They up and left for Egypt and parts unknown. Jesus disappears from the pages of scripture. We do have one curious story. Maybe Mary and Jospeh forgot him or they just didn’t notice that he wasn’t with him until they reached the ancient exit ramp outside the walls of the Holy City. Even that story underscores his elusive nature. I can’t fault the parents. I often forget to take take Jesus home from church. When I cry out, “God, where are you?,” it comforts me to know that Mary and Joseph asked that question, too.
Other than that story, He was missing, hidden… a mystery. There’s no record of anything He said, but He was there. The people of Nazareth knew him as the carpenter’s son and as far as anything else, scripture leaves us guessing. Why don’t we get to peek into the scriptural home movies of Sabbath school adventures featuring the 8-year-old Jesus. Why no literary snapshots of the 15, 18 or even 28 year old rabbi? Perhaps even in His silence there was a message. Jesus, the Word made flesh, simply needed to dwell among us. He observed before he spoke. He witnessed before he acted. He experienced first-hand the iron fist of the Roman Empire. He saw the cultural and religious injustice in plain sight. Jesus became a witness of the mess of it all for 30 years. He developed a personal history of his own humanity before one divine word or supernatural deed. Again, He became flesh and dwelt among us. Before the battle of the ages, He had sandals on the ground for years so that he could weep, celebrate, observe, and be God with us.
I don’t know your story, but I’ve waited years for a divine act or word in certain unrealized aspects of my life. I remember the hidden years and I wait for the voice crying in the wilderness who will (I must not doubt…) cry out, “Behold the Lamb!Jesus is our example and archetype of God as listener. Jesus reminds me that I can’t act or speak and truly listen. Perhaps stopping, listening, observing and showing up before we speak or act is the key to living in step with Jesus. And though cloaked in veil of silence and mystery, Jesus is still God with us all.