“’Why were you searching for Me?’ He asked them. ‘Didn’t you know that I had to be in My Father’s house?’” (Luke 2:49)
Luke gives us the only story we have from Jesus’ boyhood. There is only one possible source for the story – Mary.
How old Jesus was for this event, we do not know. But according to the story, following one Passover event, Joseph and Mary departed with the good townspeople of Nazareth to return there. These were group travel events, so they seem to have felt assured that even though they did not see Jesus, He was among the folks, maybe with friends. Then they discovered He was actually not among the group at all. They panicked and returned to Jerusalem. They searched the city for three full days, an interesting symbol, until they found Him in the temple listening and talking with the teachers of Israel.
Mary’s question to Jesus expressed surprise at His behavior. It was uncharacteristic of Him to treat Joseph and her this way. Her statement after the question expressed anxiety and revealed a lack of understanding that surprised Jesus.
Jesus’ question-response probably asks more than one question. First, He was asking her why they were searching any place other than the temple, since there was no other possible place He could have been. In other words, why search at all? Second, asking her, “Didn’t you know?” was probably more accurately “WHY didn’t you know?” To Jesus, it should have been obvious and clear to them where He was, and there should have been no anxiety at all.
This is an interesting event from Jesus’ boyhood that was never got repeated, and it serves to give readers of the gospel a heads up that Jesus knew clearly who He was and what He was doing from a very early age, obviously years before the actual event. Laterally, the story also helps us to see a personal spiritual application. People searching for significance have no real need to search at all; there is an obvious answer to their quest. Jesus is the Source of significance, and He is immediately available.
Lord, Thank You for igniting significance in our lives. Amen.