41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” 49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them. 51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
In this passage, we read that every year Mary and Joseph go to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, “as was their custom.” I am not sure if Jesus and the rest of the family joined them previously, but this year Jesus does. Today, these “customs” (or “traditions”) would be prayer, bible reading, giving and church attendance, etc. While sometimes it may seem we’re going through the motions as we do these “customs”, there’s something good to be said about them: they provide support. They become habits which help.
In this passage, I also notice how much Jesus enjoyed the relationship he has with His Heavenly Father. He loved learning and talking about him so much that he got caught up in conversation with others and lost track of time. Jesus seemed totally absorbed and energised by it that he was surprised that his parents didn’t think to check the temple first to find him but wasted three days searching for him elsewhere.
As I read this passage, I see how both customs and relationship go together. But the temptation for me can be to just focus on “doing” the customs. The danger is that if I allow these customs to take the place of my relationship with my Heavenly Father, I run dry.
Heavenly Father, may I not just rely on customs to know You, but choose to spend time soaking in Your presence too. Holy Spirit help me to stay a little longer.
Written by Gab Martin