And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned (Joseph and Mary), the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem” Luke 2:43 KJV
And as they were returning (Joseph and Mary), after spending the full number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. Luke 2:43 NASB
The law required all Jewish males to ascend to Jerusalem three times in the year for the Feasts of Jehovah. As faithful Israelites, Joseph and his family made the trip. They abode the full seven days for the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. They fulfilled the requirement of the law. That is not to suggest any sense of begrudging duty or mere ceremonial observance.
No doubt a godly couple such as Joseph and Mary went with joy and delight to meet with the people of God and to mark the great occasion of the nation’s deliverance. But after seven days, they were ready to return to Nazareth. They had fulfilled the requirement of the law. Obedience had been rendered and no doubt God was honored by their faithfulness in a day of remnant testimony.
The law required seven days, but Jesus tarried in Jerusalem. Seven days were not enough for Him; He went the second mile. He was desirous of giving more than the law required. He tarried in Jerusalem and made His way to the Temple. His Father’s business beckoned Him. He would do more than the law required.
What marked Him out at the age of 12 was what characterized His life: He always went the “second mile.” He not only observed the law but fulfilled it. He not only kept the law, but He magnified. He not only observed the law, but He amplified its meaning, showing its deeper spiritual truth.
Commitment to the law’s observance was supplemented by unreserved consecration to its fulfillment. There was with Him no mere outward conformity, no observance of the letter without the spirit. He did not do just what was minimally required; He went beyond.
He alone loved the Lord His God with all his heart, mind, soul, and strength and His neighbor as Himself. Yet He went “a little farther” (Matthew 26:39) and gave Himself for us. He is the giver of life to all that has breath; yet, He went a little farther and gave His life to give us eternal life. He is the Creator of all yet gave Himself to usher in a new Creation.
Do I perform only the minimally required and feel satisfied or am I marked by consecration which goes the “second mile”?