Skewing the Basic Facts of Scripture

POSTED 14 JANUARY, 2008

I was recently talking to a Messianic friend of mine who had just attended church over a week ago while visiting relatives out of town. This church is fairly large, with several Sunday services that serve well over a thousand in attendance. The service lasts one hour. There are some announcements, some praise songs, and then the pastor puts his Bible down on a barstool and speaks off-the-cuff for twenty minutes. Everything he says, as far as I was told, was spoken spontaneously.

Last week, this pastor apparently was speaking on the encounter of Yeshua with the teachers in the Temple complex (Luke 2:41-42). This is certainly a familiar scene for many of us, as Joseph and Mary’s family had visited Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, and on their way back to Galilee they notice that Yeshua is not with their traveling party. They have to turn around and go back to Jerusalem to find Him.

The pastor, trying to make a joke I assume, flippantly declared how concerned Mary must have been for the young Jesus—only twelve—being in the Temple. She would have been ranting at Joseph and haggling him, no different than any Twenty-First Century American housewife, at why he let Him get away.

As it was reported to me, why would Jesus want to have been in the Temple, anyway? Surely he was too young at the age of twelve to have been there. The pastor said that Mary would have asked Joseph, “Why couldn’t you have let Him wait until He was 16?!”

Upon hearing this, my Messianic friend did not know what to do. Did this pastor really not prepare his sermon for Sunday? Or did he really not understand First Century Judean Jewish culture?

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