Not everyone appreciated the boy questioning the teachers while inside the Temple.
I couldn’t believe how this audacious child could amaze so many of my brethren. The commoners, sure, they didn’t know better, but not the other Pharisees. Couldn’t they see how he insulted us by his very questions, as though he somehow knew more than what had taken us years to learn?
I watched all this even as I tried to teach my own students. But as soon as they heard this waif of a child speak, they turned away from me to listen to him. Furious, I dismissed them and stepped outside to calm myself.
When I returned mere minutes later, even more people had surrounded the boy to listen. I stepped to the side, out of sight, yet close enough to see and hear. I could feel my face burn as he continued to ask his questions about why we should be teaching about the importance of ritual and ceremony instead of God’s love and faithfulness. Those who listened nodded their heads in agreement, their eyes glazed over as though hypnotized. I knew then it would take me weeks, if not months to undo the damage he wrought in my students’ impressionable minds.
I turned away for a moment, trying to think up a way to get rid of this child who dared to question, not only his elders, but the religious establishment as a whole. I wanted to tell him that he knew nothing and that he needed to leave, but every time I opened my mouth to speak, someone hushed me or pushed me back.
That’s when I saw them. A man and a woman were walking by and looking frantic. I studied the woman, then looked back at the boy. They had the same eyes. He had parents after all.
I grinned and ran to catch up to them.
“Excuse me,” I said. “Do you need some help?”
The man, older than the woman and having the callused hands of a carpenter said, “Yes. Our child is lost, a boy about twelve years old.”
I could hardly contain my excitement. “There is a boy in the Temple. For three days he’s been there, and I have seen no sign of his parents.”
Without another word, they ran inside. I followed not a step behind.
What happened next astonished me further. While they admonished him for not obeying and forcing them to search for him, he merely stared at them not even remotely contrite.
When they finished he asked, “But why did you need to search? Didn’t you know that I must be in my father’s house?”
I’m certain my expression was as confused as theirs. Just what did he mean by that?
My confusion vanished, replaced with relief when the boy's parents took his hand and led him away, for what I hoped would be forever.
Something told me, however, I had not seen the last of that boy called Jesus.