December 28, 2015 by eneubauer
On Sunday we celebrated the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and by inference the unique significance of all families. As I sat and listened to the scripture readings, I was struck by the reading from the Gospel of Luke 2:47.
The passage in its entirety, Luke 2: 41-52 is below. Let’s read.
 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.  And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom.  And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it,  but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances,  and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching 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.  And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.”  And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them.  And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.  And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:41-52 ESV)
Before we get to verse 47 and the particular focus of this blog I think it is important to note that, at the age of twelve Jesus returns to the temple with Mary and Joseph. Some scholars believe that the mention of Jesus’ age (vs. 42) indicates that it is likely to be His first time back to Jerusalem since the Presentation. Therefore, it is not a stretch to think that Jesus was especially observant of what He experienced at this great Passover feast. In addition, scripture reveals that at twelve He is growing in “wisdom and stature.” Finally, it is important to note that in this particular moment Jesus departs from (human) custom and stays behind in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening and asking questions (Lk. 2:46) .
Those who heard were amazed:
Verse 47, “And all who HEARD Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.” It is easy to imagine the surprise of those listening to the wisdom that emanated from Jesus. Under normal circumstances a twelve year old would not hold the attention of those gathered in the temple courts. Yet this twelve year old stuns and amazes His audience. Not just at the questions and answers He gave but at the humble way He delivered His message. Remember, scripture reminds us of the radical humility of Jesus. It states that Jesus (God incarnate) “emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil 2:6b-9 ESV). Wisdom and humility, Christ’s cornerstone even at the age of twelve.
Now, let me return to my main point. All who “HEARD” were amazed at what Jesus said (Vs. 47). The question I asked myself Sunday was, “Am I actually hearing Jesus?” When was the last time I heard and was amazed, honestly? Do I (you, we) stop and listen to Him? Are we searching for His voice in scripture, prayer, in the voice of a pastor / priest? When was the last time you silenced the phone, turned off the TV, put the iPad down and just listened for the still quiet voice of the Holy Spirit living inside of you? Because the scripture indicates in Luke 2:47 that all that HEARD were amazed at His understanding and answers.
Today, are you or someone you love searching for understanding or just need an answer to an important life question? All who HEARD Jesus were amazed! Maybe you have been praying for sometime now, a loved one is in trouble or in need of assistance yet no answer has yet to be found. All who HEARD Jesus were amazed!
Let me be honest – those who know me know that I love to talk. I am a great talker and I love to pray but I am not always the most attentive listener. Could it be that the answer we are all looking for isn’t that far away? Could it be that Jesus is looking to amaze us? Could it be that He has already sent the answer and provided a way to help but in our busyness we have yet to see what has already been provided?
Jesus is Calling: Are we listening?
These statements are not statements of blame but reminders for those following after Jesus on this pilgrim’s path that the other half of prayer or conversation is listening. Today, Listen for Jesus in the scripture. Listen for Him in the homily. Listen for Jesus in the voice of the priest, brother or nun. Listen for Jesus speaking to you in the silence of your own heart. He is here, within us, among us and around us. He wants to amaze. Are we ready to listen and in doing so be amazed? Remember, the lesson of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, who is God incarnate, is that He has particular and individual love for you and me.
The Art of Conversation:
Together, let’s calm the mind from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and take time to truly hear from God. For I know that He is speaking. They HEARD Him in the temple courts 2000 years ago and were amazed. He is waiting to amaze you. In closing, I commit to dedicate more of my holiday vacation to quiet my mind, to cultivate my listening skills and try my hardest to hear the very voice of God – and be amazed.
Know that I appreciate you and pray for you on a regular basis!