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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.
There is an innocence of children that is too easy to write off as sentimental and sappy. Like every old grandma thinking that their college kid is an angel or the purity of an old-time children’s choir. It’s not that those kids are innocent, but that they haven’t learned evil yet. Sometimes there is a difference between innocence and naiveté and sometimes there isn’t.
The fact remains, kids are capable of incredible wisdom if they are given a chance to learn it. Kids can learn things when they are very young and still remember it when they are old enough to apply it or discern right and wrong about it. Ask any Sunday school teacher if kids can pick up on deep details of what they talk about and you’ll see. Kids can learn a lot more than we think!
Jesus was in His very early teens at this point. He was probably part of a big extended family so it would be easy to do the whole Home Alone bit and leave Him in Jerusalem. He was big enough to know better and to know how to keep up with His family without much care. Instead, He stayed
Getting close to a bunch of teachers is still the best way to learn and grow. If you want to get better at rock climbing, hang out with rock climbers. If you want to get to know the Bible better, hang out with a Bible study group. Asking questions, instead of making assumptions, is the fast-track to learn and grow more in your faith.
Jesus found a safe place to ask questions and let them have it. Before anyone was amazed at His answers and understanding, He asked a lot of questions. As we hang out with our friends, join together for church, meet as Bible study groups, let us ask and be asked a ton of questions in a safe place. As others ask and we humbly look for answers together, we’ll all grow into that place where people will be amazed at our understanding and answers too.