the rabbis. The rabbis, teachers of the Jewish faith, would welcome men to join them in the Temple courtyard. The rabbi would sit to teach, the men could stand and ask questions and discuss points of doctrine. So here is Jesus, 12 years old, sitting with the rabbis, discussing and answering! And they were all astonished at the depth of his knowledge.
The next piece is why scholars believe that Luke got this story right from Mary. We see her reaction is very much the parent of an adolescent!
“Young man, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been half out of our minds looking for you.”
He said, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I had to be here, dealing with the things of my Father?”
But they had no idea what he was talking about.
this story of Jesus’ life is the last mention of Joseph in the Gospels. Scholars believe that he died some time before Jesus began his ministry. Most likely Joseph was older than Mary. In this time, men followed their father’s trade and generally would marry when they were able to support a family. Women married soon after reaching child bearing age, so usually the husband was older than the wife. So, we know that Jesus grew up in a typical family. They were parents who were anxious about their child.
And after this, Luke states that “as Jesus grew up, he increased in wisdom and in favor with God and people” This shows that Jesus grew intellectually, spiritually, and socially. Jesus already showed great wisdom and it grew! And that he grew in favor -or as the MSG says, Blessed by God and people…. Luke said something very similar at the end of the story about Simeon and Anna with the infant Jesus, “...The child grew strong in body and wise in spirit. And the grace of God was on him.”
Luke is stating beyond any doubt that Jesus was indeed human and divine. The qualities of God’s perfect savior.
Hearing this story, most of us who are parents or spend lots of time with kids, may find ourselves thinking about it from Joseph or Mary’s perspective. As a mom I certainly could relate to Mary's feelings! Once of our sons walked home from kindergarten instead of to the sitter’s house, and the hour or so that we didn’t know where he was I was terrified! That awful lost feeling… It was…30 years ago and i remember it as if it were only weeks! I can only imagine how lost Mary and Joseph felt searching for 3 DAYS!! Their treasured son…
And their reactions were very much the parents of adolescent! How could you do this to us?! They seem to have forgotten-for the moment- the prophecies of 12 years earlier!
No doubt the business of raising a family, Joseph working his trade and by then training Jesus in carpentry, all the stuff of day-to-day life, just crowded out the amazing things they experienced early on.
Our lesson from Proverbs reminds us that we need to actively seek out God’s word and guidance. And when we do, it’s like finding a treasure! God’s wisdom and understanding will fill our hearts. But it doesn’t happen automatically. The text says
“if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding”
call out, and cry aloud…we can PRAY for God’s guidance and comprehension when we sit down for our personal devotion time. This is the reason I work on and promote devotional materials. I have been blessed using them and I pray that you will be too! The treasure of God’s guidance is why we begin and end meetings with prayer. It’s not a formality, we are recognizing God’s presence thru the Holy Spirit and we ask for that guidance. I often pray, “We commit this meeting to You”. We need to be deliberate, intentional. We need to keep making time for God. We need to really treasure God’s word and worship. it can be challenging! there can be any number of reasons we don’t spend time with God. but we find treasure when we do. We find comfort, and compassion.
We know that Mary and Joseph followed their traditions, but it seems that the day to day stresses overwhelmed some of their faith. That can happen to us too! They were very typical!
but Luke tells us at the end of the story, Mary ‘treasured all these things in her heart.” When life settled down, she was back home and took time to remember...she held these things dearly, deep within herself. She treasured this story, this terrifying story of her lost son, and his words, that spoke of His Father in heaven, not his earthly father...she treasured them deep within her very heart.
And I think I know why she told Luke about this. She remembered this treasured story years later, on another trip to Jerusalem for the Passover. Another morning when she had to go to look for Jesus, on the 3rd day. But this time the women were going to a borrowed tomb, to anoint his lifeless crucified body. What anguish must have been in her heart that morning.
But it's not the end of the story.
Because of course when the women went to the tomb, they found it empty!
Jesus had risen! The birth, death and resurrection is THE treasure. God’s gift to the world, God’s own treasured Son is our treasured Savior Jesus the Christ. Fully human, fully divine. Jesus brought the lost treasure of God’s mercy, grace and salvation for all, even if we feel as though we are lost! Let us share this incredible treasure with everyone we meet.