Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.…
You have, perhaps, seen a beautiful rose, soon after it has unfolded its blossom. You looked at it yesterday, as you passed it in the garden, or watered it in the window, and it was only a rosebud, a little knot of fragrant petals, wrapped up together and clinging to one another. You visit it to-day, and you find that during the night a change has taken place. The knot has untied itself, the petals have separated from one another, and now form, not a knot, but a little cup, in which are some drops of the morning dew, a cup more delicately tinted than the finest porcelain, and breathing forth delicious odours. The rose has just opened its breast to the sun. But how long a time has it taken to bring about this result! First, there was the planting the root, which lay under the soil all the winter, and showed no sign of life. But though it showed no sign of life, it was not dead. Nursed for a time by the warmth and moisture of the earth, it was bursting underground; and in the spring it pushed up a little green sprout, which very gradually became a stem, and the stem grew taller every day, and at length a bud formed as the crown of it. And the bud swelled and swelled day by day, and at length one morning you found it with its breast open as I have described. And all this was done quite secretly, without any noise to call attention to it. Now, in the Song of Solomon, our Lord, speaking of Himself by the mouth of the prophet, calls Himself "the Rose of Sharon." And in Isaiah it is foretold of Christ, "He shall grow up before Him" (i.e., before God) "as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground." And this opening of the rose is something like the opening of our Lord's human soul, when He reached the age of twelve. Up to that period the Gospel history is quite silent as to anything thought, or said, or done by Him. No doubt much was going on in His human mind; no doubt He had many thoughts and feelings, all of them holy, pure, and beautiful, the exact model of what a child's thoughts and feelings ought to be; but God has screened them from us, and not been pleased to tell us what they were. At twelve years old, however, the bud unfolds itself; our blessed Lord becomes fully conscious who He is; and we hear Him speaking and calling God His Father, and are allowed a glimpse into His mind and thoughts. And what beautiful fragrant thoughts they are! Do not estimate the importance of events, then, by the noise they make in the world. The events which startle us most are not always those of greatest consequence. Men often stare and gaze at that which is the least worthy of attention. What is it, think you, which interests the holy angels most? a great battle? a great triumph? the fall of a great city or a great empire? Rather it is the growth and progress of God's kingdom in the hearts of single persons — the battle against sin which this man is fighting in Christ's strength, the triumph over sin which that man is winning by Christ's grace; in a word, the inner life of men, the life of the immortal spirit — not that life which is acted in history, and related by historians. And the better and holier we become, the more shall we be interested in what interests God and holy angels.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.