“And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.” (Luke 2:48-51)
A few year’s ago there was a popular bumper sticker that read, “My boss is a Jewish carpenter.” That statement is false. It implies that Jesus was the son of Joseph and was employed in his father’s trade.
Jesus in this exchange reminds His mother and us Who His true Father is.
Joseph and Mary were amazed at where they found Jesus because typically a twelve year old boy would be playing games in the streets of Jerusalem not sitting with the wisest in Israel in the temple!
Mary does not attack Jesus. She explains to Him that she and Joseph were worried about Him and had been looking for Him for two days.
Jesus seems to chide them or put them in remembrance that He does not have an earthly father. This is proof that Jesus did not need to learn about being the Messiah. He knew all along who He was and had to remind others on occasion. Jesus was not asking Mary “why were you looking for me?” He was asking, “why were so worried when you were looking for me?” He reminds her that she should be trusting in the providence of God for his care.
The “business” He was conducting in the temple was not the work of redemption but of beginning to set the record straight about the law and the prophets.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” (Hebrews 1:1-2)
Just as any son would properly do, Jesus was following in His true Father’s path. Even at a very young age, He showed His prophetic ministry.
Mary and Joseph did not understand what business Jesus would have in the Temple. they were reminded of His relationship to His Father but they did not understand what was going on. Mary once again keeps these things in her heart. She did not speak out or argue. She did not brag to others about what her son had done. She was not ashamed but amazed! All these things that she has kept in her heart will come to the surface when she sees her firstborn son hanging on the cross.
Showing that He is not disrespecting Mary and Joseph’s earthly parental authority, Jesus subjected Himself to their care once again. We are to obey parents and be subject only to them unless God has instructed us otherwise.
And lest we think that we can do things without telling our parents, we must also remember that this was God the Son not telling His earthly parents what He was doing.