Jesus With the Elders in the Temple

My sister posted a picture on Facebook last week, taken at a wrestling competition my nephew participated in. She titled it “Lucas ‘schooling’ the refs at pope tourney.”

The first thing I thought of when I saw the picture was the episode recorded in Luke’s Gospel as taking place when Jesus was twelve. Mary and Joseph, returning home after being in Jerusalem for Passover, discover Jesus is not in the caravan. They return to Jerusalem and, after searching for three days, “they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.” Luke tells us further that “all who heard him were astounded ad his understanding and his answers.”

What really happened during those three days Jesus was in the temple? Talking about the passage, someone recently commented to me, “They treated him like an adult, or at least that is the way it felt to him.” Were they teaching him? Learning from him? Humoring him? A little of both?

Whatever happened, it is a wonderful passage to pray with. (I had one of my deepest religious experiences praying with this passage when I did the Spiritual Exercises.) And for those for whom images are helpful, perhaps this one will prompt some reflection on the scene.

lucas with refs