Jesus as a 12 Year Old Boy

2016 05-May 10 (9)

Luke 2:41-52 New International Version

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 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.” “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them.


This post is satire – please take it as such.


Twelve and thirteen year old boys are strange creatures. They know everything. They’re loud and messy. They’re physically awkward. They make strange noises. They’re in your face, a lot. And they have no idea that what they’re doing is rude and even offensive.


I think the translators got some of these verses wrong. Specifically, I think the original versions (which are lost to history) stated that Mary and Joseph were absolutely tired of a know-it-all, loud-mouthed Jesus and decided they’d leave him in the temple. After all, God gave them Jesus so they were just giving him back. It worked out well (for the most part) for Samuel so it should work out okay for Jesus. “God, we raised him for 12 years; he’s a man now so he’s all yours. We’re done!”


Then Joseph and Mary began walking back to Nazareth. I guess that after three days their guilt got the best of them and they returned to Jerusalem to get Jesus. They probably didn’t want to but there were enough questions from other travelers that they couldn’t explain Jesus’ absence easily. They realized they’d have to put up with their teenager for several more years. Six days after leaving Jesus, they’re back in Jerusalem.


When they found Jesus, he was nonchalant, as if nothing happened (just like a teenager!). He hadn’t missed his parents at all (which made them second guess their decision to come back for him). His parents tried to embarrass him in front of the temple leaders but he threw it back at them. He said, “I’ve been right here in the temple. Right where you left me.”


The section ends where it says that Jesus “was obedient to them.” That was surely the first miracle that Jesus ever did – an obedient 12 year old!


If you’ve ever had a middle school boy, you’ll understand this post. If you haven’t, well, God Bless Your Heart.


Lead On!


Funnies – December 2011

More stories from church life

  • Weddings!
    • One January a mom called the church office to reserve the Sanctuary for her daughter’s wedding. The mother of the bride (MOTB) asked for a date in June, 18 months from when she called! When the office assistant congratulated the mom on the daughter’s engagement, mom said that the daughter wasn’t engaged yet but she was sure it would happen soon and she wanted to get the date she wanted reserved on the church calendar. It was an interesting wedding!
    • The most beautiful wedding I’ve ever heard of was when Miss Alabama got married several years ago. You see, Miss Alabama’s bridesmaids were friends she’d met in various competitions. So, preceding Miss Alabama down the aisle were Miss Georgia, Miss South Carolina, Miss Mississppi, and a couple of other beauty queens. As I said, it was a beautiful wedding!
  • The minister’s wife left her purse under her pew in church one Sunday. She asked her husband to go back to the church and get it for her. When the minister walked into the Sanctuary, he didn’t turn on the lights because he would only be there for less than a minute. He went to where his wife usually sat and reached under the pew for the pocketbook. He grabbed some fabric and heard a yell from a man, the church’s custodian. That’s when the minister realized that the custodian was sleeping in the Sanctuary on the floor after worship. The wife got her purse and the custodian found another job!
  • Construction began on a new building for the church but first they had to demolish the existing structure. The wrecking ball knocked down walls and the excavator loaded up all the debris into dump trucks. But everything stopped when the wrecking ball swung too far and knocked down part of the mechanic’s shop next door. Fortunately the church’s insurance covered the bill for a brand new building. This was also unfortunate because the church had future plans to purchase the dilapidated mechanic’s shop but now couldn’t afford the price of the shop!

Lead On!


I’m totally convinced that a sitcom could be made about church life. And the kicker is that all the storylines would be based on actual stories submitted by church members and church staff. The problem is that most people would never believe these actually happened. Here are a few examples:

  • Follow that Pastor
    • A pastor performed a funeral. Afterwards, everyone proceeded to their cars to go to the cemetery. As is the custom, the hearse and all the mourners followed the lead car, the pastor’s car. The pastor led the way and then completely forgot what he was doing and led the entourage into the parking lot at Wal-Mart. When he got out of his car, he realized he was leading the pack to the wrong destination.
  • Parking Problems
    • A minister parked his stick-shift car in the parking lot which had a slight incline to it. At some point the car slipped out of gear, and a few minutes later a staff person glanced outside and noticed three ladies by the minister’s car. They were yelling for help as together they put all their strength in trying to keep the car from rolling down the parking lot into other cars.
  • Bulletin of Evidence
    • A woman came to the church office asking for a copy of the bulletin for the previous Sunday, the Sunday after Easter. The church’s custom was to print the names of all guests who attended the previous Sunday. She wanted the bulletin because it listed not only her husband’s name but also that of his girlfriend. The wife had wanted to attend Easter with her husband, but he had preferred to attend with his girlfriend. The wife wanted the bulletin to use in divorce court!
  • Hijacked Website
    • A well-meaning member purchased a website domain name for her church. She not only created the website but also made email addresses for the staff to use. This volunteer ran the whole operation out of her house because the church didn’t have the financial or personnel resources to run the website. After a few years, the church decided to take on the website. When a staff member went to the woman’s house to talk about transferring the site, the woman very proudly showed the staff member not only the website but how she, a volunteer church member, was monitoring all the emails that the staff was sending and receiving. Oh MY!
  • We Have Liftoff
    • The spring-loaded candle on the candelabra was stuck, but the groom worked hard to loosen it so he could join his bride in lighting the unity candle. The bride was growing impatient as she held her candle. The groom’s father stepped up and handed him the candle the father had used to light the groom’s candle (and which the father had taken to his seat). The bride and groom then lit the unity candle, she put her candle back in its place, the groom placed his extra candle on the floor, and they began walking back to the altar. It launched. Very high. The spring-loaded groom’s candle finally loosened, and the innards of the candle launched. Every eye watched it soar, and everyone heard it clang on the stone floor. The MOTB (mother of the bride) was aghast. The soloists stopped singing because they were laughing so hard. The minister couldn’t gain his composure and guffawed four times before he was able to pronounce them “husband and wife.”
  • Babies!
    • A baby was brought forward by his parents for christening during a hymn. When the minister uncovered the small baptismal font, he discovered it was dry as a bone. It had not been filled by the volunteer in charge of that. The minister motioned to the music minister to keep singing, and the minister disappeared. A couple of minutes later he came back carrying a pitcher of water from the church kitchen and poured it in the font. The baby was christened with no further delays.

I’d love to hear your stories. I’ll put more on here, too. Who knows, maybe we can get someone in Hollywood to produce “Steeple Chase.”

Lead On!

IRS Baptist Church

In August 2004, Hurricane Ivan hit Pensacola, Florida and caused massive devastation. First Baptist Church of Pensacola suffered damage as did many other churches. At some point in the storm, the “F” and “T” of “First” fell off giving the church a new name: IRS Baptist Church!

Lead On!

A Bad Funeral

This happened this week – there is no moral to the story. It’s just one of the many things that happen in church life that are hard to believe.

As is their custom, the ministers drove their own car and led the hearse and other funeral procession cars from the church out to the cemetery. The ministers got out of their car at the gravesite and began walking to the hearse as all the other cars were parking and people walked to the gravesite. As the ministers approached the hearse, they heard the undertaker mutter, “Oh, sh**!” Since that is not normal language at a funeral, one of the ministers asked what happened.

“We locked the keys inside the hearse.” And they didn’t have a spare key with them. When they called the funeral home to get a spare, the funeral home said they didn’t have a spare, either! After a quick huddle, the ministers and the family agreed to proceed with the funeral at the gravesite without the body since the casket was inside the locked hearse. The undertakers spent the funeral trying to get into the hearse. When the funeral was over, the ministers, family and friends left the undertakers standing outside their locked hearse in the bitter cold of a January day.

Lead On!

My Favorite Fundraiser

This story happened in the mid-1980s somewhere in South Carolina. A friend whose parents witnessed the event told their son who told me. It is the most amazing church fundraising story I’ve ever heard.

It seems that a small church wanted to raise $1.5 million for a new building. The Finance Committee and Building Committee met, reviewed the options and potential and then came to a church business meeting to make their presentation. Everyone felt that the new building was very much needed and then it came time to vote on whether or not to do a fundraiser.

During the Q&A time before the vote, several pertinent questions were fielded. But then one of the older, most respected men of the congregration stood and began to speak. He spoke slowly and deliberately, “Well, let’s see. I tell you what. I’ll give half a million dollars if Fred over there gives half a million.” All heads immediately turned to Fred to see if he would accept Sam’s challenge. Fred stood up and spoke, “Hmmm, okay. I’ll give half a million if Bob here gives half a million.” Again, in unison, all heads turned to look at Bob who stood up. “Yeah, I’ll give half a million.” The congregation erupted in applause for these three men and the fundraiser was officially over!

I like this story for several reasons: its fun, funny, very true to life, shows the most church members can give more than they think, should help pastors realize that some church members have very deep pockets and will give if asked (but pastors are scared to talk about money), and finally it demonstrates the leadership of three respected older gentlemen. They had no problem talking about money (each knew what the other could afford) and when given the opportunity to give their money to something worthwhile, they stood up.

I encourage all ministers to cultivate wealthy members. Have lunch with them periodically. Ask them to teach you how to manage money but more importantly how to talk about money with others. These men and women will be glad to oblige – we’ve just got to ask.

Lead On!