Luke reports, “After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in
, but they were unaware of it" (Luke
2:43 NIV). In other words, Jesus, surely aware that his parents were leaving, um,
didn’t bother to tell them he had other plans than going on home with them that
day or even trouble himself to say goodbye. Jerusalem
I woke at three this morning, as I often do to pray-worry about my daughters, and it occurred to me that probably Mary had done the same thing—probably many times—even though, unlike Charlotte and Lulu, her son was sinless. Thoughtless, maybe, in his dealings with his earthly parents in this instance and maybe, probably, others—he was, after all, not only 100% God but 100% teenager—but he was surely never mean-spirited or self-centered or unwilling to forgive a slight. And, since times were somewhat different back then and he didn’t go off to college as far as we know, Mary and Joseph wouldn’t have had to worry things like beer pong or designer drugs or the weird sexual culture of today (so horrifyingly in evidence in the Jodi Arias trial).
Nevertheless, many years later, when Jesus is a grown man in his thirties roaming around Galilee,
Samaria, and Judea with
his buddies and surrounded by crowds so thick “that
he and his disciples were not even able to eat,” we find Mary worrying
still. Mary enlists her other sons’ help to go “take charge of him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind’
(Mark 3:21-22). Jesus’ response? “‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’” he quips to the crowd. “Then
he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother’” (Mark 3: 33-34).
Yes, I see what he was getting at. And certainly, having been visited by an angel and impregnated while a virgin, she failed her son, failed God, in not trusting what he was doing. But I just want to look at the parenting issues here.
Evidently, being a parent to even the perfect son was tough going—not just when he was a teenager but long after he was grown and out on his own. This doesn’t augur well for us parents of not so perfect kids. Even so, in some perverse way, these stories give the night-worrier in me hope. Or, at least, the comfort that comes with knowing I’m surely not the only one awake at three.