“Why is it that you were looking for me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49).
We find this story of an event in Jesus’s childhood only in Luke, as we might expect since Dr. Luke likely knew Mary better than the other gospel writers did.
The first time that Jesus’s parents take Him to Jerusalem, they lose track of Him on the way home. Hastily returning to the big city, they search for three days before they find Him in the temple courts. He is sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. His answer to His mother’s inquiry about what He is doing is our scripture lesson for today.
Mary and Joseph see that all who hear Jesus are amazed at His understanding and wisdom, and they are as well. His mother asks Him, “Son, why have you treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” Jesus’s response consists of all the words we possess that He spoke before His encounter with John the Baptist. One wonders whether some of the men present on this occasion encountered Him some twenty years later and remembered the impression He had made on them as a twelve-year-old.
Mary and Joseph cannot assimilate what Jesus says to them. They take Him back to Nazareth where He continues to develop in obedience to them. His mother ponders these things in her heart as He continues to increase in wisdom.
Jesus seems to have treated His parents as a model Jewish child would have done. Fully human, He was bound to honor and to respect them as per the fifth commandment. On the other hand, as God incarnate, He was duty bound to recognize His ultimate responsibility to the Father, the first person of the Trinity. Thus, we shall later find Him calling His mother “woman” and equating her with those to whom He is preaching. This is difficult to understand.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we read admiringly of this childhood exploit of Yours as You readied even then for the ultimate role You would play in human history. Thank You for all preparation that You did, which led to eternal life for Your followers. In Your wonderful name, we pray.