Words Matter and Muddle!

Luke 2:41-52 The Message Translation

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me” is a stock response to verbal bullying in school playgrounds throughout the English-speaking world.  It sounds a little antiquated these days and has no doubt been superseded by more streetwise comebacks.  The earliest citation found is from an American periodical with a largely black audience, The Christian Recorder, March 1862: Remember the old adage, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.”  It goes on to say, “True courage consists in doing what is right, despite the jeers and sneers of our companions.”

In the only passage in the Bible, Luke offers a glance of Jesus’ childhood and again creates an invitation for his readers to be shaken by the words that he writes.  Words matter in our society.  It’s not only what we say but also how we say what we say.

Although there are multiple characters in the text, there are only two named characters exchanging words, Jesus and Mary.

Clear communications between people are essential!
Every year Jesus’ parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover.  When he was twelve years old, they went up as they always did for the Feast.  When it was over and they left for home, the child Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents didn’t know it.  Thinking he was somewhere in the company of pilgrims, they journeyed for a whole day and then began looking for him among relatives and neighbors.  When they didn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem looking for him.

Words have positive and negative consequences/power!
The next day they found him in the Temple seated among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions.  The teachers were all quite taken with him, impressed with the sharpness of his answers.  But his parents were not impressed; they were upset and hurt.  His mother said, “Young man, why have you done this to us?  Your father and I have been half out of our minds looking for you.”

 Be careful how you say what you say!
He said, “Why were you looking for me?  Didn’t you know that I had to be here, dealing with the things of my Father?”  But they had no idea what he was talking about.

 We are all on a journey toward maturity!
So he went back to Nazareth with them, and lived obediently with them.  His mother held these things dearly, deep within herself.  And Jesus matured, growing up in both body and spirit, blessed by both God and people.

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“Always think before you speak!”

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