In our culture a 12 year old is a middle school child moving into adolescence. In the day of Jesus a 12 year old is preparing to enter into adulthood. At 12 Jesus was going through intense instruction in preparation for his Bar Mitzvah, translated, “Son of the Commandment” which would happen at 13. In this sense, it is no surprise that Jesus would be in conversation with “teachers.” They were amazed at his knowledge and his parents were “astonished” to see him talking in the temple.
Ultimately, Luke is telling us that Jesus is growing up just like we do. Luke is clear that he grew in wisdom and stature. In essence, Jesus matured as any person physically and emotionally matured. God became man.
We also are called to grow into maturity. The writer in Hebrews 6:1 calls the church to “leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity.” Paul writes in Ephesians 4:14, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves….” The call is to grow and we all struggle with what that means. We know mature people accept responsibility and become adults. In Christ, maturity means we can’t do it but need God to intervene on our behalf. We can’t do it on our own. Spiritual maturity is quite different from earthly maturity.
How is your spiritual maturity? Are you still drinking milk when you should be eating spiritual meat? We are called to grow just as Jesus did. Of course, He grows into a man and dies as the savior of the world.
Dear God, My deepest yearning is to be mature in my relationship with you. Pour your Holy Spirit into me and create a deep and rich faith. Thank you for such a gift of faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen