46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
1901 ASV Translation:
46 And it came to pass, after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both hearing them, and asking them questions:
47 and all that heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
I. Luke's Comment: "It Came to Pass".
A. Luke uses this particular grammatical construction 80 times in Luke alone. He used it 58 more times in Acts. The last time he used it in Acts, he did so in conjunction with another reference to "after three days".
B. There is a consistent indication by this phrase that history is unfolding one detail at a time with some cumulative results.
II. The Issue Regarding "Three Days".
A. Is it "accidental" that it took three days for Joseph and Mary to "find" Jesus?
B. This "detail" in the record either serves as "story-telling filler material" or it has some significance in the record that has generated its presence there.
III. The Activity of Jesus.
A. They "found" Him in the Temple.
B. He was "sitting" in the midst of the teachers.
C. He was listening to them, questioning them, and giving them "answers".
1. He expressed an understanding that was significantly beyond any expectation held by those present of a youth such as He was.
2. His words, uttered in response to the teachers', revealed far more than any of His hearers would have anticipated, or, perhaps, have even understood.
IV. The Reaction It Caused.
A. Those who heard Him were amazed.
1. The problem is the reality that "amazement" tends to wear off over time.
2. When we lose the "amazement", we lose our way. The profound gets buried under the pile of the routine. In a sense, there are "markers" that bob up along the way to show us Truth in clarity. How terrible it is for those whose attention is diverted by the innane when one of those markers floats by.
B. Luke determined to include this event in his record.
1. At issue here is the question of Luke's use of this "event".
a. In the context it seems plain that Luke is giving evidence of the legitimacy of his thesis that Jesus was being filled with wisdom.
b. In the larger context it seems that Luke is giving evidence of the qualifications of Jesus to be God's "salvation", the "Christ".
c. The "point" of this event is two-fold: that Jesus created a furor in the midst of the Galilean travelers regarding His abandonment of their plans; and that Jesus also created a "situation" in the Temple wherein those who "taught" would have to deal with His "wisdom".
2. Without a doubt, this is one isolated event pulled up out of Jesus' early life to give Luke's readers a glimpse of the Son of God.
a. The event creates both "tension" (it posits the necessity of choosing God over family) and "awareness" (it reveals a wisdom that is recognizable for its profound truthfulness).
b. The event -- just one week-long event out of a lifetime of events -- cannot be ignored without loss.
1) Just as each individual interaction one has with the Word of God has a long-term cumulative impact, so one glimpse of Jesus at the crisis point of making the point that God's Plan is of critical importance will have a long-term cumulative impact. There is, after all, nothing more crucial than being involved in the Plan of God, and there are few obstacles to that involvement that are greater than "family".
2) That Luke intends to present Jesus' life as both an illustration of, and a summons to, this critical commitment is the most likely basis for his choice to include this event in his record.
V. Luke's "Point"...
A. The issues...
1. It came to pass
2. Three days
3. In the midst of the teachers in the temple engaging in active interaction (listening, questioning, answering questions)
4. His ability to deal with the problems of wisdom -- i.e., the contrasting facts of divine glory and their outworking in time
5. The amazement of those listening
B. The summarizing "point": Jesus was incredibly astute.
1. At issue is the enormous complexity of Truth, made so, at least partially, by the reality of the internal contrasts.
a. The "days" consisted of "darkness" followed by "light" -- few contrasts are as stark in our material realm. Three is the number of adequacy; two is the number of contrast; and the combination indicates a complete cycle of contrasts. Jesus was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. The question is: Why the third day? Obviously, the task of Messiah's redemption was finished on that third day. Just as obviously, the revelation of that accomplishment onthethirdday was to have a major significance in the minds of those who pondered it. That Luke deliberately reveals the length of the search for Jesus to be three days has to be significant. That "it came to pass in three days" indicates that a given "cycle" of the will of God had been accomplished. The question is: what was that "will" of God? It had two parts: one that had to do with the upheaval for Joseph and Mary; and one that had to do with the amazement of those in the Temple. The first was made necessary for the sake of the second. Likewise, the smaller issue of distress and amazement, is the microcosm of the huge issue of distress/amazement involved in death/resurrection.
b. The verbal interaction with those responsible for understanding God (the teachers in the Temple) consisted of listening, asking, and concluding: a process that signals a profound complexity.
c. The "issues" of complexity are introduced in the creation: darkness/light; chaos/ order; emptiness/fulness -- a trilogy of complexity. Ultimately, every issue of life and death is to be found under the umbrella of this complexity, and every solution to death that is found in life is to be found in light, order, and fulness.
2. Jesus is the hope of humanity...the Only, and vicarious, solution to the complexity. We are only complete in Him.