May 07, 2012
“How is it that ye sought Me?
Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?”
Picture the scene: a perturbed and disturbed set of parents searching frantically though the crowded streets of Jerusalem, looking for a son Whom they presume lost. Finally, perhaps advised by someone, they find Him in the temple. He is sitting amidst the doctors, asking questions and responding to their replies. The wonder of the audience is not shared by His parents. Their amazement is that He was there and not with them. Mary’s words, perhaps said with a touch of remonstrance in her voice, expressed their frustration in looking for Him. “Why had He dealt with them in this manner? Didn’t He know that she and His father were looking for Him.”
The reply of the Lord Jesus is well known and oft quoted in worship: “How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” As familiar as we are with these words, perhaps there is a deeper meaning than we sometimes ascribe to them.
The Lord Jesus did not defend Himself or even try to explain why He was where He was. He did not make any excuses. He was where He was supposed to be and, His words suggest, they should have known it.
Why should they have known that this was where He could be found? We are dependent upon Jewish historians who tell us that at the age of accountability under Jewish society, a male came of age at 12 years of age. Today this is recognized by the Bar Mitzvah celebration. But it may also have been the first time the son went up to Jerusalem with his father at the feasts. If so, this would have been the first time He had visited Jerusalem since the encounter in the temple with Simeon and Anna, as a child of 40 days of age.
What the Lord Jesus is saying to Mary and Joseph is that they should have known that at the very first opportunity He had, He would be in the temple where the Word of God was being discussed. Additionally, He is telling us that there was nothing during the 12 years of growth and development in Nazareth that was inconsistent with their knowing that this was His priority. From what they had observed of that life, they should have known instinctively that His one priority in life was what related to His Father. He had lived a life, even as a child, which gave expression to His devotion to His Father. His was a life of perfect consistency.
1. He always brought forth “fruit in season.” As a boy of 12, amidst the learned doctors, He did not pretend to teach them. Yet it is likely by His careful replies to their answers, that He did cause them to re-examine their teaching. He always did what was appropriate for His place in life.
2. Look at some of Mary’s statements to the Lord here and in other Gospels, and notice the grace, yet the wisdom which marked His replies.
3. “Thy father and I ….” The Lord replies, “… My Father’s business?” Was this intentional?