Vol. 4, No. 9
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Almost everyone has read or been taught about the time that Jesus as a boy went to Jerusalem. His parents left Jerusalem and had traveled a ways home before realizing that Jesus was not with them. They go back to Jerusalem and find him in the Temple. He is with the learned men of the Law asking them questions (Luke 2:41-52).
Jesus was twelve years old when this occurred. Jewish law stated that a young man must be thirteen to go through the Bar Mitzvah. This religious ceremony made him a formal member of the congregation and allowed him to join in the events in the Temple. But the law also allowed for the eleven and twelve year olds to be brought to observe the festivities. This allowed the boy to see what it was all about. The truly dedicated parents would bring promising young men at this age.
Many people have mistakenly believed that Jesus had miraculous knowledge as a boy. They believe that this is how he was able to be in the Temple with the learned men. But notice that Jesus was not teaching. He was asking questions and listening (Luke 2:46). The learned men were astonished at his understanding and answers. It does not say they were amazed at his teaching. Jesus does not begin teaching until after he receives the Holy Spirit at his baptism.
Also, we know that Jesus' first miracle was at the marriage in Cana. It was here that he turned the water into grape juice. If Jesus was miraculously teaching with knowledge and wisdom at the age of twelve, then the Bible is wrong to say that the event in Cana was his first miracle.
What the event in Jerusalem at the age of twelve demonstrates is that Jesus was a very intelligent young man who listened to and obeyed his parents. His parents were very devout in their faith and they taught it to their son. In Luke 2:40, we are told that Jesus grew strong in spirit and was filled with wisdom. How do we know that this does not mean full wisdom and knowledge from God in a miraculous way? Because in verses 51 & 52 we are told that Jesus goes back home with his parents and is subject to them and that he increased in wisdom. If he already had miraculous wisdom, how could he increase in wisdom?
There was one main criterion for a young man to be allowed to speak with the learned men in these special celebrations. The young man had to have a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures in the Hebrew language. Jesus' parents had been very diligent in teaching him the Scriptures, and Jesus was a diligent student. He applied himself in learning the Scriptures.
This should teach us that we should be serious in learning the Bible. Jesus knew that the Scriptures were given by the Father in heaven and he wanted to learn all he could. Do not underestimate how much you can learn. Jesus was not the only boy who ever learned a great deal, but he obviously was an outstanding student of the Scriptures. We are to follow his example.
Keep studying your Bible. Learn the wisdom of God. And if any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.
Have you ever been to a wedding? Did you notice that the man getting married had a man standing next to him? And did you notice that the woman getting married had a woman standing next to her? The man getting married is known as the groom. The man standing next to him is the best man or groomsman. The woman getting married is the bride. And the woman next to her is the bridesmaid. The best man and the bridesmaid are asked to stand next to the couple getting married because they are special friends or family members.
At a marriage in Judea, during Bible times, every marriage had two groomsmen, one for the bride and one for the groom. These individuals were also known as the "friends of the bridegroom."
Before the marriage, these "friends" acted as go-betweens for the couple. At the wedding, they presented gifts and waited upon the bride and the groom. They also made sure that the two remained chaste and pure virgins before the wedding. After the marriage, it was the responsibility of the friend of the bridegroom to help maintain proper terms between the couple. And even more importantly, we need to defend the good name of the bride against all imputations (false accusations).
Paul pictures himself as the "friend of the bridegroom" in 2 Corinthians 11:2-3, "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."
Paul had brought these people to Christ. The church in Corinth was the bride to Christ. And Paul not only felt the great responsibility to bring them to Christ but to continue to make sure that the church stayed in the right relationship with Christ. He knew that it was possible for the bride to leave the right relationship with Christ. This not only is true for each individual Christian but also for a whole congregation.
One of our responsibilities as Christians is to live the life of a Christian; another is to bring others to Christ; and another is to stay concerned for those we convert. If we see something that may hinder them from living the right life, we need to warn them. If we hear someone teaching something that is going to lead them away from Christ, then we need to warn them. Only by helping to ensure their purity to Christ can we honestly defend them against false accusations of impurity.
Study your Bible. Learn what God wants you to know and do. It is not only important for you but also for all of those who you will convert to Christ. All of us need to know how to stay chaste and pure in our relationship with Christ.