Jesus spent at least 90% of His life in very close proximity to his mother – though we are not given a lot of details about this.
But what history we are given we would do well to give serious attention to. Since Jesus was God manifested in human flesh, He was sinless in all of His relationships and interactions. He is our only sinless model for how to please God in our relationship with our mother.
In this post we will begin to look at and make application of the four specific interactions the Bible records between Jesus and His mom.
The first interaction we find between Jesus and His mother occurred after He had turned up missing for at least three days. His mother found Him in the Temple interacting with the Scribes and Theology professors.
Mary’s very reasonable scolding: “Son, why have you treated us this way. Behold, your father and I have been anxiously looking for you.”
In Jesus’ response to His mother we see two very clear realities:
1. He was indeed God in the flesh and had an amazing awareness of who He was and what He came to do, even at this early age. He was surprised that His mother didn’t know why He had decided to stay in Jerusalem! He was sent from heaven with a mission. Even the Scribes and teachers of the Law were amazed at the level of understanding the boy had.
2. He was also fully human and grew and matured in keeping with that reality. In His humanity Jesus experienced normal development. Psychologically and emotionally He had sinlessly developed to the 12 year-old level. A 12 year-old cannot be expected to understand the pressure a mother would feel in such a scenario! He didn’t immediately see how unacceptable what He had done was to His parents. Nonetheless, it was NOT sinful. It was a teachable moment.
In this passage we find the first recorded words of Jesus in the Bible:
“Didn’t you know that I had to be about My Father’s business?”
It’s as if He was thinking, “Mother why are you so stressed out? You of all people should know that I have a mission from the Father to save the world?”…Besides it’s only been three days. It’s not like I ran away or did something bad…” (This is completely reasonable thinking for a 12 year-old.)
But notice how Jesus responded upon learning that His choice to stay behind was not pleasing to His mother:
“And He went down with them…and continued in subjection…Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
An obvious priority for even the 12 year-old Jesus was to grow in His understanding of how to honor His parents and be pleasing to them. He clearly understood that part of His mandate from Heaven was to be in subjection to His human parents.
If Jesus’, who was God in the flesh, gladly submitted to His mother’s authority and instruction, what does this say to the rest of us?
He was sinless. He never succumbed to temptation. He never acted in rebellion or in selfishness. And yet He willingly and gladly “remained in subjection” to his parents through all His developing years.
Friends, if a person misses this lesson it is almost impossible to get the other three interactions right.
Have you been Christlike in your submission to your mother (and father)? If when you haven’t been Christlike have you humbled yourself and admitted it? And asked for forgiveness from your parents?
More next time.