Jesus was taking care of your business in that temple. He loved God and his Word more than anything else. He lived the Word of God and he loved that Word! By faith in Christ, your Savior’s love for God and his Word has been applied to you. Jesus took care of business as God’s Son so that you and I might be saved by his life. Our love for God and his Word is a reflection of how much we appreciate what Jesus has done for us. Spend time in the Word of God each day!
“Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”
41 Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. 43 After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 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.”
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
We’ve heard three sermons three days in a row reminding us that Jesus is the Son of God and the Son of Man. But as time marches on and we flip our calendars over to a new year, it doesn’t take long for the amazing and the miraculous truths of Christmas to become mundane and lose all meaning in our lives. Even going to church can just become a monotonous routine we go through each Sunday instead of a time to ponder anew the mystery of the Christ Child. That probably even happened to Mary and Joseph. It had been 12 years since Christmas! They had been raising Jesus as their son with all the normal, everyday things that go along with it. What happened with Jesus as a boy in the temple was a good reminder for them of the identity of the marvelous Son entrusted to their care. As we move away from Christmas we need to continually be reminded that Jesus was constantly behaving as the eternal Son of God and earthly child of Mary. We need to keep the miraculous alive in our hearts!
Today, we are going to strive to understand better why Jesus remained at the temple after his family had gone home.
Jesus Goes About His Business
As God’s Son
As Mary’s Son
It was the feast of the Passover. God-fearing Jews traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the time when the angel of the LORD passed over Egypt and delivered God’s people from bondage. At the age of 12 Jesus was recognized as a “son of the law” and, therefore, under the obligations of adult church membership. The Passover celebration regularly lasted 8 days. After that celebration was concluded, Jesus remained in Jerusalem giving God the first place in his heart, letting the “Word of God dwell richly in him,” and simply went about his business as God’s Son.
But the caravan from Nazareth was returning home. It was common that whole communities traveled to and from the Passover together. Normally the women and children walked ahead while the men lagged behind. The children sometimes walked with one of the parents or if they were older, they traveled with their friends. It wouldn’t be until evening of the first day when the children met up with their parents that Mary and Joseph would have realized that Jesus was missing. When they didn’t find Jesus, they were worried and headed back toward Jerusalem looking for their son. It was another day’s journey back to Jerusalem and still no sign of him. On the third day they walked about in the city and finally found Jesus at the temple.
Do you think that is an unusual place for a 12 year old boy to be hanging out? It was not unusual if you were Jesus. Jesus was going about his business as God’s Son. Jesus was sitting among the great theologians and Bible scholars of the day. He was asking them questions about God’s Word and he was answering their questions. Those who listened to this discussion were amazed at Jesus’ knowledge. He had a thorough understanding of the Bible and he was able to apply it perfectly to any given situation! Jesus was going about his business as God’s Son proclaiming His Word to the world.
“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.’” Mary’s comments are typical of a parent searching for a lost child. Happy that she found Jesus, she was still angry that she had to come searching for him. Should Jesus have told Mary and Joseph that he was staying in Jerusalem? Had Jesus been inconsiderate of his parents? Is Jesus less than perfect here? Or was it Mary and Joseph who had forgotten who Jesus was? Had they forgotten that Jesus is God’s Son and has responsibilities that go beyond their home? Had they forgotten that Jesus is their God and Savior too? Had they forgotten what the shepherds and angels, what Simeon and Anna had said about Jesus? Jesus had business to take care of in this world as the Son of God. He was busy doing that work.
“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Jesus lovingly reminded Mary of his mission in the world. He lovingly reminded her that he was obeying his Father. He was taking care of business as God’s Son. “But they didn’t understand what he was saying to them.” Mary had pondered the great things said about Jesus in her heart at his birth. But that was 12 years earlier. Perhaps she had forgotten why Jesus was here and what Jesus was doing in the world. Perhaps she had forgotten whose Son Jesus really was!
He was going about his business. The first table of the law demands that we love God and His Word above all else. Jesus was doing that in our place. Our love for God’s Word is seriously flawed! We find it difficult in our everyday life to find time to sit alone with our Bibles and listen to what God has taught us in his Word. We somehow think that if we spend an hour a week in God’s house, we are doing our duty toward God. We lack a passion and a love for the Word that Jesus possesses. That is why if we were missing most of our parents wouldn’t have thought of looking for us at church! We simply aren’t that passionate about the Word of God. Our lackadaisical attitude toward God’s Word is sinful. That sin alone is enough to condemn us eternally. Jesus was taking care of your business in that temple. He loved God and his Word more than anything else. He lived the Word of God and he loved that Word! By faith in Christ, your Savior’s love for God and his Word has been applied to you. Jesus took care of business as God’s Son so that you and I might be saved by his life. Our love for God and his Word is a reflection of how much we appreciate what Jesus has done for us. Spend time in the Word of God each day!
We also see how Jesus took care of business as Mary’s son. He obeyed his parents and all authorities God has placed over him in your place. We need Jesus to “honor his father and mother” as our substitute. We know all too well how poorly we have done this! Jesus took care of business as Mary’s Son and offered his perfect life to his heavenly Father for you!
Luke tells us, “then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them." In case anyone was wondering whether or not Jesus may have sinned, Luke reminds us that Jesus obeyed his earthly parents in everything. To his dying day, Jesus did not forget his responsibility to his earthly parents. This is the last time we hear about Joseph in the New Testament. He must have died sometime before Jesus entered his public ministry at the age of thirty. On the cross, Jesus saw to it that his mother would be cared for after his death. Upon Jesus’ request, John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, took Mary into his home. Obediently, Jesus grew up as “the carpenter’s son” in Nazareth. Think about that! God’s Son subjected himself to human authority. He learned Joseph’s trade out of respect for him. He took care of our business to save us from our sins by his perfect life.
Mary’s son remained a puzzle to her. She had heard the angel announcing his virgin birth. She heard the shepherds sing his praises. She listened to Simeon prophesy concerning his work. She heard Anna give thanks to God for Jesus’ birth. She watched and listened to the things the wise men said about her Son. But now it had been 12 years and still Mary had many questions about her Son. Luke tells us, “his mother treasured all these things in her heart.” She had a lot to learn about her Son and his business as her Savior. But wisely she tucked away in her mind what she heard and learned about Jesus. We would do well to do the same.
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature.” Jesus went about his business as Mary’s Son living a humble life. He grew intellectually. He grew physically. Although Jesus possessed all knowledge because he is fully God, he gave up equality with God for a time to take care of business as our substitute doing the things we failed to do. Jesus took care of his body and he took care of his soul. He worshipped the Lord faithfully in all aspects of his life.
“And (he grew) in favor with God and men.” His favor with God was evident 18 years later when our Father in heaven spoke from heaven about his Son, “With him, I am well pleased.” Jesus grew in favor with God throughout his life. He took care of business as God’s Son perfectly. He grew in favor with men. People spoke well of Jesus. He must have been a joy to have as a neighbor and friend. He took care of business as Mary’s son perfectly.
What a wonderful Savior we have! True God and true man, perfectly united in the person of Jesus Christ. He was fully prepared to face every challenge common to man and to win the battle over death itself. At the age of 12 Jesus was fully aware of his role in this world. He was simply taking care of business in the temple. And he wasn’t done yet. The day was coming when he would make his body the temple by rising from the dead! Then his business was finished! Now trust him to take care of your business.