Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:51-52)This passage; the trip to Jerusalem for Passover when Jesus was 12 Years old; clearly shows how Joseph and Mary nurtured Jesus to develop a strong faith and a desire to do more then what the “letter of the law
required.” Only men were required to attend this festival, but Mary chose to go. The passage even states that they would go every year. The distance from Nazareth to Jerusalem was over 65 miles. Some scholars think that the route these pilgrims may have taken could have been over 100 miles to avoid potential problems. This means that it would have taken them at least one week to travel to Jerusalem to attend the festival. The festival itself lasted seven days, and then it would have taken them another seven days to journey home.
So overall, this would have taken about three weeks. Of which two weeks would have been for travelling through harsh terrain. Being exposed to the sun, the heat, the dust, and the dirt. Facing the danger of robbers. Having to carry some clothing, food, and water as they traveled. But despite the dangers, the difficulties, and the time that Joseph was not working; they did this every year. Only men who lived in a 15 mile radius of Jerusalem were required to go every year to Passover. So according to these scholars, Joseph did not have to go every year to Jerusalem for Passover. So, even though Mary and Jesus were not required to go to Passover, (and according to some scholars Joseph did not have to go every year), still as a family they went every year. They endured all this as a family to nurture the proper faith not only in Jesus but also in themselves.
This type of nurturing is not common now. A nurturing where both parents instill in their children the fact that they have to do more than the letter of the law requires. Where they have to do more than the minimum. Where the person does not question, “Do I have to?” Instead, the person says, “Even though I do not have to, I am going to.”
Also, Jesus did not just go to the festival. But he is so engrossed in his mission for God, that even after the festival he is still talking to the teachers. He is actively participating, thereby transforming himself and those around him by his experience. Many of us will go to church on Sundays, but how many of us actually attend the worship service? How many of us actively participate in the service so that not only we are transformed, but also those around us are transformed?
Prayer: Lord, help us to give our children Christian nurturing, so that they are willing and eager to do things for God. Not because they have to, but because they want to. Amen
Rev. Shibi Abraham, Oklahoma Mar Thoma Church