Twelve Days And Counting


Because I’m counting down to Christmas, I’m taking each of these numbers and running with them. And today we’re at Twelve.

What a significant number in Scripture. Twelve tribes of Israel, twelve disciples, and Jesus was twelve when he stayed in Jerusalem discussing Scripture in the temple.

Twelve, and He had an overriding desire to be in His Father’s house.

Ah, some may be tempted to think, that was the God side of Him. Well, no, Jesus wasn’t divided, half Man and half God. He was all human as much as He was all God. He got hungry, tired, sad, and tempted. He had things He liked and probably people He preferred. As a twelve-year-old boy, He would have had the proclivities of His age. But He, above all else, wanted to be in the temple, talking theology.

We have a good many adults today — Christians — who don’t want to spend any more time in God’s house than they have to. Some clock watch on Sunday morning and get quite restless, maybe even irate if the pastor “runs late.” I remember my own feelings of irritation as a kid when Christmas would fall on a Sunday and we would honor our weekly habit of assembling together with other believers rather than our yearly tradition of hanging out opening presents and having a special breakfast.

I wasn’t so much interested in my Father’s house in those days. I was pretty much interested in ME, ME, and ME. Sadly, I grew up in the ME generation, so change hasn’t come easily. What’s more, I see it all around me.

One mother says her child, admittedly young, can’t possibly understand at such an early age what it means to be a Christian. A youth group designs their evening get togethers around games and social activities because teens can’t possibly be captivated by spiritual things. Society expects the young to behave foolishly, promiscuously, without focus or discipline, because someone “normal” can’t possibly be pure and other-centered and interested in spiritual matters more than fame and glory.

Well, huh! Looking at Jesus as a twelve year old should blow up those ideas of what a young person can or can’t care about. The fact is, like all of us, twelve year olds want a purpose for being. They want to be significant. They want to be important. Instead, our society tells them pretty much all they’re good for is goofing around.

And you know, twelve year olds will take it, if that’s what the adults expect. After all, who are they to tell us we’re wrong. They don’t even know themselves that we’re wrong. They don’t have enough experience to know that they can fall in love with God so much that they will eagerly be in His house, learning, asking questions, growing in grace and the knowledge of their Lord and Savior.

The Bible doesn’t have a lot of stories about young people. I tend to think that’s because there was no “adolescence” in those days. Children were dependent upon their parents, but they were learning a trade or learning to run a home. Then they graduated to their own family, their own jobs. None of this limbo we put teens through these days. But there are a few places in the Bible that refer to a “lad.”

One such offered Jesus his lunch. What child will have five barley loaves and two fishes for lunch? Isn’t that a lot of food for a five year old, or even a ten year old? And we have no mention of his family. If he was with his parents and they had prepared him a lunch, wouldn’t they most likely have had lunches too? So it would appear that he was there in his own, with the crowd, listening to Jesus teach in this isolated place. A youth, eager to hear Jesus.

It’s not unheard of today, but probably we’re more shocked than expectant. Why shouldn’t God’s children, all of us, the young and the old, want to be in His house, spending time with Him, being about what He’s about, learning, growing in grace and the knowledge of God?

Published in: on December 13, 2011 at 6:00 pm  Comments (4)  
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