He's In The Temple

The sun cast its sharp rays down like heated daggers, making them bow their heads and wipe their brows as they walked. It was bright. She squinted as she picked her way across the rocky path. The journey home would take four days, maybe more. They timed their stops carefully, making sure there was water available and shelter from the sun.

The group was stopping up ahead -- time to rest and replenish her water supply. She looked around at the sweaty, tired faces. She hadn't seen her friend, Jesus, all day. He didn't seem to be with his parents, which was unusual. She wondered which part of the group he was traveling with.

But now she saw Mary and Joseph, worry etched on their foreheads, asking -- "have you seen our son?" "have you seen Jesus?"

"No...no, I haven't seen him all day. I haven't talked with him since before we left the city," she replied.

They dreaded the thought of retracing their steps, losing the company of friends and family, and adding another two days of walking to their cross-country trek. But if their son was missing....

They would do anything to find him.

So, after asking and asking and realizing that no one had seen him that day, they turned back to face the golden city and began walking, quickly this time, anxious to find the missing one.

The one they were to guard and protect. The one they were entrusted by God himself to raise.


They ran at times, stopping to rest and catch their breath. It was a very hot day and they mustn't use up their water too quickly. So they paced themselves, wiping tears, trying not to blame each other.

"Oh Joseph, how could I have gone so far without him?"

Finally, they neared the city gates. With renewed energy, they began asking, asking -- "have you seen a twelve-year-old boy?" "have you seen our son?" Nobody.

They are discouraged. Distraught.

So Mary and Joseph sit down in the street together, thinking over the past few days of Passover, trying to piece together something, anything, that might lead them to Jesus.

And all their memories lead to one place. They look at each other and mouth the words -- "He's in the temple". New hope in their steps, they hurry past vendors and beggars, race up the temple steps, then slow to show respect and to listen. And they hear his still-childlike voice in the distance. They hear his voice.

Following the sound, they soon find him, seated in front of the teachers of the temple, face upturned and radiant. They don't wait to hear the conversation, but barge in, spilling feelings of frustration and hurt.
“Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” Luke 2:48 NIV
And he turns to look at them, eyes wide, mind wiser for the last two days of learning. He sees them -- grasping, aching. Their faces all happy and sad. They reach out to him, seeking reunification. He speaks softly. "Didn't you know I would be here? Why search for me? I'm learning about my Father." {my own translation}

He doesn't run to them. His eyes speak maturity and growth. His body hesitates as if facing a difficult decision. He turns to thank the teachers. Then walks toward his parents. Clasping their hands, one on each side, he looks first at Joseph, then at Mary. "Let's go," he says.

And they walk down the temple steps, hand in hand, but worlds apart.

Jesus. Taking on humanity. Choosing to be WITH US. Again.