Way to go! We’re one week (and a day, leap year you know) into our New Testament reading plan!* If you have not started, you’ve got plenty of time to catch-up. That’s one reason we don’t have any readings on the weekends, to let you catch-up whenever you might fall behind due to life, it happens.
At the start of Luke 2:39-52 we see Jesus as an 8-year old Jewish baby, and by verse 41, he is a 12-year old young man.
Jesus was presented at the temple, dedicated to the Lord, and circumcised 8 days after his birth. This show us that Joseph and Mary were devout Jews. They were not “Easter and Christmas” saints. ;^) Jesus was raised to observe and respect the Bible and God’s commandments. Circumcision is an acknowledgment of the promise made to Abraham and to his descendants (a promise all we in Christ can now claim). This rite was a symbolic representation and a commitment of your parents to raise you as a child of the covenant until you became your own man and decided to follow the Lord.
In Jewish custom, you became your own man at 12-years old. Isn’t our society different today? I know 30-year olds who aren’t yet grown men. Even today, 12 is the age of a Bar Mitzvah. This is a word in Aramaic, the language the Jewish people picked up in Babylon while they were in captivity. If you’re interested in this time in Israel’s history, come this Sunday night to Sunday Night Worship at 5:30pm.
Bar means “Son” (Bat is “Daughter”) and Mitzvah means “law” or “commandment.” So, you become a “Son of the Commandments” at age 12. This is the “age of accountability” in Jesus’ world whereby he would decide for himself to follow the Lord or go his own way. Obviously, Jesus followed his Father (both earthly and heavenly). He would have been the one to lead the family meal at the day of atonement, and he would be expected to be responsible for himself and his actions from this point forward.
So how does Jesus show he is a man? By doing what he came to do, tell the truth to God’s People. He was in the temple leading the leaders and showing great maturity beyond his years. He astounded the Jewish scholars. In the Jewish tradition (and in some cases it’s true today) the real trick is the questions you ask (all the answers are on the internet anyway). Jesus asked the kind of questions that really made the Temple Leaders think, and he would be doing that the rest of his life. They were “amazed” by him, and so should we be.
8 year old Jesus was a promise, 12 year old Jesus was amazing, 30 year old Jesus gives us hope, and Jesus today gives us all we need. There’s no one like him, nor will there ever be. He is worthy of our praise!
*Reading the NT in 2016 plan can be found here