The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: S

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Samuel, and Jesus in temple

Perhaps this lovely story of 1Sa 3 may provide the answer to a question which arises in the life of Jesus: How (and when) did Jesus come to know of his Divine parentage? It may be that Mary and Joseph revealed this to him, but then again the Bible does not say so. We do know that Mary very modestly refrained from telling Joseph of the conception of Jesus, waiting instead until God, in His own time, made matters clear. It would be in keeping with her character if she and Joseph likewise refrained from explaining to Jesus who his real father was, knowing that God would choose His own method to explain Himself.

If this were so, then when and how did God tell Jesus? The record is silent; but perhaps the story of the child Samuel provides a key. The similarities between Samuel and Jesus are many: each a special conception, each a holy child, each dedicated by a righteous mother to the service of God. A Bible-directed imagination may supply the rest:

It was night and the child Jesus, now twelve years old, lay down to sleep near the Temple of God in Jerusalem, where he had come with his family to keep the Passover (Luk 2:41,42). That night the Lord called Jesus, and he answered, 'Here I am.' He came to Joseph, who was sleeping nearby: 'Here I am, father; you called me.' But Joseph replied, 'I didn't call; it was only a dream.' And Jesus went to lie down again. The Lord called yet again, 'Jesus!', and again he went to Joseph, only to find that he had not called. A third time the same thing happened. Finally the light dawned for Joseph and Mary, and they knew the source of the calls. 'Go, Jesus, lie down: and it shall be, when the call comes again, you must say, "Speak, Father; for Thy Son heareth." '

Thus, perhaps, in or near the courts of his Father's house, the child Jesus (the same age, 12, as Samuel had been?) followed that voice to his first meeting with his true Father. And thus began that majestic, mysterious communion like no other. Through so many long nights, on mountaintops, by the seaside, and in crowded cities, he spoke with the Father. And Jesus grew, and the Lord was with him, and let none of his words fall to the ground.
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