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  • Chad Werkhoven

Luke 2:41-52 - Patient Submission

Even the sinless Son of God was difficult to raise at times.

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Read Luke 2:41-52

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Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 104

Q. What is God’s will for you

in the fifth commandment?

A. That I honor, love, and be loyal to

my father and mother

and all those in authority over me;

that I obey and submit to them,

as is proper,

when they correct and punish me;

and also that I be patient

with their failings—

for through them God chooses

to rule us.



I've never 'lost' any of my children before, but there were prolonged times where I didn't exactly know where they were. It's a very disconcerting feeling to suddenly realize the gravity of the situation when I finally notice the house has been quieter than normal and it's been quite awhile since I've seen them (especially when mom will be back at any moment and will not be happy to find out her children are unaccounted for).

So I would imagine that Joseph and Mary would have gladly supplied Luke with hundreds of other anecdotes from Jesus' adolescent years besides this one which seems to picture them as incompetent parents who went an entire day before they realized they had no idea where their oldest child was, and then when they finally found him, "did not understand what he was saying to them (v50)."

Mary and Joseph are just as human as the rest of us, so their instinct was to blame everybody but themselves. They were probably pretty upset with these 'brilliant' temple scholars who let this twelve year old hang around for four days without any parental consent. These same parents who witnessed the miracles on Christmas morning firsthand are now pretty upset with the same boy the angels had sung about for "treating them like this (v48)."

At twelve years old, Jesus is only one year away from legally being considered an adult in this society. He's likely experiencing the same teenage angst common to boys his age, and He's just discovered His "Father's business (v49)," and He's completely fascinated by it. So Jesus likely wasn't too pleased to see mom and dad come storming into the lecture hall either (remember, it's not sinful to be upset).

Dig Deeper

If anything this little insight into Jesus' childhood is comforting, to know that all children - even the sinless Son of God - are difficult to raise at times, and than even the woman most highly favored by God (Luke 1:28) was flummoxed by maternal frustration. So if you ever have been or are now irritated by your kids, you're in good company.

But it's the way that both Jesus and Mary react to this situation that draws our attention today. Jesus, who's just discovered His purpose, talent and passion, humbly honors these parents He's suddenly outgrown. Luke captures the moment with a perfect word: Jesus was "obedient," which literally translated means Jesus put Himself under, or submitted Himself to His parents. In other words, Jesus remained anchored to them.

Mary doesn't stay angry for long either. She regains her perspective, and quietly "treasured all these things in her heart (v51)."

Because He honored His parents, even in their less than stellar moments, Jesus received the blessing His Father had promised long before through Moses, that "it may go well with" those who obey the fifth commandment (Deut. 5:16).

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who calls you into His house just as He did with His Son;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for your parents, and pray that you can submit to them even when you'd rather go your own way, just as Jesus did.



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - 1 John 1


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