9 Jan 2022
The Gospel. St. Luke ii. 41.
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they re- turned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
From January 6 on, we are celebrating the Epiphany of our Lord: his manifestation, his shining forth. "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 4.6) That is the theme of the Epiphany: the shining forth of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
There are three major events in the New Testament that we honor in Epiphany. First, is the coming of the Magi, the wise men from the East, who bring their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh "sacred gifts of mystic meaning" which show they honor Jesus as King and God. Then there is the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, with the manifestation of the Holy Trinity--the descent of the Holy Spirit, and the Father’s declaring Jesus as the divine Son. And on the Sundays after Epiphany the Gospel lessons are chiefly concerned with the miracles of Jesus.
But on this first Sunday after Epiphany, we have the story of Jesus' visit to the Temple at Jerusalem, at the age of twelve. It is the only story the Gospels give us of the childhood of Jesus. What we see in this story is the beginning of Jesus the Son of God demonstrating his being also the Wisdom of God. This Wisdom we hear of first in the books of the Old Testament especially Psalms, Proverbs, and the Wisdom of Solomon.
In the Scriptures, and especially in the Epistles of St. Paul, the wisdom of God is often contrasted with the wisdom of this world, or the wisdom of this present age: "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. His point is Christ’s suffering and dying for our salvation doesn’t make sense to this world; it doesn’t fit in with their ideas of cunning, trickery, and “street smartness”.
More and more the world wants us to conform to its model. And it is all too easy to “go with the flow” and forget for a time that we Christians must follow another path, one that is more and more “the path less followed”. The wisdom of following Jesus instead of this world leads to true life because it is God’s will for us to do so. Recognizing true wisdom is necessary for us to survive this world’s temptations and treachery. And that wisdom is ours, to believe, and to understand, and to make our own, by the renewing of our mind, that we may prove what is God's will.
When we feel trapped in the darkness around us, let us remember the opening word’s of St. John’s Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” He is our light today and always.
Source: "Be not Conformed" by Dr. Robert Crouse
Bishop Edwin Tompkins