Skip to main content
Listen to Acton content on the go by downloading the Radio Free Acton podcast! Listen Now

Luke 2:48–50

When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

The mission of Jesus throughout the Gospels is focused on the will and passion of the Father. Here we have the first words of the incarnate Christ at the age of 12. He is at the temple in Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. Jesus did not return with his parents on the journey home; Joseph and Mary left the caravan, going back to look for him.

It is clearly evident in this passage that a youthful Jesus knows he has a special and unique relationship with his heavenly Father. That his mother doesn’t immediately notice the relationship, given the angel speaking to her about his birth, might seem surprising. However, a lot of time has passed and she has raised her child since infancy. It is likely that a lot of familiar routines have set in within Jesus’ family.

In this passage, we see Christ purposefully looking beyond the things of this world at a young age. Still, many years before his public ministry, his love and duty to the Father transcend everything else. The Scottish Theologian T. F. Torrance is noted for saying, “There is no God behind the back of Jesus.” What he meant is not just that the Father and Son are united but that their characteristics are the same. God the Father deals with us in the same compassionate way Jesus deals with us. That’s truly Good News!

Paradoxically, the text tells us that while Mary and Joseph find Jesus, he begins the process of leaving the presence of his earthly parents. Luke is preparing the reader for the mission of Christ that will lead to his suffering, death, resurrection and ascension.

Jesus, who is coeternal with his Father, is united with him in plan and purpose. Of course, at the end of this chapter, Jesus returns home with his parents to Nazareth. The text says he was obedient to his parents and that Mary “treasured all these things in her heart.”

One of the great things about Christ is his humility. The Son of God at 12 was full of wisdom and vast knowledge, yet he was obedient to his parents, and the text tells us they did not yet understand the significance of what was happening. His parents were modest in intellectual knowledge and material possessions, yet Christ was under their authority too. This boy who had come to undo the error of Adam was in no way haughty or impatient.

Most Read