This surely wasn’t the first time a child had ever been left behind, and it surely wasn’t the last. It’s not that out of the ordinary for a child to be overlooked, perhaps on a road trip, at a gas station, or maybe just at a routine stop at the store. The family van leaves without all of the children on board. But usually those situations are resolved fairly quickly. And it probably never happens to the same parent, twice.
But the way Jesus responds to Mary and Joseph, after they sought Him with tears, clearly indicates that this isn’t only about a child left behind. In fact, this was no accident at all. This is no ordinary story, for it has both human, and Divine elements to it, because Jesus Himself is exactly that: both human, and Divine.
Jesus is one of a kind. Jesus is absolutely unique. No other human being, no other being period, has this double ancestry like He does. A human mother, and a Divine Father. The Son of Man, and the Son of God. He is both David’s Lord, and David’s Son. Jesus Himself asks His hearers, how can that be? How can He be both? Being conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, He is both Mary’s Son, and Mary’s Lord.
We confess in the Nicene Creed that “He was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the virgin Mary, and was made man.” And He is “of one substance with the Father, by Whom all things were made.”
Today’s lesson clearly demonstrates His dual ancestry. Mary is referred to as His mother. And although Joseph had nothing to do with His conception, he still plays an essential role in Jesus’ childhood, so he is still referred to as one of Jesus’ parents. Mary calls Joseph Jesus’ father, and Jesus is subject to both of them. Imagine that, the Almighty God, is subject to the authority of His creatures. And also, Jesus increases in wisdom and stature (maturity) - a very human characteristic.
Yet, this boy also has an understanding of the Scriptures far beyond what is normal, beyond what is even human. Men several times His age are absolutely astounded at His comprehension in God’s Word. It wasn’t just His head knowledge, it was His spiritual understanding, which no other boy would have or could have had. Even His response to Mary and Joseph (after they sought Him with tears), is full of spiritual meaning, and it’s even a prophecy too of things to come.
His first word, is….why? Why did you seek Me? Why did you search for Me? At first it might seem like a such an odd question to ask. Isn’t the answer obvious? Why wouldn’t Mary and Joseph search for their own Son? Surely Jesus understood they were paniced, their hearts were aching, and they were anxious like never before – “where is my son?” They hadn’t seen Him for 3 days!!
Yet, Jesus creates the perfect teaching moment. As important as our earthly relationships are, God comes first. Without Him, we would have nothing. “Seek ye first, the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness.” How absolutely contrary the world is to this today – “you have to do what you feel is right, what is most comfortable for you and for your relationships.” No, above all we are to seek God first, and foremost.
Jesus creates the perfect scenario for Mary and Joseph to remember who their Son really was. Greater, much greater, than His earthly parent-son relationship, was His relationship to His Father in heaven. Jesus wasn’t born just so He could see how well He would fit into a human family. Jesus was born to give His life for us, to fulfill all righteousness for us, as both Man and God.
“Why did you search for Me?” Perhaps that question should sound familiar. Some twenty years later, after Jesus had risen from the dead, the angels said to Mary, once again, “Why?” “Why seek ye the living among the dead?”
May our heavenly Father open our eyes to see the full meaning of these words. By our own reason and strength, we cannot search for God. By our own reason and strength, we cannot find God. If man is looking for God at all, he searches in all the wrong places. Scripture compares us to wandering sheep, who cannot find their way. If man does search, he tries to find God in our own good works, as if we could pacify God by our own good deeds. Or man tries to find God in emotion, as if it’s all about feeling good, and feeling the presence of God. But then what happens when we don’t feel so good? Does that mean God has left us? Yet, Jesus promises to be with us always, even to the end of the world. Or, man tries to find God in nature, as many today are worshipping the creature more than the Creator – bowing down to “mother earth”.
Yet, God’s Word is clear. “No man hath seen God at any time.” But, “The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” And Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”
And so Jesus asks, “Know ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?”
Had they forgotten that He wasn’t only their Son? Had they forgotten how Mary conceived Jesus by a miracle?
Dear children of God, have we forgotten the miracle God created inside of us? How Jesus is born also in our heart and soul, to be our Savior, to be everything we need to be saved? That we have been baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection, and that His Spirit dwells within us?
“Know ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” Jesus was in the one place they should have know He would be. In the temple. In the Old Testament, God could be found in the temple. That’s where all the sacrifices were made on behalf of His people. And that’s where God promised to be.
Yet, what did Jesus say to the woman at the well? “Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.”
A great change was coming. Jesus Himself would replace the temple and the temple worship. When He died, the veil in the temple was torn in two, signifying that now, whoever seeks God, must seek Jesus Christ alone, the temple which was “destroyed”, yet “built again” after 3 days.
Jesus is the bridge between God and man. There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Going about His Father’s business, meant He was making all things right between us and God, by obeying the Father’s will, which would eventually lead to His own death. For He is the very lamb of God, sacrificed for the sin of the world, yet also risen, to never die again, that we might have everlasting life in Him.
What’s interesting is that Mary and Joseph, “understood not the saying which He spake unto them.” Sometimes we learn more when we don’t have an immediate and perfect understanding. Sometimes the truth means more to us when we must search for it, pray about it, and maybe even beg God to open our eyes of understanding, and strengthen us in the true saving faith.
He promises to give us all that we need, and He has, and He will. He continues to send us His Spirit, through His Word and Sacraments. He causes us to grow, in wisdom and stature, and His favor is upon us, through Christ. In His name. Amen.
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