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Daily Devotion for January 2, 2012
Ninth Day of Christmas
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
We may seek God by our intellect, but we only can find him with our heart.
Luke 2:41-51 (ESV)
The Boy Jesus in the Temple
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 about my Father’s business?" 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.
Notes on the Scripture
Today's scripture is the sum total of everything we know about Jesus during a period of roughly 28 years, the time between his infancy and his baptism. Outside the New Testament, there is almost no contemporary mention of Jesus at all. One Roman history makes passing mention of the execution of a troublemaker named "Jesus" in Judea; but during his lifetime, to the world outside his followers (and those who sought to arrest him), He was unknown.
Jesus simply was not very important while he was alive. He would never have made People magazine.
Even the massive rallies of people who flocked to hear him consisted of 3,000 or 5,000 people. If, as some suspect, these figures include only adult men, then we might put his great crowds at 10,000 -- still, an audience that Lady Gaga would consider disastrously small. Of course, comparatively, the population of the civilized world was much smaller; the Roman Colosseum, the greatest amphitheater in the world, held only 50,000, and most stadiums held perhaps 20,000. Jesus was, in short, a minor cult leader easily dismissed by the outside world.
The size of his following, though, was counterbalanced by his intense focus. Here we see him, at age 12, already understanding that He is the Son of God, already amazing grown educated rabbis with the power of his words.
The dilemma he faces is charming. Christ was human, and what's more, Jewish. He was obligated to honor his parents by the Fifth Commandment, and yet, he was obligated by his creation to go out into the world to teach and do miracles. But here it says that he went with his parents "and was submissive to them". And so he obeyed his parents while he was a minor and they, presumably, did not try to stop him from fulfilling his destiny when he became an adult.
So what do we make of the incident at the temple? Jesus, as the son of God, was filled with wisdom far beyond his years; and yet Jesus, the teenager, pulled a typical teenager stunt of wandering off and forgetting that his parents would be concerned about him.