Sat, 29 December 2007
Following the Presentation Luke omits the flight into Egypt and focuses on Jesus' upbringing in Nazareth. He emphasizes that throughout this time "Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man".
The childhood of Jesus has serious Christological implications. The Gnostic Gospels show Jesus acting on a whim but the Scriptures attest that Christ did nothing in his life unless it was the will of His Father.
At age 12 Jesus entered the Temple on his own two feet. After his parents left the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. On the third day of searching Mary and Joseph 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". Though his actions may seem rebellious, they were not. "Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" Even at 12 Jesus was fully aware of His unique identity as the Son of God.
With Mary, we do well to pray through the childhood narrative of Luke, 'keeping all these things in our hearts.' Only after many prayerful readings will we begin to appreciate the life of God incarnate, the redeemer of every aspect of our humanity.