The only detailed account of the Lord Jesus Christ as a child is found in the gospel of Luke. While the gospel of Matthew contains important events surrounding Christ’s birth, the fascinating account in Luke 2 documents the only recorded words spoken by Jesus in His incarnation as a boy.
At 12 years of age, Jesus traveled with His family some 90 miles from Nazareth to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. After the feast was over and His family began the journey back, Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem, unbeknownst to His earthly parents. Once they discovered He was not in their company, Mary and Joseph hurried back to Jerusalem in an earnest search for their special Son. If the Lord has blessed you with children, you can imagine how desperate they must have felt!
They eventually found Jesus in the temple “sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions” (Luke 2:46). These highly educated rabbis were “astonished at His understanding and answers” (v. 47), showing that, even as a boy, Jesus had already become a deep student of the Scriptures. His parents “were amazed,” but seeing that Jesus was apparently no worse for the wear, Mary gently scolded the young boy by asking, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously” (v. 48).
Jesus’ answer was both a gentle rebuke and a subtle reminder of the angel’s messages before His conception (Matthew 1:20-23; Luke 1:26-35): “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (v. 49). His parents, knowing firsthand His identity and divine mission, should have known where Jesus would be!
God is our Father, too, and He has sent us to do His work (John 20:17, 21). With the young Jesus as our example, Christians should be equally dedicated to the Father’s work. This includes the proper stewardship of the resources God has granted to each of us to fulfill His “business” here on Earth (2 Corinthians 9:6-8; Galatians 6:7-10). Knowing we will all give an account one day (Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:9-10), we would do well to ask ourselves these questions:
- How am I managing my resources for God? Do I sense the same urgency toward my “Father’s business” as young Jesus did?
- How well have I related to God in terms of management and ownership? Do I have possessions that I try to exclude from God’s ownership?
- Do I feel freedom in my role as God’s steward? Have I abused the financial freedom that God has given me?
- How is my eternal “bank account” doing? Could I spiritually “retire” on what I have given to the Lord’s work on Earth?
The boy Jesus was strongly drawn to God’s temple in Jerusalem, and He stayed three days in His Father’s house. He couldn’t help but do His Father’s business! Years later, the man Jesus would explain to His disciples, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4). Likewise, the call of Christ beckons us to follow in His footsteps. What are you doing to further the work of the Kingdom before your days of opportunity are gone? Is there anything else you could be doing…for our Father’s business?
* Mr. Morris is Director of Donor Relations at the Institute for Creation Research.