One event. That’s pretty much all we know from the Scripture concerning the first 30 years of his life. Therefore that one event that Luke records must be significant. And it’s not so much the event perhaps as it is the first words that he spoke. Or perhaps it is the event. It’s the one history piece we know of where his parents left from the Passover celebration in Jerusalem to make the 80 mile trek back home to Nazareth. Both parents thought that the other had the responsibility of overseeing him in the traveling caravan. After traveling for a day they come back together and realize their mistake. Panic set in and the dash back to Jerusalem where they search for him. After 3 days of utter agony they found him in the temple courts. He had been sitting there, listening and asking questions while the members of the synagogue are utterly astounded at his understanding. For the parents it was an explosion of joy and anger.
“Male child! Why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been in anguish searching for you.”
Expecting perhaps an apology, an excuse, or something akin to a 12 year old boy response, they were taken aback at his answer:
“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I to be about my Father’s business?”
In the heat of the moment they weren’t able to hear what he was saying. But Mary would later treasure these things in her heart. And it was right to do so. What he was saying to them was significant.
“It is necessary that I be about my Father’s house/work/affairs” is how it literally reads. And the phrase “it is necessary” (dei in Greek) was not used lightly by Luke. In other places in Luke he says “It is necessary…
- 4:43—To proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other town also because that is why I was sent.
- 9:22—To suffer many things and that I must be killed and raised to life
- 13:33—That I press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem
- 17:25—That I must suffer many things and be rejected
- 19:5—That I must stay at your house today (Zacchaeus)
- 22:37—That I must be numbered with transgressors and this must be fulfilled
- 24:7—That I must be delivered into the hands of sinners
- 24:26—That I must suffer and enter His glory
- 24:44—That everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law
If you will notice when Luke uses the word “It is necessary” it is in the context of prophetic fulfillment. Words with great purpose and intent. The only exception is perhaps with Zacchaeus but then again, his interaction with Zacchaeus may be richer than we understand.
“It is necessary” says Jesus to his parents. It was the beginning point of separation from his parents. It was the beginning of saying to others that he had a specific purpose and it wasn’t just to God Almighty but to his “Father.” It was the prelude to a life that would change everyone who has ever lived.
And perhaps on a personal note it has me asking do I know my purpose? Do I have the clear direction of the Father’s call? And while the answer is “yes” in the general direction, the specifics of how that looks has been many and varied. “Many gifts for many seasons” as one friend told me. And I believe it’s true. As long as I continue to be “about my Father’s business.”