Read Luke 2:41-52.
Have you ever been lost in a crowd or been separated from family or friends? I got separated from my family at the fair many years ago. It seems as though it took forever to find them. In Luke’s account, he includes only one incident from the early life of Jesus. At first glance, it might seem that Luke is giving Theophilus a simple account of a lost child and searching parents. But, Luke is pointing to a greater and more profound truth about who Jesus is. Each year, observant Jews made the trek to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. Families travelled together in groups or caravans for the celebration. Afterwards, the family began the journey back to Nazareth. It was then that they realized the twelve-year-old Jesus was not in the caravan. If you or a loved one has ever been lost in a large place, you can understand the emotions that Mary and Joseph must have felt as they searched for Him first in the caravan and then in Jerusalem itself. Their three days of searching led them to the Temple complex where Jesus was sitting among the teachers (an unusual position for a child among elders) engaged in spiritual discussion. Everyone who listened to the conversation were astonished at the depth of Jesus’s Biblical and spiritual understanding.
Surely the parents were relieved when they found their Son. Their question to Him was obviously motivated by protective instincts. Jesus’s answer focused on a larger reality. “Didn’t you know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49b, HCSB). His question did not reveal a lack of knowledge, but a reminder of who He is. Because Jesus is truly God and truly man, being in the Temple was the obvious place for Him to be.
Being a disciple means being a follower of Jesus Christ. Part of following Jesus means realizing who He really is. Luke included this incident in his account to show that Jesus knew who He was and what His mission was. We need to grasp this if we are to be more effective in following Him.