035 | Intersection of Belief & Life

His parents found him after searching three days. Jesus was 12 years old.
"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?"

But they did not understand what he was saying to them. (Luke 2:49-50)
Why didn't Jesus' parents understand? Of all those who knew Jesus they should have seen it pretty clearly. How could they not understand that he was the son of God and when he was speaking of the Father he was speaking of his father - God Almighty.

Not only had Joseph and Mary, at this point, spent 12 years raising Jesus as their son, but they were visited by angels before his birth informing them of the greatest news ever given: the Son of God was coming to earth to save his people. Their son would be the promised Messiah, the Savior of the World.

Read or listen to the entire account by Luke of Jesus at the age of 12 hanging out with some Jewish teachers in the temple courts.


But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:30-35)


But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:20-21)
It is so easy to say they should have understood what Jesus was saying here, but we have been blessed with hindsight. We have the written word of God spelled out for us in black and white. We have the words of Jesus and the events that surrounded him laid out before us through the eyes of 4 different people. We have God's plan for humankind laid out before us in letters written by some of his followers. All written down under the guidance of God the Holy Spirit.

As I think about what they did know I can better appreciate why they may have not immediately understood. Yes they had been told through angles who Jesus was and why he came. They had been told essentially the big picture, but Jesus had not yet started explaining his mission to everyone and he wouldn't for another 17 years. Not to mention there was no cross, death, or resurrection to put it all into perspective.

When I look at what I understand about God and his son Jesus I know I am missing much even under the light of the whole of scripture. I can read parts of scripture over and over again and not really understand. Light bulbs do go on here and there and my understanding grows as I study, pray, and apply what I read in the Word to my life. Seeing the lack of understanding by Joseph and Mary in this account helps me to realize that complete understanding does not come all at once, if ever really in this life.

Really Random I think we have a tendency to look at faith like an academic exercise where we sit down and study the Bible during a certain period of time and then take a test, earn some kind of religions certification, and then we are done. We are now faith literate and we can now apply it all. The more I read the Bible the less academic I find it and the more challenged I feel in my faith. The more I see a intangible interconnection between the words of God, a personal relationship, and life application. A connection between reading, believing, and living but not in a neat simple sequential fashion, but in a more seemingly random, back and forth, sometimes messy, sometimes surprising fashion.

My understanding of God's plan seems to become more clear at the intersection of belief and life. To put it another way for me clarity has somehow come through learning, believing, and living all at the same time. Learning what God has said through the words in the Bible, believing those words, and living out what I believe.

| More on the Essential Jesus journey. |

Photo credits: The first image in this post is titled "Question Mark ?" and was uploaded to flickr.com on May 4, 2005 by Leo Reynolds. The second image in this post is titled "Really Random" and it was uploaded to flickr.com by Dan Morelle on Oct. 28, 2007, 2:13AM PDT.


  1. Amen Brad! Let's all seek more of him to be more like him. let's read the Bible not as an academic book but the WORD of GOD. His corrections, rebukes, advices and comforting words for us.

  2. By the way I have linked to your site already. Thanks for the inpsiration!

    God Bless you more!

  3. Indeed, we must pray for ears to hear and eyes to see what God is teaching us through His Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, I to often come AT the Bible, versus coming TO the Bible, to be taught by, and to fellowship with, its Author.

  4. Excellent! I particularly liked how you emphasized that his parents did not understand what he was saying! I am adding that to my notes on another scripture that goes along those lines:

    Then He [Jesus] went home, and the crowd gathered again so that they were not even able to eat. (21) When His family heard this, they set out to restrain Him, because they said, "He's out of His mind." (Mar 3:20-21 HCSB)

    Yeah ... sometimes they did not understand him... other times they thought he was out of his mind.

    Blessings to you...

  5. It takes times and efforts to understand God's profound Word. But without God the Holy Spirit, we cannot come to Christ personally, not even His family members.

  6. You said: A connection between reading, believing, and living but not in a neat simple sequential fashion, but in a more seemingly random, back and forth, sometimes messy, sometimes surprising fashion.

    That's sure how it works here! I've done it all sorts of ways, even living it first, wondering what the heck is going on, believing it because it's right there and reading it later and only then really understanding what it was all about. Maybe it sometimes 'happens' backwards because at times I get stuck after reading and believing - those times when I totally understand but just don't like it.

  7. Reminder to self: Don't read the Bible as a text book but a personal letter from God.

    MIKES: Thanks for comments and the link.

    STEVE: Excellent way to put it.

    TECHNOHEAVEN: Yes, thank you, Mark 3:20-21 further illustrates the lack of understanding his immediate earthly family had about Him.

    YEOKEEHUI: Amen. Only by faith through revelation by the Holy Spirit. Not by our first birth.

    TMinut: So glad to see your back at blogging and thank you for your link to "Sound of a soft breath". Also, thanks for taking the time to leave such an insightful comment. God so much desires that we come to understand Him (the best we can as humans in this life) in a real and honest way. Not just in our brains but in our lives.

  8. Gotta agree with you. Great post.

  9. Come over and enter my giveaway it ends tonight :)
    ♥ HUGS ♥

  10. "Intersection of Belief and Life" caught my eye because it is very similar in title to a group I attend on Wednesday noons whenever possible at one of our churches downtown - they are luncheon-style devotional lessons geared to help Christians to be encouraged to live and share their faith in the workplace and it is called "Meeting at the Intersection of Faith and Life" - neat, huh?! I love your blog, and especially love being able to play the "listen" portions for my Mom who is in a nursing home and has difficulty seeing. Thank you for your ministry to our hearts! Sharon

  11. Thank you so much SHARON. Your comment has lifted my spirit. I am encouraged.


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