[Read Part 1 of A Tale of Three Boxes here.]
As the years passed, the father grew more and more proud of his wise sons. He was intrigued with their new faith in this Jesus, Child King of the Jews, and he sat with them often to listen to their impassioned intercourse on their favorite topic.
The decision was made to follow up on their visit with regular journeys to Jerusalem and surrounding areas, to find this Jesus and observe His story. Their first return was five years after His birth. They inquired and investigated until they found Him in Nazareth, living the life of a carpenter’s son with His parents and siblings. They stayed in Nazareth for some few months. The visiting father was amazed, hearing the story of Jesus’ birth straight from His parents, along with details and remembrances of the five years since. The father and his sons delighted in chatting with Jesus and watching the interaction with those around Him. They took their leave, finally, with many hugs and promises of future visits.
They made the journey every few years, each time marveling and learning. The father was proud to travel with his sons and their growing families. It was the year when Jesus was twelve that they found Him in Jerusalem, in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; it was in this year that the visiting father looked at his sons with a new light in his eyes. The chatter on their way home was filled with excitement as the father exulted with his sons: he understood now, he knew and believed that this child was God’s Savior to the world.
As the years continued, the visiting family wondered how this King of the Jews would rule. He was certainly wise and just and gentle and kind – but poor! How would He come into His throne?
Finally the time came when the father was unable to journey with his sons. But he bad his sons urgently to continue the visits, and waited with enthused wonderment until they returned to him, filled with new stories and wisdom. One year they returned with a story of Jesus’ miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding feast. This was the first they’d heard that He did such things, though they were not surprised, knowing Him as they did.
One day the father and his sons were mingling at the marketplace when they heard word of betrayal and crucifixion. Immediately they knew they must hurry to Jerusalem to find the state of affairs. The boys left their families at home, not knowing how things stood, and their father exhorted them to take a care, watch out for harm, and return to him having full understanding of what had transpired.
The sons, now growing gray, arrived in Jerusalem in due time, and went straightly to see Mary. Expecting sorrow upon sorrow and dread, they were exceeding surprised to find a joyful mother, now under the roof of a man, John. They listened, incredulously, to her recitation of the events: Jesus’ miracles, His following, the religious leaders’ persecution, the awful day of His arrest and accompanying trepidation, the horror of the crucifixion. Then the antithetical shift to joy at seeing Him again, of worshiping Him, of watching as He returned to His Heavenly Father. And, finally, the eternal joy of being indwelt with God Himself, the Holy Spirit. The sons met Peter and other of the apostles, confirming all this and confessing even more. They made sure to invite all they knew to visit their own home, to share the Good News and provide current accounts.
The sons danced and rejoiced all the way home. They embraced their father with the joyous news, and spent days explaining and relating all they’d heard. Together they knelt and worshiped. They and all their household were baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and set out to spread the Gospel to all they met.