Morning Sermon: Did You Not Know That I Must Be About My Father’s Business?, Luke 2:41-52 

Old Testament Reading: 1 Samuel 3

“Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel, and he said, ‘Here I am!’ and ran to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call; lie down again.’ So he went and lay down. And the Lord called again, ‘Samuel!’ and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call, my son; lie down again.’ Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant hears.’ Then the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.’ Samuel lay until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. But Eli called Samuel and said, ‘Samuel, my son.’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ And Eli said, ‘What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.’ So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, ‘It is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to him.’ And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord. And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.” (1 Samuel 3, ESV) 

New Testament Reading: Luke 2:41-52

“Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.’ And he said to them, ‘Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:41–52, ESV)


Please excuse any typos and misspellings within this manuscript. It has been published online for the benefit of the saints of Emmaus Reformed Baptist Church but without the benefit of proofreading.


The passage that is before us today brings this opening section of Luke’s Gospel to a close. From Luke 1:5 through to the end of chapter 2 Luke tells us about the things that were accomplished immediately before, during, and after the birth of Christ, and before his public ministry began. As you know, Jesus began his public ministry at about the age of 30.  And it is in chapter 3 that Luke tells us about the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. So then, Luke 1:5-2:52 covers about a 30-year span of time. And in fact, most of what is said here in this section is about Jesus’ conception, birth, and infancy. Here in the passage that is before us today, we are told about something that happened when Jesus was twelve years old. 

This story is very intriguing. At first glance, it may almost seems like a strange story. It raises the question, was Jesus disobedient to his parents? Was he cruel to them when he disappeared from their sight by staying behind at the temple without their knowledge, leading them to frantically search for him for three days? I suppose the question could be asked, why did Luke bother to include this story given the questions it raises? Did he need filler? Did he think to himself, you know, it would be nice to have something about Jesus’ early adulthood – I guess I’ll include this little tidbit? I think not! In fact, the closer we look at this story, the more we should appreciate its profoundness.

I would like to suggest to you that this story provides us with far more than an insignificant glimpse into the early life of Jesus the Messiah. No, it actually provides us with great insight concerning the person of Christ and the way in which he came to understand his God-given Messianic mission. The story is somewhat shocking. It was shocking to Joseph and Mary as they lived it (verse 48 says they were “astonished”), and it is shocking to us as we read it. We wonder, why would Jesus do this thing? But the story is meant to be shocking. And being shocked by it, we are not to flee from it, but rather we are to contemplate it all the more carefully to see its significance. Like Mary, we are to treasure all these things in our hearts (see Luke 2:51).

So then, what do we learn from this story? 

While it is possible to draw applications from this text for married people based upon the activities of Joseph and Mary, saying, look at how devout they were as a couple. They journeyed to Jerusalem every year to celebrate the Passover –  married couples ought to be devout as they were. And while it is possible to draw application for young people from the life of Jesus, saying, look at how he loved the temple, the scriptures, and the pursuit of wisdom even as a twelve-year-old – young person, you should love God’s temple (the church)! You should love the Scriptures! You should pursue wisdom, even from a young age! And while it is possible to draw application for fathers and mothers from the actions of Joseph and Mary, saying, look at how deeply concerned they were for the physical and spiritual well-being of their child! They took him to Jerusalem and to the temple year after year to celebrate the Passover, and when they found him missing, they were deeply concerned – parents, love your children as Joseph and Mary loved Jesus. Provide for them and seek to protect them (as much as it is within your reasonable power to do so), and bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord! 

As good and true as those applications are, this is not what the text is about. This text is about Jesus. It reveals to us who he understood himself to be, and what he knew that his mission was, even at the young age of twelve. This text is about Jesus and the way in which he, according to his human nature, came to perceive his utterly unique relation to God the Father and his unique mission as the Lord’s Messiah.

Before we dive into the particulars of this text, I would like you to notice three things about it that show this is the meaning. 

One, notice that this text is bracketed with two statements regarding Jesus’ human growth in stature and in wisdom. Look with me at Luke 2:40. There we are told that after Jesus returned home with his parents after his dedication at the temple as an infant, he “grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.” And now look at the very last verse of our text for today. Luke 2:52 says, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” So then, this story about Jesus’ activity at the temple in Jerusalem at the age of twelve begins and ends with statements about Jesus’ human growth. He grew in stature. That means he grew physically, as all boys do. And he also grew in wisdom. This means that his knowledge and understanding of the truth increased.  

Two, I do not want you to forget about the similarities between the beginning of Luke’s Gospel and the beginning of the Old Testament book, 1 Samuel. I will not repeat all of the points that I made about the similarities in the previous sermon. I trust that you are able to remember the points of contact between the stories of the miraculous conceptions of Samuel and Jesus, the songs that their mothers, Hannan and Mary, sang, and the statements that were made regarding the development of the boys. After Samuel was left to be raised at the temple under the care of Eli it was said of him, “And the boy Samuel grew in the presence of the LORD” (1 Samuel 2:21, ESV). And in 1 Samuel 2:26 we read, “Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the LORD and also with man.” Those who know the Old Testament scriptures well will immediately think of these statements when they read what Luke wrote concerning Jesus in 2:40 and 52, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” 

These connections were made in the previous sermon. And the point was this: Luke wants us to make a connection between the life of Samuel and Jesus. Samuel was a prophet who ministered in the temple amongst the priests and was called to anoint kings. Jesus is greater. He is the Messiah, the great Prophet, Priest, and King of God’s people. Samuel foreshadowed him. Jesus is the fulfillment. 

But I think there is one more connection to make between Samuel and Jesus, it involves the two passages that were read at the start of this sermon. In 1 Samuel 3, we read of the experience that Samuel had as a boy while in the temple in Jerusalem.  He was sleeping in the temple and God called out to him three times in a row. It was the first time that the prophet Samuel had heard the voice of the LORD, so he did not recognize it. The first two times that he heard the voice, he thought it was Eli. When Samuel came to Eli the third time, Eil realized what was going on, and so he instructed the boy to say, Speak, “Lord, for your servant hears”, when the LORD called out to him again. And so he did. And from that day forward Samuel knew himself to be a prophet of God, and so did Eli and others who heard the news. That is what 1 Samuel 3:19-20 says. “And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the LORD” (1 Samuel 3:19–20, ESV). The story that is before us today regarding the twelve-year-old Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem mirrors this story about Samuel. Here Jesus demonstrates that he understands his unique relationship to God the Father and his special calling as the LORD’s Messiah. And not only does he demonstrate his understanding, but others see it too, as we will see. 

This leads us now to the third general observation about this text: It is here in this passage that we find the earliest recorded words spoken by Jesus. So far in Luke’s Gospel others have said things about Jesus. Men, women, and angels have testified powerfully concerning him, insisting that he is the Messiah promised from the days of Adam onward, the Savior of the world. But here in this passage, we hear the words of Jesus for the very first time. What he says is very important, for it reveals his understanding of his unique relation to the Father and of his God-ordained mission. Look at Luke 2:49 “And [Jesus] said to [Joseph and Mary], ‘Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49, ESV). The NKJV translates the Greek in this way, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” Both translations are possible and valid, but I do think that NKJV better captures the meaning. The point is this: Jesus, at twelve years of age, knew that he had an utterly unique relationship to God the Father, and that his life was to be devoted to his “Father’s business”.

I do hope that these three general observations have convinced you that the point of this story is not to encourage a God-centered marriage, the pursuit of wisdom from a young age, or godly parenting. As true and wonderful as those applications are, they are not the point of the text. This text is about Jesus, his person, and his work.

Let us now look a little closer at the text to glean from it. We will do so under two headings: the person of Christ, and the work of Christ. 


The Person Of Christ

First, let us consider the person of Christ. Who is he? Two things must be said. He is the eternally begotten Son of God the Father, and he is also the son of Mary. 

That Jesus knew himself to be the Son of God the Father is seen in verse 49. 

Consider the story: Jesus was missing. He was not with the traveling party heading back from Jerusalem to Nazareth after the Feast of Passover ended. Joseph and Mary searched frantically for him for three days (can you imagine it?). And when they found him in the temple, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress” (Luke 2:48, ESV). And it is in response this that Jesus said, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49, NKJV). 

Some have wondered if Jesus was disrespectful to his parents at this moment. The answer must be, certainly not, for he was without sin all the days of his life (Hebrews 4:15). In fact, it was Joseph and Mary who were in the wrong.

Consider a few things: One, Jesus was twelve. In our culture twelve-year-olds are considered to be children still, but in the Jewish culture, the age of twelve marked a transition into adulthood. Though it might seem strange to us that a twelve-year-old would be given the freedom to linger in the temple, it should have been granted to Jesus, given his age and maturity. It seems that Joseph and Mary were being overly protective of their child. Two, the questions that Jesus asked of Joseph and Mary were not disrespectful, but honest: “Why did you seek Me?”, and “Did you not know?” In other words, Jesus’ perspective was that they should have known and that they should not have been so troubled by his lingering in Jerusalem at the temple. Though the text does not say it, one has to wonder if conversations were not had between Jesus, Joseph, and Mary before this event. Perhaps Jesus had communicated to them his knowledge concerning his calling and had indicated that he would be in his Father’s house and be about his Father’s business in a pronounced way during this trip to Jerusalem. Of course, this is speculation. But the thing that is clear in the text is that Jesus thought that Joseph and Mary were in the wrong. They should have known. And they should not have been searching frantically for him. His honest questions reveal that this was his perspective. Three, even if no specific conversations were had between Jesus, Joseph, and Mary concerning his awareness of his Messianic mission and his plans to linger in the temple, Joseph and Mary should have known based on what was revealed to them at the time of Jesus’ birth. I do not need to remind you of everything that was revealed to Joseph and Mary concerning Jesus at the time of his birth, for we have considered these things carefully in previous sermons. Joseph and Mary should not have panicked. They should have walked by faith. 

Think about this with me for a moment. From a merely human and unbelieving perspective, I suppose that Joseph and Mary’s “searching for [Jesus] in great distress” (vs. 48) was reasonable. Their child was missing and they were far from home. Most parents can sympathize with Joseph and Mary for they have likely experienced the feeling of panic that one feels when it is perceived that their child is missing or in some danger. And I suppose that some might be tempted to especially sympathize with them, reasoning like this: they were entrusted with the responsibility of raising, not a normal child, but the Lord’s Anointed. What pressure they must have felt! What a serious responsibility and burden! And perhaps they did feel the pressure. But if they did, it was unreasonable and rooted in unbelief. Joseph and Mary were called to be responsible parents. They were to do everything in their power to feed Jesus, to protect him, and to bring him up in the LORD. When it came to things beyond their control – when it came to Jesus’ survival into adulthood so that he might accomplish the purposes that God ordained for him before the creation of the heavens and earth – that was to be left to the God who is Sovereign over all things.  

In fact, if there is an application to be drawn from this text for parents, I think it would be this: Parents, be responsible. Raise your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Do your best to feed them well, to clothe them, and to provide them with shelter, so they might grow in stature. And teach them well too. Teach them common things and teach them spiritual things. Give them the Scriptures and bring them faithfully into the temple of God, that is to say, into the midst of the church gathered on the Lord’s Day,  so that they might worship and grow in wisdom. Yes, be faithful. But be very careful to not hinder them with your fearful disbelief. Entrust them to the Lord and then walk by faith knowing that God will accomplish all of his purposes. There are many things that are beyond our control, brothers, and sisters. We must be responsible to do what God has called us to do, trusting him in all things, and especially in those things which are outside of our sphere of responsibility. All parents must learn this, and it appears that Joseph and Mary had to learn it too. 

The crucial thing to notice about our text is that Mary refers to Joseph as Jesus’ father (and of course Joseph was Jesus’ father in an earthly and adoptive sense), but Jesus knows that God is his Father. He was in his Father’s house (the temple), and knew he was to be about his Father’s business.

Yes, God is the Father of all in this sense: he is the Creator of all. And yes, God is the Father of all who have faith in Christ, for in Christ we are forgiven, justified, reconciled to God and adopted as his beloved children, though we were by nature children of wrath because of sin. But Jesus has God as Father in an utterly unique way. As John 3:16 says, Christ is the “only begotten Son” of God. 

Time will not allow us to do a deep dive into the doctrine of the person of Christ now. But we have done this before, haven’t we? In a Sunday School class not long ago we considered the doctrine of Christ. And in it we learned to answer the question, who is Christ?, in this way: he is the eternally begotten Son of the Father, the second person of the Triune God, incarnate. The person of Christ is the person (or subsistence) of God the Son. In Christ, the person of the eternal Son of God, assumed (or took to himself) a human nature – that is to say, a human body and a human soul. But let me ask you this? Who is the person, that is to say, the subject that acts through the human and divine natures of Jesus? The person of Christ is the person of the eternally begotten Son. 

This is what John famously teaches in the opening of his Gospel. Instead of using the name “Son”, he uses the name “Word” but the meaning is the same. John says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1–3, ESV). Verse 14: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14, ESV). You see, it was the person of the Word, or Son, who took to himself a human nature, body and soul. It was not the person of the Father, nor the person of the Spirit, nor was it the divine nature that became incarnate, but the person of the Son. 

The very truth that John communicates in didactic form, Luke communicates in his narrative. Rember what the angel said to Mary: “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David…” (Luke 1:31–32, ESV). And when the angel explained how these things would happen, given that Mary was a virgin,  he said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God” (Luke 1:35, ESV).

The point is this: though Joseph was faithful to serve as Jesus’ earthy father by adopting him as his own, Jesus’ only true Father was (and is) God the Father in heaven. The same Father who eternally begets the person of the Son did also miraculously conceive the human body and soul of Jesus by the Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary so that the person of the Son might become incarnate, experience a truly human life for us, and accomplish our salvation by living a sinless life and dying in our place. 

When Jesus uttered these words at the age of twelve, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49, ESV), he showed that he was aware of his utterly unique relation to God the Father. We are invited to call God “Father” as sons and daughters who have been forgiven and adopted through faith in Christ the Son. But we confess that Jesus is “the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father” (The Nicene Creed). 

Who is Jesus? He is the Son of God. But notice this: He is also the son of Mary. And here I am simply drawing your attention to his true humanity which he derived from her. The person of the eternal Son was born of woman. As Paul says, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4–5, ESV)

Consider the way in which our passage reveals the true humanity of Christ. Jesus was born of Mary, and then he was raised by Joseph and Mary. Think of it. The one through whom Mary and Joseph were created, was, in his incarnation, born of Mary and raised by Joseph also. What a marvelous mystery!

And Jesus, the eternal Son of God incarnate, grew physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. He increased in knowledge and wisdom. Think of it, the eternal Son (or Word) of God learned to speak. He learned to count. He learned to reason. The eternal Son (or Word) of God learned the Holy Scriptures –   the very Scriptures that he inspired! The eternal Son (or Word) of God also came to an understanding of his Messianic mission. I understand full well that these statements sound almost blasphemous, but they are true. And how can it be that God the Son could increase in wisdom in this way?  The answer is that he did it, not according to his divine nature (which is eternal, unchanging, and perfect in every way), but according to the human nature he assumed. Jesus is truly human (yet without sin). He has a true human body (a body that grew; a body that bled). And he has a true human soul – a human mind (one that increased in knowledge), a human will (through which he offered up perfect and perpetual obedience to the Father), and human affections (by which he is purely drawn to that which is good, and repulsed by all that is evil). The person of Christ is the person of the eternal Son. And in the incarnation, the eternal Son experienced a truly human existence. Jerome, who lived in the late 4th century and early 5th century A.D. wrote concerning this high mystery, saying, “How does he who is Wisdom receive understanding? ‘Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and grace before God and men’. This means not so much that the Son was instructed by the Father but that his human nature was instructed by his own divinity. There is the seer’s prophesy of him who blossomed from the root of Jesse, ‘The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding’” (Jerome, Homilies On Psalm 15 (16). 

The point is this: Jesus is truly the Son of God, and he is the son of Mary. He fully divine, and he is fully human. And we see clearly in the passage that is before us today. 

The writer of Hebrews states it like this: “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself [that is, Christ our Savior]  likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:14–18, ESV).


The Work Of Christ

We have considered what this text reveals concerning the person of Christ. Who did Jesus understand himself to be? The son of Mary and the Son of God. Let us now briefly consider the work of Christ. What did he understand his mission to be? 

Well, the words of Christ in verse 49 are again our focus. “And he said to them, ‘Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49, ESV), that is to say, “about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49, NKJV). As I have said, both translations are valid. The Greek word that is translated as “house” by the ESV, and “business” by the NKJV can mean both things. 

If it is said that a servant manages his master’s house, that means that he manages his master’s business or affairs. And I think that is what Jesus meant. Joseph and Mary found in Jesus in God’s house, that is to say, the temple. And when they found him he said, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49, ESV), that is to say, “about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49, NKJV).

Jesus understood, even at the young age of twelve, that he had a special mission to accomplish. God the Father had determined to accomplish something, and he would be the one through whom it would be accomplished. He knew that he needed to be about he Father’s business. 

And what was that business? What was the work that Jesus was to be about? Well, if we were to focus only on Luke 2:49 we would not know. But if we back up from this verse just a little bit, all becomes clear. Indeed, the things that are said prior to this in Luke’s Gospel make it crystal clear what the mission of Jesus was by pointing us to the Old Testament Scriptures. 

Notice where Jesus was when he uttered the words, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” He was in the temple. His work was to fulfill the symbolism of the temple and to earn that which the temple signified, namely, the New Heavens and earth.

And notice when Jesus uttered the words, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” It was immediately after he had celebrated the Passover feast with his family. His work was to fulfill the symbolism of the Passover by accomplishing redemption for his people, not from Egypt, but from sin, the domain of Satan, and the power of death, by his shed blood. 

And notice what Jesus was doing when Joseph and Mary found him and he uttered the words, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” He was “sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions” (Luke 2:46, ESV). In other words, he was discussing the Holy Scriptures. And we are told that “all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers” (Luke 2:47, ESV). Jesus’ work was to accomplish all that was said concerning him in the law, the prophets, and the Psalms. Joseph and Mary knew this, for they themselves knew the Old Testament Scriptures, and they had heard others testify concerning these things at the time of Jesus’ birth, as recorded for us in Luke 1:5-2:38.

What was the Father’s business that Jesus knew he was to be about? Well, there are many ways to speak of it. As the Messiah, he was to earn salvation for God’s elect, he was to redeem them from sin and misery by accomplishing a second and greater Exodus. He was to establish an everlasting kingdom. He was to build God’s eternal temple. 

This was the mission of the Messiah, and Jesus knew it. Joseph and Mary knew it too, but they were still struggling to comprehend how these things would be accomplished, and who could blame them? Verse 50 says, “And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:50–52, ESV).

Before we conclude, I would like to suggest to you that there is one more way in which the mission of the Son is revealed in this story, and that is through symbolism or foreshadowing. 

Do you remember what that old man Simeon said to Mary when he gave praise to God for the baby Jesus regarding what she would experience as his mother? In Luke 2:34 we read, “And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.’” (Luke 2:34–35, ESV).

When Jesus was twelve, Mary received a foretaste of this, didn’t she? Her beloved Son was lost from her sight. For how long? For three days. And then on the third day, he was found. And where was he found except in the temple of God? 

I am saying that this event anticipated the sorrow that Mary would experience when her beloved Son would be taken away from her sight for three days by his death and burial. But on the third day, she would see him again? And where would he ascend except into the heavenly Holy of Holies into the very presence of the glory of God?

When Christ rose from the grave on the third day and appeared to his disciples, his mother Mary included, he very well could have said to them the words of Luke 2:49: “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49, NKJV). Indeed, that is what Jesus was about when his died, his body was buried, and his soul descended to Hades – he was about his Father’s business! I am not saying that he said these words, but he could have! “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49, NKJV).

In fact, things like this were said when Jesus rose from the grave. In Luke 24 we are told of women going to the tomb of Jesus. When they got there, the stone was rolled away and angels appeared to them. “And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” (Luke 24:5–7, ESV)

And when Christ appeared to two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus, “he said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:25–27, ESV)

And a bit later he appeared to his disciple in Jerusalem,“And he said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.” (Luke 24:38–40, ESV)

“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen” (Luke 24:5–6, ESV).

“Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:26, ESV)

“Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself” (Luke 24:39-40, ESV).

The questions are not identical to the one that Jesus posed to Joseph and Mary after he was found in the temple being lost from their sight, and found on the third day: “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49, NKJV). The questions are not identical, but they are similar. They are all meant to encourage faith. Faith in what God had revealed concerning Christ, and faith in Christ himself. 

Brothers and sisters, Luke wrote so that we would have certainty concerning Jesus the Messiah. I pray that your certainty is increasing as we study this Gospel. I pray that you are growing more and more sure that Jesus of Nazareth is the Savior who was promised by God from long ago. And I pray that your love and gratitude for him would increase as well. This will, of course, result in greater obedience towards him, for those who love him will long to keep his commandments (John 14:15). 

Lastly, it may be that there are some in our midst who have not yet believed upon Christ. I pray that God, through the preaching of his word, and by the working of the Holy Spirit, would draw you to faith in Jesus the Messiah, for there is salvation in no other name (Acts 4:12). I pray that you would be convinced in the mind that he is the Savior that God has provided and that you are in need of him. And more than this, I pray that you would trust him in the heart and honor him as Lord, “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9, ESV)

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"Him we proclaim,
warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone mature in Christ."
(Colossians 1:28, ESV)

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