Jesus The Teenage Rebel

Jesus The Teenage Rebel – part 1

Today I launch a new segment on Manly Training. And a New Website. For the past two and a half years we have been solely focused on training adults. Most of our followers ar between the ages of 30-50 years of age. These are parents seeking godly wisdom and husbands or wives seeking biblical knowledge to help them in their relationships with their spouses. But if we are going to make a lasting difference in this day an age, we will have to take more time to help our youth! After all, they are the future. You can check out the new website at https://ejq3.wordpress.com. However, I will be publishing the material here on Manly Training as well. If you know any young boys or girls that would be “CRAY’ for this, share it with them.

Jesus The Teenage Rebel

I wish there were a couple hundred more verses at the end of Luke 2. I wish there were more stories about Jesus’ teen years. some indication of how He related to His peers or how He and His parents got along.

Somehow we get this idea that Jesus’ growing up must have been conflict-free; that since He was sinless everything would have been just fine all the time. That simply can’t be true – Jesus was perfect but His parents (and siblings) weren’t!

Maybe Mary was having a bad day and got all mad at Jesus for something He didn’t do. Maybe Joseph hit his thumb with His hammer one time and tried to blame it on Jesus because He made some noise in the shop right then. Then maybe one of His siblings lied and got Jesus in trouble (it wouldn’t be the last time He was punished for someone else’s wrongs). How would Jesus have responded when He saw His parents sin? There may have been some conflict!

The point is that there would inevitably have been some conflict. Even though Jesus was without sin, His parents and siblings were not.

Take Comfort

I hope that those of you who are parents of teens, and those of you who are teens, will take some comfort from that. Some conflict is normal! And although there are not a bunch of stories of Jesus as a teenager, there is one: Luke 2:41-52. And you know what it shows us? It shows us that there WAS some conflict; Jesus was a teenage rebel!

Luke 2:41-45 Every year Jesus’ parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up as they always did for the Feast. When it was over and they left for home, the child Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents didn’t know it. Thinking he was somewhere in the company of pilgrims, they journeyed for a whole day and then began looking for him among relatives and neighbors. When they didn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem looking for him.
Luke 2:46-48 The next day they found him in the Temple seated among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. The teachers were all quite taken with him, impressed with the sharpness of his answers. But his parents were not impressed; they were upset and hurt.
His mother said, “Young man, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been half out of our minds looking for you.”

Let me give you a little bit of historical background. First let’s look at  Jesus’ education:

At the time of Jesus, most Jewish kids went to school in the synagogue. There were 3 schools that the children would go starting at 3 years of age.

– #1 – Bet Sefer –

The First school was called Bet Sefer which means house of the book – you went seven days a week for 5 years (in the mornings only) and learned to read and memorized Torah (that’s our Old Testament – except for Song of Songs and David and Bethsheba…) No Questions Allowed!

– #2 – Bet Talmud –

The Second school was called Bet Talmud which means house of learning – at this point you went morning and evening, 7 days a week for another 5 years. And here you memorized all the previous interpretations of Torah (which is a collection of writings called the Talmud). Still you couldn’t discuss anything or ask questions. You would be about half way through this school when you had your bar mitzvah (turning 13). This was where almost everyone stopped – memorize the Torah and the Talmud, and then if you didn’t really have any new ideas or interpretations of Torah you would quit school and continue to learn a trade from your father.

– #3 – Bet Midrash –

The Third school was called Bet Midrash which was reserved for the really gifted. It was at this point that you could finally discuss and argue and interpret.  Can you imagine that after 10 years of memorizing without speaking some may speak with some passion when they are finally able to?

So the normal pattern for raising your kids in first century Palestine was to send them to school when they were between 5-7. Then have a bar or bat mitzvah the Saturday before their 13th birthday. (Which welcomed them as adults into Jewish society). Then teach the boys a trade at their father’s side and the girls all of the home skills of cooking and sewing and child-rearing.  And then get them married off by age 18. Now this is important: in Jewish culture – if you were not married by age 20 at the latest, not only were your parents and family upset, but God Himself was very angry with you!

So that’s a bit of cultural background to the passage that we are looking at. I thought you might find it interesting just as context. Since this passage tells us Jesus was 12, we can assume he was in the middle school working hard at memorizing the Talmud.

Anyway, enough history. Let’s look at the passage:

Luke 2:41-45 Every year Jesus’ parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up as they always did for the Feast. When it was over and they left for home, the child Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents didn’t know it. Thinking he was somewhere in the company of pilgrims, they journeyed for a whole day and then began looking for him among relatives and neighbors. When they didn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem looking for him.

Notice what is going on here.  The family, all together, were having a Spiritual holiday. This was a tradition. You see, “every year” they went to Jerusalem for the feast of the passover.

We have a few things like that. We have a few customs and traditions: Christmas is one – kids being a part of the kids Christmas pageant, going to church together on Christmas eve, our Easter services, etc.

I would even say that getting to church together week after week is like this passage. This teaches our kids that the family goes to church together.

Be a Family and do Stuff Together

I want to encourage you to try really hard to enjoy coming to church as a family. Make sure you get there five or ten minutes early, so that you have time to get the kids to their classes and get into the sanctuary and find your seat before things begin (I know I’m asking a lot here). But then you’ll be ready to worship, and you’ll show your kids how important God is.

Maybe you can find something as a family that you can do each week to make it more enjoyable. Stop for a slurpee on the way home, or let your kids invite a friend over, or have lunch with some friends. Whatever you can think of to really make each Sunday a positive experience for your family. For lots of you it is already, if it isn’t I challenge you to sit down as a family and decide how you can make it more enjoyable!

– back to the story…

Luke 2:46-48 The next day they found him in the Temple seated among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. The teachers were all quite taken with him, impressed with the sharpness of his answers. But his parents were not impressed; they were upset and hurt.
His mother said, “Young man, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been half out of our minds looking for you.”

So there we have it: Jesus was a teenage rebel. Now by saying “Jesus was a teenage rebel” I don’t mean that He turned His back on His parents, rejected everything they had taught Him, and took off to become a Greek Philosopher. Although His parents might have been a bit concerned… “I just don’t know what could have gotten in to Him… He’s always been such a cooperative young man, and yet I’ve been worried sick about Him these past three days…” So what DO I mean? Well, let’s look at what we learn about Jesus in this passage:

1. Jesus was a pretty normal guy.

Jesus had a normal family, normal upbringing, lived in a normal Jewish place and had a normal mother and father. Even the fact that there were some abnormalities is pretty normal. This passage shows how normal everything was.

Some of you are saying now wait, how many other twelve year olds are sitting among the teachers in the temple and impressing them?? THAT certainly isn’t normal… and I’d have to agree. But what I would say is normal is that all of us at some point in time need to embrace our faith for ourselves. And that is what I see Jesus doing here – embracing His faith for Himself. We need to make a separation from our parents . We must distance ourselves a bit as we become adults and individuals. There comes a time when each of us has to examine the things we have always been taught and always believed and determine whether in fact we will own that faith for ourselves.

A Word to The Parents

Looking at this passage from a developmental point of view, I think that is what is happening. Jesus is getting it from another source. He is taking the initiative, as a twelve-year-old boy, to search out His faith and embrace it himself. Parents you need to provide room and opportunities for your kids to do that as they grow older. Send them to camp, make sure they have exposure to other adult Christians, encourage their questions and help them find the answers for themselves, even if that means allowing them to struggle to their own conclusions.

Really, that is one of the key reasons why we need to work with teens – to help them think through and challenge and question and thus come to a firm personal conviction and experience with Jesus as THEIR Lord and Savior. And parents – your biggest job here is to be a consistent example and to pray. And to let your kids know that you are praying for them!!

No More School Shootings! Man Up America.

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Written by Eduardo Quintana

I am an author and a speaker. I am the creator and CEO of Manly Training, an organization designed to bring Men to Christ and to Honor and Empower biblical Manliness.