|The Finding of the Savior in the Temple by William Holman Hunt - 1860|
TO CHEW ON: "And He said to them, 'Why did you seek Me? Did you know know that I must be about My Father's business?'" - Luke 2:49
Joseph Seeks Jesus
The annoyance of calling and getting no answer
soon changes to anxiety,
panic to heated words
“I thought you said he was with us.”
“Why didn’t you make sure?”
“You’re positive he’s not with Elizabeth
Zachariah and John?”
Mary and I leave the caravan din
of flickering fires and comforting supper smells
head back to Jerusalem with heavy, urgent steps
eyes sweeping hillsides and ditches.
At dark we stop in a wayside inn
where the night is a toss
of anxiety and self-recrimination:
After seeing him through everything
how could I lose him now?
Next morning in the city
we comb the markets, revisit inns
head back to relatives
“Have you seen our son
twelve, about so tall,
Two days like this and well into the third
exhausted Mary stumbles on the stones
I hold her sobbing, trembling form
and know we must go to pray.
The temple courtyard at dusk is deserted
but for a knot of rulers in deep discussion
Mary stops. “It’s his voice!”
Goes running over – “Jesus!
Why have you done this to us?”
He stands, steps away from them...
I, weak with relief am thinking
how can I put three days of anxiety
into words that won’t hurt,
when he says
so innocent and surprised:
“Why did you seek me? Did you not know
that I must be about my Father’s business?”
Now it is I who am lost.
© November 18, 2010 by Violet Nesdoly
This poem meditation expresses what strikes me most about this story—how Jesus and His mission affected His parents. I imagine Joseph felt a stab when Jesus said, in effect, You're not my real father. Just as Mary must have felt one earlier at hearing the prophetic words of Simeon about Jesus' future (Luke 2:34,35).
After this temple incident the 12-year-old Jesus bent to His earthly parents' wishes and it sounds like from this day on was a model child. But again in adulthood, He repudiated family ties for kingdom loyalties. He shrugged off His family's rights to Him when His mother and brothers tried to take Him home when His ministry had stirred up controversy (Mark 3:31-35). And He taught that discipleship loyalty superseded family claims (Luke 14:26).
What does this mean for us, now?
If we're young and have our lives before us, this may be our permission to follow the voice of Jesus first in making life's choices, even over parents, counselors etc.
For us who are parents, I see the words RELINQUISH, of children, grandchildren all over these passages.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, help me to be loyal to You first, above any person, and then to allow those in my life that same freedom. Amen.
"We put sensitive loyalty to relatives in the place of loyalty to Jesus Christ and Jesus has to take the last place. In a conflict of loyalty, obey Jesus Christ at all costs." ~ Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, September 27 reading.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.