We know very little about the childhood of Jesus. Like a camera shutter that flashes open and then shut, the Scriptures reveal only brief glimpses of this part of His life.
We read one such incident in Luke 2, where Jesus traveled to Jerusalem with his parents and took on his role as a man. After the Feast of the Passover, He decided to stay behind in the city. Once again, the camera lens opens and shuts. The Scriptures say Mary and Joseph “were unaware.”
You know the story as well as I do. Mary and Joseph returned to Jerusalem and spent three days looking for their son. I find this situation stressful, ironic and even comical. Can you imagine Mary, the mother of Jesus, praying that first prayer after she discovered her Son was nowhere to be found?
“Dear God, I don’t how to tell You this, but I’ve lost the Savior of the world.”
How do you continue that conversation?
When Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the temple courts, the Bible says He was “sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions” (Luke 2:46). This quick camera shot tells us that by the time Jesus reached the age of 12, He had already developed three things. First, he was “sitting among the teachers.” Jesus decided to remain in Jerusalem on His own to expose Himself to some of the greatest teachers of His day. Even as a young boy, He had a desire to learn “grownup stuff.” Today, most of us have underexposed our children to deep teaching and experiences. We don’t believe a 12-year-old child is capable of confronting or understanding the deep things of God.
I assure you that this is not the case. Last month, I took two 12-year-olds with me to the mission field. By the time we returned home, they were not two 12-year-old children. Both had personally led a large number of people to Christ. Both had given their testimony again and again as they stood on street corners and addressed hundreds. We expected them to take on adult responsibilities and perform adult tasks. They did.
As we reexamine the passage in Luke, the camera shutter opens and closes once again. We see that Jesus was “listening.” By the time He reached this point in his life, He had developed the skill of intentional listening. In fact, listening became a vital part of His ministry. He listened to the woman at the well. He saw a tax collector in a tree, went to his house and listened to him. He listened to the fears and concerns of his disciples. Above all, He knew how to listen to the voice of His Father.
I must confess that I need to become more like Jesus in this area. A friend was teasing me the other day, but his words held a thread of truth. He declared, “Walker will drive a thousand miles to hear himself.” As I write this I am praying for the Lord to help me become an intentional listener. Jesus was a listener who was . . . teachable.
The next click of the shutter reveals Jesus in the temple where he was “asking them questions.” More than 100 times in Scripture, Jesus asked wise questions to move hearts toward His Father.
“Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” (John 6:5). “But who do you say that I am?” (Matt 16:15). “Why are you so afraid?” (Mark 4:40). “What do you want Me to do for you?” (Mark 10:36). “Could you not keep watch for one hour?” (Mark 14:37). “Why were you looking for Me?” (Luke 2:49). “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do what I command?” (Luke 6:46).
You may not have picked up on the order of these events. First, Jesus surrounded himself with wisdom. Next, He listened to what the teachers had to say with the hope of understanding their lessons. Finally, He probed the truth by asking good questions. These qualities served Him the rest of his life—and serve as an incredible model for the rest of us.
Do you want to help your children increase in wisdom, stature and favor with God and men? Surround them with wisdom by having godly men and women invest in their lives. Teach them to listen with understanding by discussing what they learn at school, at church and wherever they go. And encourage them to ask questions that will help them understand.
Remember: When the shutter opens and closes to capture your children’s lives, you want it to reveal . . . Jesus.
Walker Moore is president of AweStar Ministries in Tulsa, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa 74147, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 800/AWESTAR (293-7827.