Luke 2:41-52 - The Boy Jesus
There were things Mary didn’t understand about her Son, but she treasured those things, those mysterious things up in heart nonetheless.
We see that in Luke 2:51, but we also see it in Luke 2:19 when the shepherds came to behold Jesus wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger.
The shepherds said incredible things about Jesus, things Mary didn’t understand, things that made Mary marvel just as she and Joseph marveled when Simeon spoke his incredible words about Jesus when he was presented in the Temple (Luke 2:33).
It seems that throughout Jesus’ childhood Mary was asking about Jesus the question that people asked about John the Baptist as a child, “What then will this child be?”
Some think that Luke includes these comments about Mary treasuring these things in her heart, because Mary was one of the sources for his account of Jesus’ time on earth. If that’s true, then we can imagine Mary sitting with Luke and saying, “At the time I didn’t know what it all really meant? I mean, the angel… I was so young! The shepherds… I had just had my first baby in a stable! Simeon and Anna in the Temple… It was wonderful, but I didn’t grasp it all fully! In Jerusalem, when he was 12, when we lost him for a couple days, and found him in the Temple amazing everyone… well, we were learning and understanding who he was and what it all meant bit by bit.”
God is perfectly clear, but we are all dull apart from the Holy Spirit revealing to us who Jesus is in his fullness. But perhaps Mary sitting with Luke, filled with the Holy Spirit, thought back to this episode when Jesus was 12 and could then see clear indications of who he would become, who he was, and who he knew himself to be even at this early age.
What is this passage revealing to us about Jesus? Who is this passage indicating that Jesus is? Who is it indicating that we embrace when it calls us to embrace Jesus?
Luke 2:41-52 reveals Jesus as more than just a precocious child. It reveals a further glimpse into Jesus’ true identity as the Christ, the Promised Savior of God’s people, and it begins to indicate just what sort of Messiah Jesus would be.
If we are to embrace Jesus, we must embrace him as he is. We must embrace him in his fullness even if we don’t yet understand him fully. That’s what it meant for Mary to treasure up all these things in her heart concerning her Son.
Our relationship with Jesus is a bit like a marriage in that way. When two people get married, they think they know each other and to some extent they do in that moment. They embrace one another in that moment, but they can’t know each other fully because they haven’t lived with one another for 10 years, 20 years, 30, 40, 50, or 60 years.
The longer we’re married to someone the more we get to know them; the more fully we understand them. That’s our relationship with Jesus.
The Apostle Paul mentions this, saying, “…now we see in a mirror dimly, but (one day) face to face. Now I know in part; (but one day) I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known,” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
We embrace Jesus in his fullness even if we don’t yet understand him fully.
That’s what Luke 2:41-52 is calling us to do.