Vol. 7, No. 07 – February 20, 2022

After three days they found Him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. And when His parents saw Him, they were astonished. –Luke 2:46-48

One would think that an opportunity to sit with Jesus is the greatest thing to experience. We could ask any question. Get some answers. The opportunity to speak with Jesus live “seems” much better than reading His book.

In the passage above, Jesus is but a small boy. It seems that not only was He asking questions, but He also already knew the answers. The leaders are flummoxed with Him. It is they, not He, that should have the questions and answers. Jesus handles them as if they are inexperienced in the Scriptures.

One of the favorite methods of teaching, for Jesus, is to answer the questions with a question. I have used that methodology in my own teaching. It is always productive. Regardless of how young the student or how old the adult.

These are “teachers of the Law” that are standing and listening to young Jesus. You get the impression, and rightly so I believe, that these religious leaders were not interested in being taught. Have you ever met someone that thought they had all the answers; that you could not teach them anything? This is what this section in Luke’s Gospel reveals.

To the teachers of the Law, they might have thought this to be a simple exercise. A young boy. Let’s indulge him for a few minutes. Wait. He is asking some things we do not know the answers to in full. The teachers are dumbfounded. Not sure what to ask next.

I enjoyed teaching middle-schoolers, and high school students. I used the question along with a response to a question method. Unlike the teachers of the Law, my students thrived in this format. They were often shocking themselves with the answers they gave because I taught them how to critically think and critically read.

Some think that the religious leaders were attempting to entrap Jesus. That does not seem accurate to me, but it is possible. It is more plausible that they are impressed with the mind and responses of this young boy (who happens to be Christ). I think, also, that Jesus is not continually responding to a question with a question; however, it is clear that a significant part of the session involved this method.

Jesus sometimes uses a pause to make those around Him think about what they are saying or thinking. That is a good methodology as well. I have used that technique in my teaching. It works well. In fact, when I pause in my teaching long enough, I sometimes get answers I did not expect. It leads to teachable moments. Jesus, of course, knows what they are thinking, and what they are going to say before the words escaped their mouth.

Sometimes Jesus sits and teaches. Then He would send out his “students” (disciples) to put to work what He taught. Then He would reassemble them to discuss their work. What went well? What did not go as well as they anticipated? Then He teaches them more or repeats what He said so that they would be reminded that in order to succeed, they needed to listen and follow what He said.

The Bible is full of that, is it not? The expectation is that we follow. Following expects obedience.

Life Application

Some things we might observe:

  1. The way Jesus works with or the way He addresses people. If Jesus is immutable, and He is, why would we think He would change up His methodology just because we are so much “more educated today” than those folks “back then.”
  2. If Jesus has the tendency to trip people up because He knows their hearts, why would one think that things are so different today, that Jesus’ tendency would not work?
  3. Isn’t it great that we are not like the Pharisees? We are so much smarter and well-versed in the ways of the world; we will never get entrapped by our questions and our lack of reference points. After all, 2000 years makes a huge difference. Or does it?

The life application makes it mandatory we are honest with ourselves. We do not have it all together; we are still dependent on Him, regardless of how much we think of ourselves.

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

February 20, 2022

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