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?" [Luke 2:48-49]
This is one of the most intriguing stories in the Gospel of Luke. For one, it is the only Scripture in the Bible about Jesus between His birth and His baptism. Earlier in the chapter it states that Jesus was 12 years old. It tells of a time when Jesus went with his earthly parents, Joseph and Mary, to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. When they were returning from Jerusalem, Joseph and Mary realized that Jesus was not with them. Frantically, they rushed back to Jerusalem and found Him in the temple, “sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.”
When they found him, Jesus’ reaction was “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know that I would be in my Father’s house?”
But the Scripture says that Joseph and Mary didn’t understand what He was saying to them. You see as soon as the Passover Feast was over, as soon as their allotted time that they must spend in commemorating the Passover was over, they hit the road. Their minds were elsewhere. Joseph probably wanted to get back to His carpenter’s shop, undoubtedly having projects awaiting his attention. Mary probably wanted to just get back home and away from the big city of Jerusalem. They were anxious to get home, for they had spent their time required in Jerusalem by the Hebrew law.
But Jesus didn’t see this time of the Passover as just doing what needed to be done—what was required of Him. Passover was not a time to just come and attend the equivalent of their candlelight Passover service and be on their way. Instead of hitting the road and getting on with business, Jesus followed a more important calling—going about His Father’s business.
And what was the young Jesus doing in the temple? He was seeking, searching. He was asking questions of the chief priests and listening to what they had to say. Jesus knew that the ultimate goal of Passover was to draw one closer into a relationship with God, so that was why Jesus stayed back in the temple. He was going about the Father’s business, instead of going on with business-as-usual. We can seek the same for us as we journey through this season of Lent.
When was the last time you felt passionate about something that really matters—something that has eternal significance, something that is greater than our personal interests, something of the utmost importance, something that can truly give us peace, comfort, healing, and enlightenment—our spiritual life, our relationship with God? What would it take to capture that fire, either for the first time or to recapture it?
We as individuals and as a church have something valuable in Christ, something that needs to be stirred up in us, renewed or discovered for the first time—a passion for knowing and possessing. Let this be our ambition during this Lenten season.