to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
October 15, 2019 – Tuesday
Luke 2:51 NIV
51 Then He went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.
For context let’s provide a number of preceding verses for the time when Jesus was twelve years old and had traveled to Jerusalem with His parents for the Festival of the Passover.
43 After the festival was over, while His parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking He was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for Him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find Him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for Him. 46 After three days they found Him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard Him was amazed at His understanding and His answers. 48 When His parents saw Him, they were astonished. 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. “Didn’t you know I had to be in My Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what He was saying to them. 51 Then He went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But His mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
Like any mother and father, Mary and Joseph were worried and concerned when their twelve year old son was discovered missing a day into their return trip home to Nazareth. It was a large group returning home with relatives and friends and it was among them they first looked for Jesus. Not finding Him among them, they returned to Jerusalem to look for Him there.
We are not told if they were panicked or not, but they seemingly were not. We are not even told they were worried and concerned as I have supposed above, but I cannot imagine otherwise. Still, after three days (!) they found Him. Where He had slept or eaten we are not told. Instead we are simply told He was found in the temple courts sitting among the teachers. We learn He was not only listening to the teachers, but also asking them questions. They were obviously asking Him questions as well because they (the teachers) were amazed as His understanding and His answers. I wonder at the questions they must have asked Jesus at such a tender age.
Nonetheless, when Mary and Joseph found Him there they too were amazed, but still Mary asked Son, why have You treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for You. Indeed! Then Jesus provided what was to Him an obvious answer not intending to be disrespectful asking in reply Why were you searching for Me? Didn’t you know I had to be in My Father’s house?
Mary and Joseph did not understand His answer, so what did Jesus do next? Instead of remaining in Jerusalem at the temple courts continuing to teach He was obedient to them and left with them for Nazareth. He did not have to do this, but He did. In doing so He provided a public example of following the fifth commandment Honor your father and mother. And that is the last we hear of Jesus for eighteen years when His ministry would begin. We hear He was obedient to His earthly parents even when they did not understand what He had been doing in Jerusalem.
This is an incredible example of obedience by Jesus for us to reflect upon when we do not want to obey.
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)
* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)