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Monthly Archives: August 2013

     Jesus offended the Pharisees also.  This group of priests and elders were among the leaders of Israel.  To them, true religion was too holy for everyday life.  Holiness meant being separate from others, and superior to them. 

     Instead of hiding away to show His holiness, Jesus mingled with people, helping those in need.  He showed that real religion is not only for special occasions.  In all times and places, He showed that He cared about others.  He would often place His own meal in the hands of a hungry person.  He took time to encourage and talk about God’s love for all people.

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     “It is our place to explain Scripture, and your place to accept what we say,” they claimed.  They were annoyed that He would not accept their authority.  When they could not change His mind, they complained to Joseph and Mary.  Again, Jesus would be in trouble.

     At a very young age, Jesus had begun to think for Himself.  Nothing, not even His love and respect for His parents, could keep Him from obeying God’s Word.  But the rabbis made His life miserable.  Even as a young adult, He learned to endure quietly and patiently.

     Jesus’ brothers ~ the sons of Joseph ~ agreed with the rabbis that traditions should be followed as if required by God.  When Jesus stubbornly obeyed the Scriptures only, it made them very angry.  Knowing that Jesus had never been formally educated, they were surprised at how well He answered the rabbis.

     These things greatly annoyed His brothers.  Being older than Jesus, they felt that He should obey them.  They decided that He thought He was better than they were.  In fact, they accused Him of thinking He was wiser and better than their teachers, priests, and rulers.  When they threatened and harassed Him, Jesus endured it quietly.

     Jesus was so gentle and quiet, the synagogue teachers assumed that He would be easily influenced.  They pushed Him to accept the traditions and rules handed down from rabbis of ages long past. 

     Jesus had a simple reply:  “show Me where it says so in the Scriptures.”  He would listen to anything from God’s Word, but He was not interested in human inventions.  Jesus seemed to know the Scriptures from beginning to end.  The rabbis knew that their traditions were not taught by Scripture.  They could see that Jesus understood spiritual matters better than they did.  Even so, they refused to be taught by a child.

 

     The life of a Jewish child was controlled by the rules of the rabbis.  Young Jews were taught strict laws by the synagogue teachers and they were expected to keep each one.  Jesus always reading the Scriptures, often explained, “this is what God says.”

     As He began to understand society around Him, He saw that its demands were in direct conflict with the teachings of God.  Most people had lost sight of God’s Word and were following traditions that meant nothing.  The services that were supposed to help them understand God brought them no help. no peace.  They did not know the freedom of truly serving God.

     Jesus had come to show what it means to worship God.  He wanted no part of mixing human tradition with God’s law of selfless love.  He did not attack or condemn the synagogue teachers; He just did not follow them.  When He was criticized for His own simple habits, He pointed to God’s Word to explain.

     Many feel spiritually refreshed when they attend church, but then they go back to feeling even more stressed or depressed than before.  But it is our very own fault, by separating ourselves from Jesus ~ by not remembering to pray, by not setting time aside for prayer and study ~ we shut ourselves from the eternal Source of peace and joy.

     It would be good for us to spend at least an hour every day thinking about the life of Jesus.  Especially the stories from the last week of His life.  The more we think about His great sacrifice for us.  The more confidence we will have in Him, and the more love we will feel.  The more we study and think and talk about Jesus, the more like Him we will become. 

     On the way home with just His parents, Jesus hoped to help them understand His mission and the suffering it would bring.  His mother would be with Him at the cross, and He wanted to help her be strong enough to endure it.  It would be much easier on her then  if she would only see now what the Scriptures said must happen.

     One day of neglect cost Joseph and Mary three days of anxious searching.  The very same thing happens to us, one day of gossiping, criticizing others, and neglecting prayer will separate us from Jesus.  And it may take many days to feel His peace in our hearts again.  We should be careful in our busy lives not to forget Jesus.

     When we become so caught up in everyday things that we don’t even think of Jesus, we separate ourselves from Him and His angels.  Angels cannot stay where Jesus is not wanted or is even missed.  This is why many who claim to be followers of Christ are discouraged most of the time. 

     On the way home to Nazareth that day, Jesus wanted, needed some quiet time to think about His mission.  With the Passover service, God called His people away from their everyday work to remind them of their deliverance from Egypt.  He wanted them to see that as the blood of the lamb saved them on the Passover night, so now the blood of their Messiah would save them from the evil of sin. 

     God wanted the services to lead His people to a prayerful study and meditation.  But in the excitement of travel and socializing with friends ~ most quickly forgot what they had seen and heard.

     His human parents were almost overwhelmed.  They had heard some of His discussion with the rabbis and were astonished by His words.  Somehow they had lost sight of who He really was and of their honor in raising Him.  For an entire day they had lost sight of the One they should not have forgotten for a moment.  And being human, when they finally found Him, they blamed Him for being lost.

     Jesus‘ answer to His mother showed for the first time that He understood His relationship to God.  For now, nothing changed, He returned home with them and worked for them as He had before.  The mystery of His mission stayed hidden in His heart as He waited patiently for the right time to begin His work.  For eighteen years after He knew that He was the Son of God, He honored His obligations at home in Nazareth as a son, a brother, a friend, and a citizen.

    

     Meanwhile, Joseph and Mary had finally panicked.  When the caravan stopped for the night, Jesus did not show up to help them.  They raced back to the city and kept searching.  By the next day, their search had led them to the temple.  There as they mingled with the other worshippers, a familiar voice caught their attention.  Only one voice could sound so serious and so full of joy ~ it had to be Jesus.

     “Why were you searching for Me?”  “Didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business?”  When they seemed confused, He pointed up toward heaven.  His face glowed with a wondrous light, divinity flashing through humanity.

     With the humility of a child, Jesus repeated words of Scripture, giving them meaning that the teachers had never imagined.  if they had accepted the truths He suggested that day, it would have sparked a new interest in spiritual things.  The whole nation would have been touched, and when Jesus began His ministry, many would have followed Him at once.

     In their pride, they would never admit that anyone could teach them, God reached out to them in the only way they would listen.  Without realizing it, their minds were open and the Holy Spirit spoke to their hearts.

     For the very first time they saw that the Messiah they expected was not the One promised by the prophecies.  Their dreams of power and glory for Israel were hard to give up.  They could not admit that they had misunderstood the Scriptures. 

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