Luke 2:41-52 (ESV)
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
One must wonder, How could Mary, whom the Angel Gabriel visited and told her that she would be the mother of Immanuel–God With Us–fail to understand that Jesus needed to be about His Father’s business? Maybe because, like us, Mary had a short memory. I am certain that on some level, Mary and Joseph knew that Jesus was only on loan from the Father, but it would probably be too easy to forget that Jesus’ purpose was not to be a carpenter forever, but to do much more. Joseph had to know that Jesus was not actually his son, yet he obviously treated Him as if He was his son. Mary’s confusion is easier to understand, as He was actually her son, as well as God’s Son. So why would they worry about Him? Why would they think that He should be anywhere but in the Temple? Because up to now, He has lived with them, as a “normal” child, being obedient to their wishes, and learning the trade of carpentry.
Joseph probably thought He would be taking over the family business. Although he also probably knew that at some point, Jesus would be doing the special task that He came to earth to fulfill. How much did Mary and Joseph understand about Jesus’ special purpose? We do not know. Perhaps they understood much more than we think. Perhaps, they just wanted Him to wait a little longer, because they loved Him, and did not want Him to rush off to do things that would ultimately separate Him from them.
I would think it would be more that they just were not ready to see Him start down that path. After all, there was plenty of time, Jesus was only twelve. Today, thirteen is when a boy becomes bar Mitzvah–a Son of Commandment–was it twelve back then? Or why was Jesus rushing it? Yet, Joseph and Mary were not ready for Him to leave their house. The Scripture says that He returned with them to Nazareth, and lived in submission to them.
We all have hopes and dreams for our children, what we think they are capable of, and sometimes what we hope they will become. But ultimately, we know they will, and must, follow their own dreams and paths. Some children leave home earlier than others, and we adapt to this as well. But the first child and the last child are more difficult for parents to let go. This is especially hard with the last child.
We all must go forth and do the Father’s business. We are all His children, and we need to do what He has called us to do. Whether we are professional clergy, or work at some retail establishment, we need to do our business as if it is ‘unto the Lord,’ that the Lord will be pleased.
Just as Jesus had to spend time in the Temple, We need to spend time in Worship/study to understand the Scriptures. Regardless of how we earn our living, we are all called to spread the Love of God and the Gospel message. Spend a little time each day, studying God’s Word, so you will be prepared for the challenges daily life brings.
by Virgil Stripes