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.
Jesus didn’t stay an infant for long. It was time for Mary and Joseph to prepare Jesus to become a “son of commandment” (bar mitzvah). At that age young boys were obligated to observe the religious practices personally. So Jesus made the trip for Passover. Two decades later he would make the trip again, one last time, giving his life on the cross.
We have spent this last year journeying with Jesus through the Gospels. We have considered his miracles and healings. We have learned from his teachings and parables. We have observed his interaction with the disciples, who, like us, sometimes just didn’t grasp the significance of the person they followed. But my prayer is that through these past months we have seen Jesus in a deeper and more meaningful way.
Our journey has not been primarily to gain more knowledge but to change our hearts. Our desire has been to:
Know Jesus more intimately
Love Jesus more passionately
Follow Jesus wholeheartedly
Father, that is my desire as I end one year and begin another. Help me start fresh with a deep commitment to follow hard after you through the great joys and challenges that a new year will bring. Thank you for your blessings over this past year. And thank you that regardless of the challenges and obstacles ahead I know that you will be with me each step of the way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
We would love to hear from you about your journey with Jesus. What has he taught you this past year? What excites you most about the year to come? Share your thoughts with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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