After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. (NIV)
Jesus was the Word which was with God in the beginning. He is the Second Person of the Trinity of God. He and the Father are One. The Bible says that nothing that has been made was made without Him. He is God. There’s no doubt that He is God. But even though He is God, we must never lose sight that He is God who came to Earth as a man. While on the Earth, He did not live like God. He lived like a human being from the time He was born to the time He died. Yes, He was born to a virgin and He rose from the dead, but He relinquished His divine power for His own purposes for the thirty-three years He walked the Earth.
If we forget this, it is so easy to forget or to diminish the importance of many of the things that Christ did. He prayed to the Father. He asked the Father for help. Why did Jesus need help from the Father if He and the Father were united completely as One? It was because Jesus was living as a human being experiencing this world just as we do. He needed help just as we need help. He called upon the Father and taught us to do the same.
One of these very ‘human’ moments where we see Jesus is at the age of 12. His parents, like good Jews, travelled to Jerusalem for the Passover each year. Jews were dictated by Mosaic law to travel to Jerusalem three times a year for the Feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Booths. The whole nation would return to Jerusalem and be there for extended periods of time during these religious festivals. On one occasion, we read about in the Book of Luke, Jesus’ parents and the large group they were travelling with left Jerusalem after the Passover. Because of the large group, it was assumed that Jesus was with them, but after the third day, they realized He was not with them and they hurried back to Jerusalem. They found Him in the temple, sitting among the teachers listening and asking questions. He was learning the law and history of the Jewish people.
If we forget that He relinquished all of His glory as God to come as the Messiah, then it would seem strange that the omniscient God would need or want to sit among human teachers to learn about the people He created and chosen as His own. The Bible teaches us that His experience as a man made Him our compassionate High Priest because He understands what we face in temptations. But He also stands as an example for us of how to overcome all of these temptations and live a life devoted to the Lord. He is a living example of how to live the life God has called us to, submitting to the will of the Father through the power and communion of the Holy Spirit. But the first ‘human’ thing we see Him doing as an example of how we can do the same is studying and learning from the teachers at the Temple.
There is so much of the life of Christ that we simply do not know, but the reason this episode of His life was included in Luke’s Gospel is to help us see that studying the Word of God and being taught by our teachers is an essential part of living a life pleasing to the Lord, a life that overcomes all temptation, a life of complete obedience to the Father, a life full of the power of the Holy Spirit.
His parents asked Jesus why He has stayed behind like this and He responds, “Didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business?” He was basically letting them know that He had to learn. He had to educate Himself. He knew the mission The Father had sent Him to accomplish and His ability to accomplish this task required He study and learn that He might know the Father’s business.
How important is studying the Word of God to you? How important is learning from teachers with a higher understanding than you? We can look at all of the habits we have and that we don’t have and quickly see where studying the Word of God and learning from teachers falls within our many priorities. If we want to live a life filled with the glory of God, the power of God, the victory of God, we must make it a priority to study the Word of God and learning from others who have reached heights in the Word we have not yet reached.