Jesus of the Calling
Years passed since that magical day when the Messiah came in to the world. Although the Bible makes very little mention of Jesus’ childhood (what was a five year old thinking regarding the kingdom of Heaven and His mission?), we see some insight regarding what Jesus knew at such a young age.
We can find the story in Luke 2:41-51. The annual tradition of taking Jesus to Jerusalem for Passover took a different turn when Jesus was nowhere to be found. Frantically searching through the crowds, Mary and Joseph ended up back in Jerusalem, three days later. Sure enough, they found Jesus conversing with the priests, and marveling them with His expanse of knowledge.
The stress lines on Mary’s forehead probably relaxed a bit as she inquired why Jesus had done this to them. Jesus responded that they should have known He would be in His Father’s house.
After this exchange, Jesus followed Mary and was obedient to them. Quite the juxtaposition if you ask us!
So what’s really going on here? Should we instill an uprising amongst the juniors and youth against their parents in the name of God?
Following the higher calling
This story signals the moment when Jesus understood what His true calling in this life would be. Even from Jesus’ birth, we see that Mary advances through life without really understanding the enormity of Jesus’ birth. While Mary and Joseph are rightly concerned about Jesus as parents, Jesus gently reminds them that He must be doing Heavenly work. In this case, we see a gentle conflict occur between following His earthly parents and following His heavenly one. What should one do? We see Jesus prioritizing His heavenly commitment over His earthly one. However, this approach did not include a shut down of His own parents’ role in His upbringing. No, it became a matter of priority, putting God first!
Recognizing the earthly calling
Even though we are strangers and pilgrims on this Earth, we must still respect (to a certain degree) the rules of our society/nation. Parading around the fact we are doing the Lord’s work while disrespecting those around us comes across as arrogant and distasteful. The Bible says that Jesus followed Mary and was obedient to His parents. His witness was enhanced by the fact that He was not a jerk. The Bible says that we will know people by their fruits. When people look at you, do they see arrogant fruit, or desirable fruit? Of course, when the two conflict we must choose God over mankind. However, we must remember to carry ourselves in a humble manner as we do the Lord’s work.
Do good to those around us
When many people are asked to describe Jesus today, the most common answers center around what He did. He was a healer, teacher, radical revolutionary, etc. Unless you felt threatened by Him, He is known as the One who brought peace and goodwill to mankind. Jesus’ ideas were so revolutionary that they were not acceptable by the current establishment, but they were an introduction to the kingdom of Heaven. He taught us to love God and to love our neighbor – which can be anyone. He challenged our thinking, countering “you’ve heard this before” with “but now I’m telling you” (see Matthew 5). John concludes his gospel by remarking that Jesus did so many things that (metaphorically) there would not be enough books to write about them all. Jesus’ calling was defined and known by His actions, not His words. His words had a place, but His actions backed up His words and spoke much louder. A famous quote goes, “Preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words!” When we look at how Jesus grew up and did his ministry, we must remember that it was an action-based ministry.
Like Jesus, we too can be respectful of those around us while following God’s call. Keeping in mind that our citizenship is in Heaven, let us continue to look up. But let us also not neglect the duties and responsibilities that lie around us, acknowledging that they can be a witness to Heaven’s storehouse and generate even greater interest in the Gospel!