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
Imagine being Mary and Joseph today and losing track of your twelve year old for three days. The panic that would ensue, along with the 24/7 news coverage and the speculation about what you must have done to your child would be more than most could handle. On top of that they would most likely be facing some kind of charges for child endangerment or neglect. Even if things were different 2,000 years ago they still had to be worried beyond belief when Jesus ended up not being in their traveling party of family and friends.
Their relief and joy at finally finding him in the Temple must have been glorious to behold. But that relief turned to puzzlement and bewilderment when he spoke the words of Luke 2:42. What did he mean by his Father’s house? What did he mean that he must be there and they should have known that? Obviously Mary and Joseph knew that Jesus was special and sent from God. But they didn’t know the whole story. I wonder what other things Jesus said to them over the years that were puzzling to them?
Throughout the rest of his life Jesus made a habit of saying things that befuddled people. To this day the words of Jesus, often highlighted in red in many Bibles, can still be puzzling. It is my hope that during the course of this devotional, that at least some of those words will become more clear and meaningful in your life. Sometimes they will be comforting. Sometimes they will be challenging. Sometimes they will remain perplexing. All of those reactions put you in good company with countless readers over the centuries.
If there is one thing to keep in mind when reading the words of Jesus it can be found in this first of his recorded statements, he must be in his Father’s house and about his Father’s business. Throughout his earthly life Jesus was laser focused on his connection to the Father and carrying out the Father’s will. His obedience to the Father is lauded time and again in the New Testament. That obedience was critical to his mission of being the unblemished Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world. That obedience is also the perfect example for us as we seek to have a deeper and more intimate relationship with the Father.
But never forget that it is because of the obedience Jesus demonstrated towards the Father, that you do not need to earn your place with God. Jesus opened the door to the Father and invites you to enter in. Your entrance fee is charged to his account. It truly is a free gift of grace and is at the heart of The Gospel. All your obedience is a response of gratitude and love for the love the Father has already poured out to you in Jesus.