Today's family lesson is from Luke 2, and was inspired by a sermon I heard this morning. The text of Luke 2:41-52 (NRS) reads:
Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day's journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, "Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety." He said to them, "Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.
Jesus is twelve years old in this passage. Standing at the very gate of adolescence. What is one of the greatest needs for children as they enter this "in-between" period? It is to develop spiritual curiosity, thirst, and desperation'in that order. How will this be achieved?
1. Sitting. They will need to sit down, focus, and be willing to take time out of their schedules for spiritual things.
2. Listening. They then need to concentrate, to be humble and truly desire to learn.
3. Asking. As they interact with scriptural principles and become familiar with the Bible, they will undoubtedly have questions. (So will those who have been become Christians many years ago!) Questions are good. They seem to have helped Jesus come to terms with his identity, and with the purpose for which he had entered the world.
Sitting, listening, asking. That is the way to grow.
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