Luke 2:41 – 52 Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
At age 12, Jesus was teetering on the border of childhood and manhood. When traveling, the women and children would have stayed together, and the men would have stayed together. Since Jesus could have legitimately traveled with either group, I can understand why Mary and Joseph each thought their son was with the other. When they realized he was missing, they had traveled for about one day.
Frantic, they turned around and headed back to Jerusalem. I can imagine their panic; after all, Nazareth was a small town. Jerusalem was a big, bustling city. Can you imagine your child being lost in the streets of Houston or London or Beijing? I would have been a nervous wreck!
They traveled on foot, and I’ll bet they asked each person they saw on the way, “Have you seen our son? He’s twelve years old. He’s about this tall, dark hair, gentle brown eyes . . . ” It took them one day to get back to Jerusalem. Then, on the next day of searching, they found him at the temple. He was talking with the teachers as if he were their equal! Mary and Joseph were astonished, for they didn’t see him this way. Yes, they knew he had a special calling on his life. But to them, he was just their little boy. And he was in a heap of trouble.
“Jesus, how could you do this to us?” Mary scolded. “Do you have any idea how worried we have been?”
To which Jesus replied, “I don’t understand why you had to look for me. Didn’t you know I’d be right here, about my Father’s business?”
Jesus was not being a smart-alec. He was simply a boy on the brink of manhood. And as most boys ready to become men, He was anxious to go ahead and make the leap. The fact that he went with them, and was obedient to them after that, shows that he was willing to play the part perfectly. He may have been on the brink of manhood, but he wasn’t a man yet. So he bid his time.
I wonder how much of my life I have spent going about my Father’s business. I’m afraid that far too much of my time is spent going about my own business, and has little to do with what God wants for me. Yet, just as Jesus made the choices to honor and serve God in all things – right down to being obedient to his parents – I can make those choices, too.
In my job – am I honoring God? In the clothes I wear, and the television shows I watch – am I honoring God? Does my daily “business” coincide with God’s desires for me, or not? Jesus was about His Father’s business every day of His life. And I want my life to be the same – every day, about my Father’s business.
Dear Father, Thank You for the example that Jesus set, even at such a young age. I want to be about Your business in my life.
For a second cup, see: Exodus 23:15, 17 & 34:23; Deuteronomy 16:1, 16; Matthew 7:28; Mark 1:22 & 4:22, 32; John 2:16, 9:45 & 18:34; Luke 3:19, 40; Daniel 7:28; 1 Samuel 2:26