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Jesus saw the Temple as “his Father’s house”

September 22, 2023

Daily Scripture

Luke 2:41-49

41 Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. 42 When he was 12 years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to their custom. 43 After the festival was over, they were returning home, but the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t know it. 44 Supposing that he was among their band of travelers, they journeyed on for a full day while looking for him among their family and friends. 45 When they didn’t find Jesus, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple. He was sitting among the teachers, listening to them and putting questions to them. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed by his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were shocked.
His mother said, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Listen! Your father and I have been worried. We’ve been looking for you!”
49 Jesus replied, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that it was necessary for me to be in my Father’s house?”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

This week’s GPS focuses on the Bible reasons for Resurrection’s current “Generation to Generation” campaign. For more information about the campaign, click here.

Jesus’ parents, understandably, experienced profound alarm when their 12-year-old son was missing as they traveled home after his first Passover. But when they found him, he didn’t seem worried. In fact, he seemed quite at home in the Temple (a formidable building Herod the Great had enlarged and decorated). Though he continued to respect and honor his earthly parents, he called the Temple “my Father’s house,” and said it was “necessary” for him to be there.

  • As far as we know, Jesus had not been in Jerusalem since he was an infant. Yet he said it was “necessary” for him to be in the Temple and called that his Father’s house. In what ways do you find yourself drawn to join others of God’s people in praise and prayer before God? To what extent do you feel “at home” in the sacred spaces your church provides for God’s use?
  • “‘Your father and I’, says Mary, ‘have been looking for you.’ ‘No,’ replies Jesus, ‘I have been busying myself in my father’s work’…. We may want to reflect on whether we have taken Jesus himself for granted; if Mary and Joseph could do it, there is every reason to suppose that we can too. We must be prepared to hunt for him, to search for him in prayer, in the scriptures, in the sacraments, and not to give up until we find him again.” * When has going to a space focused on Jesus’ worship and service helped you to find him again?

Heavenly Father, I am grateful that Jesus showed me that your business is the best business to be about. Guide me to accomplish your purpose for me this day. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Leah Swank-Miller

Leah Swank-Miller

Leah Swank-Miller is Director of Student Ministries at Resurrection Overland Park. A Kansas native, she has been a professional actress for nearly two decades, and she loves to see the vastness of God’s creation through theatre and the arts. Leah is pursuing an M.Div. from Saint Paul School of Theology. Leah, Brian, and their two children love to play tennis, golf, soccer, and board games.

I lost my daughter at a Royals game when she was only five. We were playing at the kid zone just across from the fountains when I suddenly heard the crack of a bat and fans cheering. I knew Salvador Perez, my favorite player, was up to the plate and I instinctively ran to the fountains just in time to see the ball make a splash and the crowd go wild. HOME RUN! It was in the 8th inning, tying up the score. I came back to the playground, and in the 60 seconds it took for me to leave and come back, my 5-year-old daughter left the playground looking for me and headed towards our seats on the other side of the stadium. Frantic, I ran towards a security worker, and after relaying back and forth on the walkie-talkies, they located her. She had approached a security person to help find her seat. When they walked her back to me and we reunited, I was overcome with so many emotions. My mind raced with all the scenarios of what could have happened, and tears flooded out in response to the mercy and blessing of having my daughter back in my arms. I’ll never forget that feeling or that scary moment.

When I read this story of Mary, realizing Jesus was not with them and returning to find him learning at the temple, I wondered what flooded her mind. I only had to wait and fret for about 5–10 minutes. Mary and Joseph looked for three days! What agony?! And upon finding him in the Temple, she asks, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Listen! Your father and I have been worried. We’ve been looking for you!” What a reaction! It’s full of questions and finding blame. I feel like I can relate. While I didn’t immediately respond to my daughter this way, as the night went on, I found myself quizzing her about why she left the playground without me. And while I was using it as a teaching moment for both of us, what I was genuinely struggling with was placing the blame. I was rationalizing why it was okay for me to leave the area but not her.

I do this with God when I leave for an extended time from my dedicated quiet time, prayers, or study time with God. I walk away (not that God ever leaves us), and in my walking away from communicating with God, I get angry if I feel lost or disconnected from God. I wonder where God has gone when it is I who have left the conversation. I wonder why I can’t feel God’s presence with me when I don’t search for him in times of prayer or dedicated spaces of worship. I take God for granted, and I expect God to show up when I need something. I want to walk back into that quiet time with God. I want to find God’s spirit in a nature walk, or the words sung in praise, prayer offered during service, or small groups with friends and have Jesus wrap me up in his arms while tears flood my eyes as I again feel the combination of mercy and blessing in being reunited.

I think I’ll start right now with God, and this time, there are no distractions to pull me away, not even a Salvy home run.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* N. T. Wright, Luke for Everyone (New Testament for Everyone) (p. 29-30). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.