Text Luke 2:41-52
Here is the story of a visit by the holy family to a festival in Jerusalem but the visit is not the most important thing.
In the sentence of 2:42 -43 , the main verb is the last one, so that Luke ends writing something like this: ‘When He was 12 and they had gone up and when the feast was ended, when they were returning the boy Jesus stayed behind.’The ‘staying behind’ is what Luke wants to emphasise and us to get.
The thing which he records in detail as Mary had remembered it in detail. Is the boy’s answer to her rebuke ‘the staying’ to which He had spoken to them about Luke 2:50 ‘And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them.
Like the angels and the prophets Anna and Simeon word, it is a saying which tells us something about Jesus. In fact, because it comes from the lips of Jesus Himself, the one who is to be Saviour, Messiah and Lord and who is already even at this early age full of wisdom and the favour of God Luke 2:40 is a divine word.
What was it that He said to them? “Why are you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
The idea of God’s Fatherhood was something that the Jewish people had never fully grasped, certainly not in the way that Jesus was going to teach it. So the first recorded words of Jesus as a boy are a statement about Himself and the claim to a relationship between Himself and God different from and deeper than anything that had ever been known before.
It is a relationship into which He is going to bring all others who are prepared to put their faith in God through Him. He will teach them to address their prayers regularly to their ‘Father’. And they will learn to use the affectionate, intimate name Abba(Daddy) which He Himself uses.
Here as a boy Jesus introduces us to God as Father/Daddy.
Early in this gospel, Luke introduces us to the great object of the divine plan of salvation and that is: ‘To all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God.’ John 1:12
Both these truths that He is Son of God and that He has come into the world so that others may become Sons of God, are implied in the words He spoke in Luke 2:49.
The Father’s work is the work of salvation, so this is the work in which the Son also must be engaged. So early in His Ministry Jesus expresses the compulsion that is upon Him to be at one with His Father in the saving of people.
Earlier, Simeon’s thanksgiving to God tells us that the salvation to be found in Jesus is for all men. It is a universal offer. But Simeon’s warning to Mary tells us that the universal offer to salvation does not mean that it will be received by everyone indiscriminately and automatically.
It is offerd to all but it has to be carefully considered by each. It is universal offer but it brings a personal challenge.
The coming of Jesus into the world would mean nothing were it not accompanied by God’s own explanation of it.
Luke tells us in the words of the angel who Jesus is. In the prophet’s words who can benefit from His message and in the words of the child Jesus Himself, we learn to grasp the fullness of this message of salvation.
We will need to follow the one who already knows God as His Father, as He progresses His Father’s plan through the whole gospel story, in order to bring us into the same relationship.