Here are some thoughts on the idea of thinking and intellect.
Have you ever wondered how it was that Jesus was able to hold a conversation and engage in a discussion with the scribes and teachers in the Temple when he was twelve (Luke 2: 41 – 52)? Did He just “know all that stuff”? Or was it possible that, before going to Jerusalem that year, He might have been studying with the other children in his neighborhood in Nazareth, learning about God and the relationship between God and His children?
Now, I will be honest. For a long time, I thought that because Jesus was the Son of God, He already knew the answers. After all, didn’t He tell Mary, his mother, when she and Joseph found Him in the Temple that they should have known that He would have been there doing His Father’s business.
Or was there another reason. Remember that Jesus was twelve when this story takes place and that is the time when we all begin to see ourselves as individuals and begin our own personal rite of passage into the adult world, filled with its responsibilities and obligations, and maturity.
And being twelve, Jesus would have begun what we now call confirmation class. For some, confirmation class is the process of becoming a member of the church of their parents. And all one has to do is memorize a few selected Bible verses and take part in a couple of worship services. But it is really more than that; it is about finding out who we are as individuals and how God is a part of what makes us those individuals.
There are some who disdain the study and work that must take place during confirmation but it is through that study and work that we find the directions for the journey that we are to take, a journey that takes us from the here and now to the far away future. We begin to find doors that were never opened for us now open and paths that we didn’t even know existed. Confirmation is the first step we take in the faith world, and with that step, we begin to accept the responsibilities that are part of being confirmed.
Surely as a child growing up in Nazareth, Jesus looked at the world around Him and wondered why things were the way they were. Even if Jesus did know that He was God’s son, He still must have wondered about the world in which He lived. He surely saw more than just the world and the animals that inhabited the world; he saw the people, his neighbors and friends, struggling to make ends meet and raise families like his (earthly) parents were trying to do. He surely had to have had lots and lots of questions, questions that were perhaps beyond the knowledge of His local teachers.
So when Jesus came to the Temple, He was continuing a journey that began when He began what was His own version of confirmation class. He came to the Temple with many questions and perhaps many answers and an understanding of who He was and what He was to do.
When we began our own confirmation class, we perhaps had no idea where it would lead. But as we proceeded through the class we began to know more about ourselves and what God has called us to do.