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Luke 2:41-52 - The second of three 'wise readings' after Christmas

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

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The parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem every year for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day's journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. 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. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, "Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety." He said to them, "Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.


This is the second of three optional Gospel readings that might be read aloud by a priest on the second Sunday after Christmas, Year C, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. If chosen, it will follow an Old Testament reading from Jeremiah, where the prophet wrote: “With weeping they shall come, and with consolations I will lead them back, I will let them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble.” Following that will come a singing of Psalm 84, where David wrote, “Happy are they who dwell in your house! they will always be praising you. Happy are the people whose strength is in you! those hearts are set on the pilgrims' way.” That set will precede a reading from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, where he wrote: “I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.

This optional reading might be confusing, as far as figuring out why it is selected for the second Sunday after Christmas. This reading is always an option on this particular Sunday in the Church lectionary, in all three years (A, B, C). However, if overlooked every year, due to the theme being well after his birth (twelve years), this one reading will be the only Gospel reading read aloud by a priest on the Feast of Saint Joseph (the husband of Mary), which is every March 19th, next coming in the second week of Lent in 2022.

As far as I am concerned, this reading seems fairly straightforward, telling of Joseph and Mary always going to Jerusalem for the Passover festival, with this one time they left Jesus behind. Having to come back to look for him, they found him in the Temple of Jerusalem, where he was showing his divine wisdom to great astonishment by the elders. The parents did not seem his divine powers were needed to be on display, while they were worried a twelve-year old boy was alone, without his parents, in a big city. Jesus took a scolding and then went home with his parents.

Good luck finding a priest willing to preach about that historic event, in these days when children get the run of the house and their parents, able to do as they please (usually that taught to them by elders in schools). This is why it would be overlooked on a day designated as ‘Christmassy.’ However, much is conveyed in this reading that is overlooked, simply because everyone sees young Jesus too old to be baby Jesus just born in Bethlehem.

What is deleted from the NRSV translation presented in church bulletins is the significance of the presence of the marker word “kai.” Because translators read the word as a useless stutter, which (to them) is overused, they disregard it altogether. They toss it out with the dirty bath water, having no belief that every word of divine Scripture is written with purpose. Yahweh tells His prophets what to write; and, they write it, without complaining, “Isn’t that too many kais?”

In this reading there are twelve verses. In those are found twenty-three uses of the word “kai,” with seven capitalized, beginning a verse. Three of the other lower-case “kais” lead three other verses; so, of twelve verses, ten begin with the word “kai.” That signifies much importance comes from these twelve verses.

If this were the Book of Elizabeth Warren, the word of choice would be “so,” which is such a useless way to begin a statement that everyone who listens to her politicize simply ignores her stuttering use of “so,” simply because their lips are so firmly kissing her every word [fortunately, there are not many of those around]. It is a word she so overuses that listeners find it irritating and tune her out. In that way, translators of Scripture also see the word "kai" as a useless irritation, so they tune it out of translation.

The word “kai” is a marker word that denotes: “importance to follow.” In the same way a period mark does not speak, but says, “Stop here,” and a comma mark does not speak, but says, “Pause here,” the word “kai” should not be translated as “and” [or thrown away as overuse by a ‘stuttering’ author – “you know”]. When the word is capitalized the marker word is elevated divinely to a higher level of importance. That high importance has been disregarded in the above translation.

Here is how to read these twelve verses (always reading slowly, so meaning can come to one through inspiration, not intellect):

41. Kai were going these parents of him down from year into Jerusalem this feast of this of Passover .

42. Kai when he was years twelve , having ascended they according to the custom of this feast .

43. kai having brought to an end these days , among this returning of them , stayed behind Jesus this boy in Jerusalem .

44. having thought now him existed him in their traveling company ¸ they went a day’s journey , kai began searching for him among these kinsmen kai these acquaintances .

45. kai not having found (in the search) , they turned back to Jerusalem , seeking him .

46. Kai it happened after days three , they found him in the temple , sitting among in the middle of these teachers kai listening with comprehension to them kai interrogating them .

47. were amazed now all them hearing him on the basis of this understanding kai these answers of him .

48. Kai having attended to him , they were astonished , kai said to him this mother of him , Child why have you done to us in this manner ? behold! , this father of you , and I , suffering in pain were searching for you .

49. Kai he said to them , Why because you seeking for me ? not remembered you that into these of this Father of me it is necessary they exist me ?

50. kai they not understood this word this he spoke to them .

51. Kai he descended with them kai went to Nazareth , kai he existed obedient to them . kai this mother of him was keeping carefully all these things spoken < here > in this inner self of her .

52. Kai Jesus progressed in this wisdom kai maturity , kai in grace alongside of God kai a man .

When these selected verses are read in this manner, where every segment is shown separated from the others (by punctuation, use of kai, or verse transition), there are forty segments. Each segment must be seen as a separate statement coming from the Mind of Yahweh, written through His prophet Luke. Of those forty, twenty-three are found important to understand, with everything found in ten of the twelve verses most important information being passed on in words.

Here is a breakdown of what is written:

Importantly: Joseph and Mary yearly went from Nazareth to Jerusalem for the Passover festival, which was eight days every year. This is an important statement of devotion to Yahweh, as Jews who knew their vows to Yahweh included always recognizing the festivals He deemed necessary to maintain. Still, this has an important subplot.

Nazareth was a town established by Essenes as a place for their priests who maintained their temple on Mount Carmel. Zechariah was one who lived in a town across the valley, where Galilee changed to Samaria. With the verses in Luke 1 telling this story of Zachariah and Elizabeth, the temple where Zechariah was burning incense was the one on Mount Carmel. Then, when Luke 1 tells of Mary knowing of her being pregnant - the birth of Jesus - and Elizabeth is also pregnant (6 months) - Mary runs down the valley, into Samaria to Zechariah's house. This says the families in Nazareth were leaned towards being Essenes.

In the subsequent move into Egypt, told to Joseph in a divine dream, the family left Nazareth until it was safe to come back. While in Egypt, Joseph learned a trade (carpentry). In Matthew 1:19 we are told that Joseph was “a righteous man,” or one who “existed righteously.” This means he most likely was also an Essene priest, whose move from Bethlehem to Nazareth was to be close to the temple on Mount Carmel. However, as part of the move to Egypt being to learn a craft, his return to Nazareth was to appear more ‘mainstream,’ as one who recognized the Passover in Jerusalem. The Essenes did not pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover. That little known fact being known in Luke 2:41 is then stating the importance of Joseph and Mary traveling each year to Jerusalem. That becomes a statement of their hiding the depth of their devotion to Yahweh, so they did not stand out more to their neighbors as zealots, drawing ire from the influx of priests to Nazareth that were devoted more to the Temple in Jerusalem than to Yahweh.

Importantly: Jesus is now twelve years of age, which means he is on the verge of being deemed a man. On his thirteenth birthday, as is the custom for all Jewish males, his bar mitzva would be recognized. Because we are told that Mary was visited by Gabriel in the sixth month [Elul in the Hebrew calendar], with Elul the equivalent of the timing when the sun has entered the astrological sign of Virgo [Latin for “Virgin”], nine months later would mean Jesus’ birthday would be when the sun had entered into the astrological sign “Gemini,” equivalent to the Hebrew month Sivan, when the festival of Shavuot is on the 6th each year. With the inns all full when Jesus was born, but empty after (so his mother could be moved into a house in Bethlehem), it makes sense he was born around 5 Sivan. With Passover always between 14 and 21 Nisan, this statement of age says Jesus’ thirteenth birthday was less than two months away.

importantly: The “having brought to an end those days” is less about the end of an eight-day period recognizing the feast of Passover. The greater importance is the Jews in Jerusalem, including all the pilgrims who also attended yearly because of devotion to a Commandment, none of the people coming (Jewish by race and religion) had a clue as to why they did what they did, other than it marked a historical event of their ancestors in Egypt having been freed and led out by Moses. This must be seen as relative to why Jesus “stayed behind in Jerusalem.”

The journey to Nazareth from Jerusalem took two days. No one traveled alone, as a “caravan” of family and neighbors, gaining more along the way, would have ‘safety in numbers’ by everyone being together. As far as pilgrims from more distant lands going to Jerusalem for the Passover festival, it would not make sense for them to travel back to their homes after eight days there, only to have to return for a short Shavuot festival – after a counting of fifty days. The long-distance travelers would remain in the places where they would lodge, not returning home. This says the only ones traveling north to Nazareth were those Jews who only had to travel two days to be home. They could then return for the obligatory Shavuot festival, after being home a month or so. It was then in the large “caravan” of Nazareth Jews that it would be normal for a twelve-year old son to not stay close to his parents, as he would find others his own age to walk with and do youngster things together with. It was then when the caravan stopped and set up camp for the night that Jesus was found missing, leading them to search all the tents put up by their family and friends.

importantly: Jesus not being found in the large gathering camped a day outside of Jerusalem, then led Joseph and Mary to return to Jerusalem alone. Here, it should be understood that Joseph had children from his prior marriage before Mary, with those children now grown men and women, with families of their own. It could be possible that a couple of adult males returned with Joseph and Mary, to keep them safe and help them search a big city, which would still be crowded with pilgrims from afar. They would have searched for Jesus all along the way, retracing all their steps. In that, it should be assumed that Joseph’s brother lived in Emmaus, which was about seven miles west of Jerusalem; so, they would have returned there, most likely to spend the night.

Importantly: That would be a day’s travel north, followed by a day’s travel south, so on the “third day” they would reenter Jerusalem, which would have led them up the mountain to the Temple. Again, the city would be abuzz with activity; but Joseph and Mary would find Jesus in the Temple with a gathering of priests-teachers of the law surrounding him. Jesus, as “a child,” as “a boy,” would importantly be listening to their questions and importantly asking them questions in return. Jesus knew full well what the Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes were saying and asking; but his returning questions with questions to them was the Jesus style we read of in his ministry, where giving the answers never has the greater effect of making one see for himself (or herself) what the answers to their own questions are.

The question led the “teachers” to understand their own lack of understanding, so they were amazed by his asking them questions in return. importantly: they hear themselves answering their questions about the meaning of Scripture – words they had long memorized but always questioned what the words meant. The thoughts entering their brains were coming Spiritually form this “boy” Jesus.

Importantly: We cannot assume that only Joseph and Mary were “astonished” by “seeing” Jesus in the Temple. The reality is Jesus had been in the Temple of Jerusalem for over two days, where he was deemed so important a presence that the “teachers” were the ones “having attended to him,” making his time there be comfortable and safe. This was because the “teachers” were “astonished” and “amazed” by his presence among them. Still, it was in that presence of priests-teachers that Joseph and Mary were likewise “amazed.” Thus, importantly, Mary spoke to Jesus, asking him “why he had done this to his parents”? The looks on their faces were pained from having not known where their “Child” (capitalized as knowing Jesus was the “Son of Yahweh”). The separation of Joseph as “the father of you” was said as an “adopted son” of an earthly “father,” but to separate “and I” as Mary making it known she was the true mother of Yahweh’s Son, she begged Jesus to look at the pain a mother felt from not knowing where her baby boy was.

Importantly: Jesus answered his mother as he had answered the “teachers,” by asking her a question in return. When he asked, “Why because you seeking for me?” the word “Ti,” which is a divinely elevated meaning applied to a word that questions, “Why, What, Who, Which,” or “How,” while adding to explain the reason” [from “because”] for “seeking.” This becomes Yahweh speaking through the Son, asking ”Why” anyone would “seek” Jesus. Jesus then asked Mary to recall her having been given his Spirit, when she was divinely made pregnant with the Son of Yahweh. The answer to her question is then relative to “What brought her the right to call herself the mother of the Son of Yahweh?” Jesus had stayed behind in Jerusalem “because” there were no “teachers” who understood Scripture. For them to understand that which they taught, like Mary and Joseph, it was “necessary they [other souls] exist in him.” This is Jesus explaining the meaning of true Christmas, when a soul-flesh has become one with the soul of Jesus.

importantly: The “teachers” did not understand the “word” spoken by the prophets, which was everything that existed in the Torah and the Psalms and the Prophets. Likewise, Mary and Joseph still did not understand either, as their lives were still focused on meeting all the needs and expectations of family and friends. Everyone who encountered Jesus struggled to grasp the meaning of what he said, because none of them were wholly fused with his soul, one with theirs. That would not come until Jesus had died and released his soul to the Father, so it could then be returned in that manner to His soul-wives.

Importantly: Jesus then left the Temple of Jerusalem and “descended” down the mountain to the road that importantly led to Nazareth. He would become identified as Jesus of Nazareth; but that would be twenty years into the future. importantly: Jesus would remain “obedient” to his parents, until the time came when he would be led by the Father to enter an educational ministry that began his vast travels of learning how others understood divine texts. importantly: Mother Mary would carefully keep up with what Jesus needed to do, so she could accept his calling was not to do her will. The connection between Mary and Jesus was internal [the word “here” is placed within brackets, indicating a silent, unseen ability to communicate], on a psychic level. This means Mary knew Jesus would not remain close to Nazareth for long, as he was destined for greater things. Still, she was always linked to Jesus by her soul being in tune to his.

Importantly: The segment that says, “Jesus progressed in his wisdom” is a prophecy of his travels east, to India and Persia, before returning to his homeland. As the Son of Yahweh, Jesus would not make these travels to become smarter. He would go to learn the ways of people are similar, almost the same everywhere. His personal experiences would importantly lead him to “maturity,” as the Messiah. importantly: wherever Jesus went he was a soul possessed by the Spirit of Yahweh, as His Son, therefore side-by-side with “God.” This is a reflection of how all who will be reborn as Jesus must also be – soul within soul of Jesus, so two souls walk “beside God” anew. This is importantly why Jesus was born as “a man” of a human mother. Jesus was a projection of what all true Christians must be – “a man” or “of mankind” reborn as Jesus.

As a reading choice that can be read aloud by a priest on the second Sunday after Christmas, the point to see here is why the after Christmas is important. It is when one “matures” as Jesus reborn and takes understanding of Scripture to the world. Yahweh is not looking to make megastars out of ordinary human beings, placing them on pedestals like popes, bishops, and grand poohbahs of political parties or heads of state. Yahweh sent his Son so his soul would be released to bring divine insight into the truth; and, then to lead others to the same understandings, all while suffering the pains of seeking to find the inner Jesus.

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