“And He said to them, ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?'” (Luke 2:49)
You are, I’m sure familiar with the story. Jesus was at the temple at the age of 12. He had accompanied his mother and father to the Passover feast. When the feast was over, Mary and Joseph traveled along in the caravan back home. They thought Jesus was with the group. Suddenly, they discovered that he was missing, and they retraced their steps back to Jerusalem. They found Jesus talking with the educated men of the day in the temple. When they expressed their concern for him, he replied that they should have understood he must already be about his Father’s business.
This story has always fascinated me. It presents many questions that I don’t have answers to and forces me to simply accept, by faith what is recorded in the Scripture. There is nothing wrong with asking questions — in fact — you should ask questions. The problem comes when you continue to question things AFTER you get the answer just because the answer is beyond your ability to comprehend or understand. The Bible teaches that God’s ways are not our ways, so therefore there will be times (many times) when we won’t have a humanly logical answer to all our questions. We simply accept that God is sovereign and holy and that whatever He does is ALWAYS good and right.
One of my biggest questions surrounding the life of Jesus has always been…when did Jesus realize his unique relationship to God. The Bible teaches clearly that Jesus was 100% human and 100% divine. As a boy, I’m sure Jesus studied the Scriptures (our Old Testament). On the other hand, God must have revealed to him early in his life his role as Savior and Redeemer. Again…this is one of those questions that far exceeds my pay grade and I simply accept that Jesus knew exactly what He was supposed to know at every level of life.
I bring that up to illustrate that answering the question I asked is not the point of this passage of Scripture. The ultimate question that confronts us in this story is this…What is the Father’s business? What was Jesus referring to when He said, “I must be about my Father’s business?”
We have very little information about the childhood/teenage years of Christ. I imagine that time was used to prepare Him to launch out into God’s work. There are some wild tales that are told in non canonical literature concerning Jesus’ childhood — but don’t take them seriously. Traditions and stories abound of how Jesus astounded his playmates by performing miracles as a child — but there is no historical proof to go along with those stories. We simply don’t know how God used the time of Jesus’ youth to prepare Him for ministry.
What we do need to understand is this. The work Jesus had come to do was REDEMPTIVE. Even as the Old Testament is not a history of Israel, but a history of God’s redemptive work, so the New Testament is not a record of Jesus’ life nor the life of any other person. The New Testament is a record of God’s redemptive work. The gospel writers were not compiling a biography of Jesus. They were telling the story of the redemptive grace of God that was given to us by His Son, Jesus. THAT is the work in which Jesus was constantly engaging.
Interestingly, Luke says that Mary and Joseph didn’t understand what Jesus said to them. That’s not surprising. I get the same reaction from people in the world today when I preach about the work of God. Those who do not know Jesus Christ in a personal way do not understand the mission of Christians. Those of us who have been saved, have a job. We are witnesses concerning the grace of Jesus Christ and the change that can come when the Holy Spirit transforms a life.
The secular world simply does not understand. They don’t understand our emphasis on GOING to all the world to carry the Gospel. Years ago, a preacher was attacked by a secular newspaper in an editorial. The paper wrote, “I simply do not understand how a red-blooded he-man could devote his life to preaching such a message.” The preacher replied the next day from the pulpit. He said, “I completely agree with that editor at the newspaper. He does not understand.”
Those of us who KNOW Jesus Christ as our personal Savior DO understand and we consider it a great privilege and joy to invest our lives in doing our Father’s business.
Have a great day.