(Originally posted on March 23, 2012)
I never attended a prom. Back in my day, with a certain number of credits, short of a diploma, we could obtain a “certificate,” which had no value beyond getting out of classes you hated, which was pretty much all of them for me. Today, you’re just labeled a loser and drop-kicked into the world to fend for yourself.
But prom prep is coming very soon to a high school near you. It’s time for the annual dress shopping and thirty-day diet protocol; time for the reality check that, for some like me, no one would invite you if you begged and paid for a date with the biggest loser in school. It’s humiliating.
Who knows, maybe it would have happened if a guy like Mike Stone had been around in my day. Here’s the headline I caught in the news a few days ago that prompted this post. Granted, our friend here may have had a different motive than Jesus. But who’s to judge anyway?
Teen’s porn star date to prom scuttled by district officials.
Now back to Jesus. I know, I know, there’s nothing in scripture about Jesus’ prom. Do you know why? Why is there nothing about him from the age of twelve to thirty-three when he began his ministry? Did you ever wonder about that? Well, I have a theory (of course, you do, Linda!).
When Jesus got in trouble for going off to the Temple without telling his parents, that was just the beginning of his rebellious streak. His teen years were just around the corner. The hair instantly stands up on the back of the neck of any parent who has raised teenagers – can I get an AMEN?!
On his thirteenth birthday, Jesus invited all the misfits in the neighborhood, and a few clowns with balloons, to his party, along with his snooty relatives, and they were livid! After that, his relatives refused to attend his birthday parties, which was fine because they were too stuffy anyway!
I’m sure the real challenge for Mary and Joseph was the unexpected letter from Jesus’ principal just before graduation. Fortunately, they hadn’t rented his tux yet. The letter read:
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Joseph (last name unknown),
I regret to inform you that we have had to administer an out-school suspension for Jesus. As a result, he will not be allowed to attend graduation ceremonies or prom. We have repeatedly discussed with him the school “rules”, yet he has continued to defy them. We have given him ample opportunities to follow the regulations required of all our students and feel we have no other choice in the matter. Below you will find the documented offenses:
Jesus has demonstrated a refusal to adhere to the precepts of submission to his teachers and repeatedly questions their authority to run roughshod over the troublemakers. He seems to have a misguided concern for the poor, the meek, and the place of women in our society. We have laws and customs, you know! You really need to talk to him about that. We would also caution you to be more aware of these people he is associating with. You know – birds of a feather! I’m just sayin’.
He will receive his diploma by postal carrier.
Principle, Nazareth High School (Go, Lions!)
Now, do you see why scripture writers probably skipped over this period of Jesus’ life? They collectively decided that teens are too easily influenced by their peers, which could tick off parents. Anyway, back to that dreadful letter…
The letter arrives. Then…that dreaded, you know you’re in trouble, summons, “JESUS!” (No middle name here either; too bad. Middle names are critical for a parent’s emphasis! So it loses some of its oomph.) But Jesus knew what was coming. “Dad, I can explain.” Joseph was calm and attentive, “Okay, I’m listening.” Joseph was actually proud of his son but contained himself because Mary was listening from the kitchen.
This conversation ended as you might expect – with a parable! (This is where he got the material for his later ministry, trying it out on mom and dad.)
“See dad; there’s this rich guy who prepared a banquet. He first invited all the “important” people. But they all had some lame excuse not to attend. Now he’s furious thinking of the rejection and the money he wasted on those ingrates. So, he went to Plan B. He ordered more pizza, rented a big ole bus, grabbed the servant, and ordered him not to return until he rounded up every misfit he could find. It’s party time! Pizza and beer with true friends trumps wealth, fame, and fortune! (Luke 14:16-24). Joseph gave him a high-five and assured Mary it was all straightened out.
So, I’ll ask you again – would Jesus take a porn star to his prom?
Of course, he would have (not as a date, silly!), but along with every lost and broken person God loved and the “popular kids” rejected. And what a grand time they would have had!