“After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions.”
When our Master was only twelve years old, he was left behind by His family in the massive city of Jerusalem. His parents, presumably with a much larger extended family, had headed home to Nazareth without Him. It took them a day to realize their mistake, a day to travel back to the Holy City, and a day of looking around the city to find Him.
Notice where he was when their search finally ended: “in the temple courts”. Of all the places a smart and resourceful twelve-year-old child might go in a large city, He chose to be in the Temple of God. And what was He doing there? Not running and playing, not feeding the birds, not harassing the old priests. No, He was learning. He was listening and questioning. No one forced Him – His parents weren’t even there! He wanted to learn and to understand. He desired wisdom more than fun and more than adventure.
It’s hard to know what Jesus’ understanding of Himself and His mission was at that young age, but we can clearly see that He was wise and focused. What He didn’t understand He wanted to understand. Whether He knew it or not, those days spent in the Temple courts with the wise men of the nation were preparing Him for the days in which He would challenge them and with an even greater understanding than they had.
I remind you of this episode in the Master’s life, Disciple, because even at twelve years old He was showing us the way to full life in His kingdom. Value knowledge of God and His ways. Seek it more than entertainment or worldly goods. Seek it by listening and questioning. Expose yourself to the Word and the teachings of those who explain it. Poke and prod, ponder and wrestle. You’ll need all that you learn as you live out the mission your Father has gifted you to accomplish.
You live in an age of easily accessible information – so much of it is trivial and useless. You can choose, as a disciple, to zero in on knowledge that really matters in your quest to become like Jesus. This will take discipline and thoughtfulness, but what could be more worthwhile? Listening and questioning are the fundamentals of learning as a disciple, and doing these with other disciples allows for even greater growth and maturing. Be sure to utilize the gift of the church that your Father has given to you.
Whatever your habits have been in your purposeful learning under Jesus, you can begin today to start new ones. I encourage you to listen and question with eagerness as you live with your Master today. He will show you the benefits of doing so; He knows firsthand after all!
Learning what matters with you,