Read: Luke 2:41-50
Jesus parents were devout Jews, and apparently of a family of other devout Jews as they were going up to one of the three required festivals that men were supposed to attend each year. Jesus was 12 years old at the time. There’s no historical evidence to suggest that Jesus had undergone a “bar mitzvah” or becoming accountable to the law at this point. This custom was instituted later in Jewish history. Nevertheless, it is evident that Jesus was going up to the temple and spending time there interacting with scholars and priests at the temple as men would do.
But when it came time to leave, Jesus did not return home with the friends and family he had traveled with, rather he stayed in Jerusalem. Naturally, Jesus’ absents invoked great distress in his earthly parents, and rightfully so because any parent would be worried if one of their children went missing. Mary and Joseph returned to Jerusalem to look for the boy and they found him safe 3 days later, much to their relief.
There is an irony to this text though: Mary and Joseph, his earthly parents, went looking for Jesus in Jerusalem while they were attempting returning to their home in Nazareth calling acknowledging this fact when they call him “son” and refer to Joseph as “father”. But Jesus replies, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Jesus was affirming his heavenly parentage and origin – namely God the Father in heaven. And the knowledge of God was evidence to this. The scholars and were amazed at his understanding and answers, and his response to his parents was no less amazing or baffling. They didn’t understand, because to them their home was not the temple, rather a house in the town of Nazareth 70 miles to the north.
On this side of Jesus’ first coming Christians get to see what Mary, Joseph, and the scholars in Jerusalem did not get to see. It really wasn’t until after Jesus resurrected from the dead that people really began to understand what he had been sent to earth to do (John 20:9, Luke 24:27). Christians have the privilege of seeing Jesus ministry on earth revealed and its purpose communicated and codified in the Scriptures. At times, it may be confusing, but Christians don’t have to remained baffled. Christians can ask questions and give answers to one another and be amazed at how the Holy Spirit can illuminate one’s mind.
Lord, show me the truth of who you so I can be amazed at who you are!