I have a special place in my heart for twelve-year-olds. I spent 25 of my 37 years in public education in the middle school. I loved being a part of the chick struggling to get out of the shell, that awkward child/adult, learning how to fly on its own.
So when I read the passage in Luke 2 this morning about Jesus at the age of twelve, I felt drawn to this youngster. Fully human, he must have looked like any middle-schooler walking down the halls of my school, tripping over growing feet, with the energy of a child, wanting the sophistication of an adult. And like most twelve-year-olds, he assumed his parents knew what he was doing.
Let me be clear, Jesus did nothing wrong. There was no disobedience or blatant disregard of his parents wishes. Let’s face it. Parents leave their kids behind all the time, thinking the other parent has the child with him or her. Ask my sister and my brother-in-law. They left their infant son at church – twice – thinking the other had my nephew with them. Thank goodness they live only a couple miles from the church, unlike Mary and Joseph!
What I love about the pre-teen Jesus is his eagerness to talk about spiritual things, to read and discuss Scripture at such a young age. He was learning… and teaching. It’s the same relationship I had with so many twelve-year-olds over the years. Me helping them to learn at the same time they were teaching me. Yes, I love this boy Jesus.
I am reminded that our youth need to be grounded in Scripture, too. They need to be spending time in Bible believing churches where Jesus is proclaimed the only way to the Father. Jesus was not too young to have a heart eager to grow spiritually. Neither are our children.
I’m praying for twelve-year-olds today.