As we continue following the footsteps of Jesus we next see him in Luke 2:21-52 (Amplified) being brought to Jerusalem by his parents when he is eight days old in order to be circumcised and dedicated to the Lord according to the Law of Moses. While there, a man named Simeon, prompted by the Holy Spirit, takes Jesus in his arms and praises God for allowing him to see the Savior before he dies, the one who would be a Light to the Gentiles and bring “praise and honor and glory” to Israel. On the heels of that, the prophetess Anna, a widow for 84 years who never left the temple, also begins thanking God and talking about Jesus as the “redemption of Jerusalem.” By these two prophets, God makes it very clear that His mercy would extend to Jews and Gentiles both. And this on top of all the other wonderful revelations we’ve had about Jesus prior to His conception and at the time of His birth. So, before Jesus even utters one word, God has already openly and powerfully declared to the world Who He is and what His mission would be.
It’s interesting that our next encounter with Jesus is when he’s twelve years old and in Jerusalem with his family for the Feast of Passover, the time when Jews celebrate their deliverance from Egypt (a symbol of the world and sin) after they had applied the blood of a spotless lamb to their doorpost and lintels in Goshen so that the angel of death would pass over them on the way to slay all the first born in the land (Exodus 12:1-41). Numbers in the Bible mean something so we need to pay attention to the fact that it points out that Jesus was twelve. That Greek word for twelve is dodeka, and literally means two and ten, and gives us a wonderful picture. While the number two speaks of the duality of Jesus as 100% God and 100% man, the number ten speaks of Divine order, perfection, nothing wanting, and the law; thus illustrating that Jesus, the God-Man, was to be God the Father’s perfect fulfillment of the law and answer to the sin problem. As the spotless lamb chosen “from the foundation of the world,” Jesus’s blood is to be applied to the doorposts and lintels of our hearts that we, too, can be delivered from sin, and pass from spiritual death into eternal life
But what else can we glean from this story? Well, when the feast is over the family begins their return trip to Nazareth thinking Jesus is somewhere among the caravan. After they discovered He isn’t, they return to Jerusalem and find Him in the temple, listening to and questioning the teachers and astonishing them with His “intelligence and understanding and His replies.” When His parents confront Him, He answers, “How is it that you had to look for Me? Did you not see and know that it is necessary as a duty for Me to be in My Father’s house and occupied about My Father’s business?”
At twelve it is very clear Jesus is so exceptional that He dazzles the rabbis in the temple. It is also obvious that He not only knows who He is, but knows He’s on assignment from His Father, God. Yet knowing all this, Luke goes on to say that Jesus then returns with his parents to Nazareth and is “habitually obedient to them.”
Think of that! Jesus—whom the angels had already declared as God, Savior, King, Creator, then two prophets further proclaim Him as Light to the Gentiles and redeemer of Jerusalem/Israel—shows up in the temple at Passover, the very Lamb of God, but a lamb not yet ready to be sacrificed. And after blowing the minds of the learned rabbis, He returns home to a small inconsequential town where He learns carpentry and is “habitually obedient” to his parents. And while there, verse 52 tells us that “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
Two things amaze me. One is how much God revealed about Jesus well before Jesus began His earthly ministry, and how detailed these revelations are. God certainly wasn’t trying to keep it a secret! The second is that God would endure the obscurity of a backwater town; would labor in meekness for and in habitual obedience to beings (no matter how wonderful) He Himself created. It all shows how much God wants us to know and understand who Jesus is, and how wonderful God is, too, for He did not think it abhorrent to walk and work among us; and in essence show us how to live.
Until next time,