The below article was written by Dr. Eugene Murphey and was published in The Tower newsletter of February 2005.
In the twenty-first century, we live in a world of high quality moving pictures, video and DVD images and all kinds of media manipulations. Sometimes we are overwhelmed by the plethora of visual records, and yet when we view art in still form such as a great painting or a photograph, we still can be moved, inspired or even changed by these images. This is certainly the case with the stained glass windows in the sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church. These beautiful panels were placed there not just to add beauty to the sanctuary but also to tell the wonderful story that is basic to our Christian faith.
The earlier issues of The Tower we have looked at the windows depicted the prediction, the birth, and the recognition of Jesus Christ as the Son of God on earth. Now we proceed down the east wall of the nave to see a representation of the earliest record we have of Christ’s youth when, as we are told by Luke 2:41-52, Jesus was taken by his parents to the Passover Festival in Jerusalem. After three days, when the festival was over, villagers started their return journey to Nazareth and di not realize that their oldest son, then twelve years old, was not with them. Mary and Joesph returned immediately to Jerusalem and searched for him for three days before finding him in the Temple sitting with the teachers, listening and talking with them and amazing them with his intelligence and knowledge of the scriptures. His parents were very happy to find him but scolded him, his mother asking, ‘Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been terribly worried trying to find you.’ Luke tells us that Jesus answered them with two puzzling questions. ‘Why did you have to look for me? Did you not know that I had to be in my Father’s house?’ They did not understand his answer, but they returned to Nazareth where he was obedient to them, and Mary treasured all these things in her heart. We have no other record of Jesus’ youth after this except that he grew in body and wisdom, gaining favor with God and men.
This is the theme of the fourth window where we see Jesus speaking with the Jewish teachers in the Temple. In the background, Mary and Joseph are entering the Temple and finding their supposedly lost son, A symbol for the fountain of wisdom is located at the bottom of the panel.
-Eugene M. Murphey, M.D.