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Luke 2:8-20

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

Luke 2:8-20

Dear God, the things we always miss in the telling of this story is the “why.” Why did you have the angels appear to the shepherds? I have a theory, and it’s only a theory. In my mind, much like Hagar after she ran away from Sarai got an angel visit and she called you “the God he sees me” (Genesis 16:13), Mary and Joseph were in a terrible spot. They had agreed to follow your requests and be the parents of this baby, but now they found themselves alone without family, in a stable with their new baby. Was this really your plan? Were their previous visions of angels just weird dreams? Was there any part of Jospeh that was once again doubting Mary’s story?

Then these men show up and tell everyone their story. It was not only remarkable, but it contained a few things:

  • Third-party verification of what Joseph and Mary had each heard separately.
  • Affirmation of who this child was.
  • The knowledge that you knew exactly where they were in that moment (a stable) and that was okay.

So now Mary and Joseph have their affirmation. And not only for the moment, but for the future as well: “Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” She thought about them when the wise men showed up. She thought abut them when they went to Egypt. She thought about them when they lost Jesus 12 years later. She probably thought about them when she doubted Jesus’s sanity. This was a huge gift for her.

So why these guys? Well, maybe I’ll talk a bout that tomorrow. For now, let me just sit with the idea that you see me, you love me, and you send me affirmations I probably sometimes miss. You are so good. I’m sorry for how I fail. I really wish I was better for you, for my wife, for my children, and for everyone around me. Help me to be better.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2020 in Luke

 

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Mothers of the Bible — Mary, the Mother of Jesus (Part 12)

After three days, they found him in the temple sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all those who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” “Why were you searching for me?” he asked them. “Didn’t you know that it was necessary for me to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them. His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.
Luke 2:46-52

Dear God, just this first sentence makes me think about those times when I was so mad at my child when they were little and, after I’d really built up my anger towards them and how I was going to really get onto them when I saw them, I would find them, hear their explanation, and realize that they hadn’t really done anything wrong at all, but, instead, had done their best to do the right thing. I can only imagine how Mary and Joseph were feeling as they searched Jerusalem for three days. I wonder where they went for those three days. What was the first place they looked? The second place? It took three days (coincidence?) to find him in the temple. I wonder why that wasn’t closer to the top of their list.

So they find him and they are probably ready to let him have it. How do I know? Because we think this account is being told to Luke by Mary and she remembers herself saying, “Son, why have you treated us like this?” Forget the idea of being grateful he was alive. She was just angry at him. She might have been telling herself (and Joseph) that if she found him alive she was going to kill him. How could he do this to her (them)?!?

To be clear, I don’t blame Mary for this and I don’t think Jesus did either. He explained himself fairly innocently, but he also learned–as most teenagers need to learn–that his actions impacted the lives of others as well. Jesus still needed some parenting here too. He was still piecing together who he was and how he should proceed.

Father, my children are grown now and finding their own way, but as long as I’m here I think you’ll have some role for me to play in their lives. It might be diminishing. It might be changing. It might be to simply offer at least one source of unconditional love in their lives–one safe place. If that’s what you have for me, so be it. And also help me to be the son you need me to be for my parents and my wife’s father. Help me to adequately express my love for them and know how to receive from them the things you need me to have.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
 

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Mothers of the Bible — Mary, the Mother of Jesus (Part 11)

Every year his parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. When he was twelve years old, they went up according to the custom of the festival. After those days were over, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming he was in the traveling party, they went a day’s journey. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.
Luke 2:41-45

Dear God, the last time I went through this story, focusing on Joseph’s perspective, I stopped here–before they found Jesus–so I thought I would stop here for Mary too. He was a good kid so they made a huge assumption. They just assumed he was with their traveling party. Why wouldn’t he be? He always did what he was supposed to do. But the they figured out he wasn’t there. Oh no! What happened?!?

I would bet that it never occurred to her that Jesus would have not been with them voluntarily. That would have apparently been very out of character for him. No, he must have either been taken or hurt and couldn’t get to them. A woman that fled to Egypt only to learn that all of the boys under two years old back in Bethlehem were killed after they left because someone was trying to kill her son had now lost that boy. Where was he?!?

I wonder if she and Joseph blamed each other as they went back to Jerusalem. Maybe they each blamed themselves. Maybe Mary got all of the blame since she was the mom and moms were in charge of children back then. Either way, I’ll bet there was a lot of fear as they went along…and a lot of silence.

I’ve blamed myself for a lot of things with my children through the years. And I’ll confess that I’ve blamed my wife for things too. And she has, in turn, blamed me for some things. How can you not? We all make mistakes and we all deserve some blame. In this case, I think Mary and Joseph both fell asleep at the wheel because they had grown to trust Jesus so much. But he still needed some guidance and parenting. He was trying to figure things out and he needed their help.

Father, help me to be at peace with the mistakes I have made and the mistakes my wife has made. Help me to forgive myself for anything for which I still feel shame. Help me to forgive my wife for any resentments I still have towards her. As I search my thoughts, I can’t think of any, but I’m sure they are there. And help me to stay alert and vigilant as I continue to be a father my adult children. Help me to not miss what you still need them to have from me.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
 

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Mothers of the Bible — Mary, the Mother of Jesus (Part 10)

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, because those who intended to kill the child are dead.” So he got up, took the child and his mother, and entered the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned in a dream, he withdrew to the region of Galilee. Then he went and settled in a town called Nazareth to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.
Matthew 2:19-23

Dear God, was this the dream Mary had been waiting for? Was she excited about going home or nervous? Probably both. I’m sure she was glad to get back to Israel but nervous that 1.) she would have to reckon with family and friends who might judge for her having a child older than her marriage and 2.) being back in the land where her son might be in danger. But still, she was going home.

I remember back in 2005 when we were trying to decide what to do about my work. The kids were nine and six years old, and we lived in Waco, Texas. I was up for jobs in Waco, Tyler, and Grand Rapids. I really wanted that Grand Rapids job. I remember wondering at the time what each path held for my children. What friends would they have in each city? Church experience? In some ways, I thought more about them than I thought about myself–at least, that’s how I remember it. How would this impact them? As it turned out, our path surprisingly saw us move closer to both my wife’s and my families of origin. I went from being almost 200 miles from my parents to 45 miles, and my wife when from being a difficult 100 miles to an easier 80 miles. But even with the benefit of hindsight, I couldn’t tell you if this was the right path for our children or not. Fifteen years later, it seems to have been the right path for me. I guess what I’ve done is come to a place where I have simply turned their paths over to you and trusted that you are leading them exactly where you need them to be regardless of whether or not I can see your plan with my own eyes.

Father, I’m sure there was a lot on Mary’s mind as they traveled back to Israel. At least, I suppose, they got some specific instructions from the angel on where to go. I hope that was a comfort to her and Joseph. I’m grateful for how you’ve comforted me over the years too. Parenting is hard, and worrying about your children is hard. But being in your presence brings me peace. Thank you for your presence.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2020 in Matthew, Mothers of the Bible

 

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Mothers of the Bible — Mary, Mother of Jesus (Part 9)

After they were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Get up! Take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night, and escaped to Egypt. He stayed there until Herod’s death, so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled: Out of Egypt I called my Son.
Matthew 2:13-15

Dear God, other than Simeon’s prophecy at the temple, I think this might be Mary’s first inkling that there could be scary parts of being Jesus’s mother. What was that conversation between her and Joseph like?

Joseph: Mary! Mary, wake up!

Mary: What? What is it?

Joseph: We have to go.

Mary: What do you mean, “We have to go”? Go where?

Joseph: Egypt.

Mary: Egypt?!? What are you talking about? Can’t we talking about this in the morning?

Joseph: No. The angel said we have to go immediately.

Mary: You saw an angel?

Joseph: Yes, the angel came to me like he did before and told me, “Get up! Take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to search for the child to kill him.”

Mary: What?!? Are you sure that’s what he said?

Joseph: As sure as I was when he visited me last time and told me to marry you.

Mary: Okay, let’s go!

What was that trip like? Was it frantic? Did they finance it with the gold from the wise men? I wonder what plans they had for their lives that they now had to scrap to follow the angel’s instructions. Had she made friends? Had he hit his stride with his work? Were they planning on raising Jesus in Bethlehem?

Your call to them to raise Jesus was a call to a difficult life. I like to joke that I think Noah got one of the worst deals in the Bible because of the work he had to go through and it would probably have been easier to just die in the flood, but Mary and Joseph had some real obstacles of their own. It feels like their lives were all about sacrificing to fulfill this call.

Then they probably heard about this after they arrived in Egypt:

Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance.
Matthew 2:16

Survivors remorse? Guilt over their son’s existence having incited Herod into murdering those children? The anguish on behalf of all of those parents? Relief that they were safe in Egypt? I’m sure Mary had all of these things. I wonder how this whole event changed how protective she was of Jesus for the rest of his life.

Father, parenting can be scary. You can call us to sacrifice everything for the good of our children. Even when they are adults, their good can outweigh our own. And as we age into the end of our years, we need to consider our our own ending lives will impact them and die to ourselves for their benefit. So show me at any given moment what you are calling me to do for my children. Give me great discernment between what you need them to have from me and what you don’t need them to have from me. And everything you do for them or for me, make it something that is really for you and your glory, whatever it might cost me (and help me to be willing and ready to live up to those last words I just prayed).

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
 

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Mothers of the Bible — Mary, Mother of Jesus (Part 7)

There was also a prophetess, Anna, a daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well along in years, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and was a widow for eighty-four years. She did not leave the temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayers. At that very moment, she came up and began to thank God and to speak about him to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
Luke 2:36-38

Dear God, I don’t know that I had ever done the math, but Anna had to have been 105 or so. I mean, these are Genesis years. These are A.D. years. I wonder what it was like for Mary to have Simeon come up to her and give his prophecy and then see this woman, who was obviously well-known to everyone since she had been at the temple for 84 years, start talking to others about her son. I wonder if Mary had ever seen Anna in past trips to Jerusalem as a girl. And here she was now, with a unique child of her own, and Anna seemed to already know all about it. Again, what an amazing set of affirmations you gave to her (and Joseph).

It doesn’t relate to me as a parent, but I am grateful for the affirmations you’ve been giving to me as a leader at my work lately. This is a tricky time. I’m trying to keep people (staff and patients) safe, serve as many as possible, and ensure there are resources available for us to keep doing the work. And so far you have given me some great affirmations in all areas. So far, our entire staff and seemingly all of our patients have been safe from the pandemic, we have found a way to meet a lot of needs and are even brainstorming ways to meet more, and donors are being generous in their support of our work. It’s quite remarkable. The scary thing is that I can see that if I weren’t spending time in prayer with you I would probably take all of this for granted. I would miss you in all of this.

Father, I take these affirmations in my work and apply them to my parenting as well. I do see good signs of your hand in my children’s lives. I see your hand in my marriage. I see your hand all over the place. No, things aren’t turning out like I would have thought (or thought I wanted), but I have faith that they are turning out just as you need them to. So I give that to you. I give you all the freedom you need to do whatever you feel is right in my life. For your glory, Lord, not mine.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2020 in Luke, Mothers of the Bible

 

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Mothers of the Bible — Mary, Mother of Jesus (Part 6)

When the eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus —the name given by the angel before he was conceived. And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were finished, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every firstborn male will be dedicated to the Lord ) and to offer a sacrifice (according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons ). There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s consolation, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, he entered the temple. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him up in his arms, praised God, and said, Now, Master, you can dismiss your servant in peace, as you promised. For my eyes have seen your salvation. You have prepared it in the presence of all peoples— a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to your people Israel. His father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and told his mother Mary, “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed — and a sword will pierce your own soul—that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Luke 2:21-35

I want to focus on two things about this story.

  • Mary and Joseph were amazed at what Simeon said about Jesus.

I would imagine that this kind of fit the narrative that had been developing over the last year. Perhaps this stuff about Gentiles was new. But glory to Israel–sure. This was going to be special. I can just imagine Mary and Joseph making eye contact and wordlessly saying, “Can you believe this?!?”

But then we get his prophecy to Mary, which brings me to my second point:

  • “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel” [Okay, we can still work with this. I can see how this could be part of his destiny] “and to be a sign that will be opposed” [Excuse me. What?] “and a sword will pierce your own soul” [Hold it. What do you mean? This isn’t funny.] “that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” [How does that fit into all of this?]

This is obviously one of the prophecies that Mary remembered about Jesus too. And she decided to tell Luke about it as well. I just went back and looked to be sure, but this is the first time either Mary or Joseph have gotten an inkling that this son of theirs will live a less than glorious life. Even Zechariah didn’t get a warning from his angel visit about John the Baptist’s difficult path. It shows just how much Simeon was in tune with your Holy Spirit that his mind was open enough that he could see what others weren’t able to see yet. A real Messiah will not just rule superficially. He will rule in people’s hearts (“…that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”).

For Mary, this must have just been a whirlwind. We will look at her visit with Anna tomorrow. She’s getting affirmations all over the place, but she’s also being given pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. Not so that she will know the future, but so that when the future comes 30 years later she will have these words to hold on to. She will be able to have faith while her soul is pierced.

Father, thank you that you don’t tell us too much, but you just reveal yourself to us in the moment. Help me to embrace that concept. As we move through the COVID-19 pandemic day by day, I want to be patient and respond to each moment without having to feel the pressure of what I think I should be doing. I just want to know what you want me to do.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2020 in Luke, Mothers of the Bible

 

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Mothers of the Bible — Mary, Mother of Jesus (Part 4)

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.
Luke 2:1-5

Dear God, I think we tend to skip past this part of the story and get to the birth too quickly. Several years ago, there was a movie called The Nativity. It was a well-done movie that showed the experiences of Mary and Joseph as they led up to the birth of Jesus. I think the movie made the common mistake of showing that Mary went into labor as they rode into Bethlehem. That’s not what verse 6 says at all, but 90% of the movie was spent looking at the time between Gabriel’s first visit and Jesus’s birth.

In the case of this passage, I want to just spend some time thinking about Mary and Joseph traveling together and spending alone time together, all for the first time. I don’t know how much they knew each other before they were engaged, but this certainly accelerated and changed any type of courtship and newlywed traditions customary for the time. What must their conversations have been like? How did they plan for this new reality? How did they dream? Did they allow themselves to “suppose” about Jesus’s life and who he would be? Did they talk about how afraid they were when the met Gabriel? Did they talk about Elizabeth and Zechariah and Mary’s experience with them? Did Joseph admit to her that he was planning to divorce her quietly before Gabriel told him not to? Did they just hold onto each other because they were the only ones they had in this strange town? I would imagine that this was an in readable time of bonding for both of them.

I remember anticipating our son’s birth. I told my wife over and over again, “I just can’t wait to meet him.” He was a stranger to me, but the most important stranger I’d ever anticipated meeting. I didn’t have any expectations about greatness he would achieve in his life like Mary and Joseph must have had, but I did look forward to getting to know him and his personality. The same was true for my daughter as well, but I’m reflecting on our son because, as Jesus was for Mary and Joseph, he was our first. I remember my wife and I talking about how we felt inadequate to be parents. We were nervous. We didn’t have much money and didn’t know how we would afford things for our child. But we had a home, health insurance that provided a hospital room for the delivery, and I had a job to go to give us at least some financial stability. In short, we had all kinds of advantages on Mary and Joseph, but we still had a special time of bonding over the pregnancy as well.

Father, thank you for my wife. Twenty-four years ago right now, she was pregnant with our son. We could feel him move around. We were buying clothes and building baby furniture. And I’m glad we still have those memories. They seem so long ago, and yet, I still remember some parts quite vividly. But I’m very grateful for what we had then and what we have now. It’s a time that has wonderful potential for parents who are expecting–as long as both are ready to go through the experience together. I feel so sorry for those who go through it alone. I think there is definitely something missing for them and probably for their child as well.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2020 in Luke, Mothers of the Bible

 

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Mothers of the Bible — Mary, Jesus’s Mother (Part 1)

Luke 1:26-38
26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. 30 Then the angel told her: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will have no end.”

34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not had sexual relations with a man?”

35 The angel replied to her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 And consider your relative Elizabeth—even she has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called childless. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.

Dear God, it is one thing to be Joseph and Jesus’s “step-father,” if you will. It’s another thing to be his actual mother. Flesh of her flesh. What an amazing thing for her in a physiological, psychological sense. This child was part of her and was partly her. Her DNA was in there along with yours. It add whole layer to what Joseph experienced. I’m sure it meant just that much more to her than to him, although I know it meant a lot to him too.

I think it’s interesting that Mary gets a little more latitude from the angel than Zechariah did. Zechariah asked in Luke 1:18, “How can I know this? For I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” Mary asks in Luke 1:36, “How can this be, since I have not had sexual relations with a man?” Those questions don’t appear that different to me given each circumstance. But where Gabriel is a little harsh with Zechariah, he is gentle with Mary. I have a feeling that each actually got what they needed to prepare them for their journey. Zechariah probably needed those months (almost a year?) in silence to contemplate, study, and prepare himself to raise John the Baptist. Mary, on the other hand, needed the encouragement of Elizabeth. She needed to be able to communicate freely with Joseph. And she was just a young woman whereas Zechariah was older. Mary deserved a little more guidance.

With all of that said, that’s not what hit me when I first read this passage this morning. What hit me is the idea that none of us know what we are getting into when we become parents. We can think we are ready, but we aren’t. We can think we do have or don’t have enough money, but we are wrong. We can think we know what we are doing, but we have no idea. Even on the second or third child, we aren’t prepared like we would like to be. In her case, Mary had no idea what she was saying yes to. If she had, would she have done it? Would she have signed up for giving birth in a stable, moving to Egypt, moving back to Nazareth, losing Jesus when he was 12, watching a ministry from him that would lead to his crucifixion, and then going through the resurrection and the ascension? She lost her son at 33. Yes, he rose again, but he was still gone 40 days later. I’m sure this was not how she planned it out as she visited with Elizabeth or traveled to Bethlehem with Joseph.

Father, I still don’t know what being the father of my children really means, and they are in their 20s now. I don’t know what they need from me today, and I have no clue what they will need tomorrow. don’t even know how much longer they will have me on this earth, nor do I know how much longer I’ll have them. But I know that in this moment right now, I need to simply be your servant. I need to be your worshiper. I need you to flow through me and touch the world through me. And I need to simply rest in the knowledge that you know what my children need more than I do and you will be responsible for giving it to them. Much like Mary didn’t understand what was happening with Jesus’s life most of the time, I have no idea either. Help me to use that ignorance to my advantage and to build my faith in and worship of you.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2020 in Luke, Mothers of the Bible

 

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Fathers of the Bible — Joseph, Jesus’s Earthly Father (Part 9)

46 After three days, they found him in the temple sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all those who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and 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 them. “Didn’t you know that it was necessary for me to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he said to them.
51 Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them. His mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.
Luke 2:46-52

Dear God, I want to look at the emotions used to describe Mary and Joseph in this passage:

  • Astonished (verse 48)
  • Anxious (verse 48)
  • Confused (verse 50–“But they did not understand…”)

I know there have been times when I’ve been angry with my kids and ready to let them have it. So many times, however, I found that they had an explanation for what they had done that made perfect sense from their perspective. They weren’t being rebellious. They weren’t being defiant. They were just doing what they thought was right.

In this story, I can only imagine the fear and anxiety both Mary and Joseph felt. Who would have guessed that the boy was in the temple, holding court? I wonder if a younger Caiaphas was there too. How about a younger Nicodemus? No matter. The people who were there were “astounded” (verse 47) by his questions. It probably doesn’t get enough attention that Jesus isn’t portrayed as sitting there and giving a bunch of answers. He’s portrayed as asking amazing, insightful questions. He obviously had a lot on his mind that he was figuring out and now he had an opportunity to be in the temple in Jerusalem to access the people who were supposed to know the answers. Of course it was necessary for him to be in his Father’s house!

It’s clear that Mary and Joseph had no idea how to raise this particular boy. His needs didn’t fit into any particular paradigm. I wonder how inadequate Joseph felt around him when it came to these types of questions I’m sure he asked at home as well as in the temple. I wonder what kinds of conversations Mary and Joseph would have about Jesus when they were by themselves. Or even what kinds of conversations Joseph would have with his friends who knew Jesus.

Father, I know I have certainly felt over my head when parenting my children through the years. I’m sure Joseph felt that much more so. He must have continuously wondered, “Am I enough for this boy? Am I adequate to raise God’s son?” I’m sure that this responsibility deepened his own prayer life and his own relationship with you. How could it not have? Help me to follow this example and to sink deeper into you as I continue to pray for my children and that you will give them what you need them to have from me, my wife, and those around them.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2020 in Fathers of the Bible, Luke

 

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