Jesus' folks had taken the boy with them to Jerusalem every year. This year he was 12 when making the trip. Following the Feast of Passover his parents were returning home when they noticed Jesus wasn't with them. He was nowhere to be found among the company with which they were traveling.
They were anxiously retracing their every move which eventually led them back to the temple, and there he was, sitting and listening to the teachers and asking them questions. They had been looking for him for three days!
The relieved parents were obviously upset and began to question why Jesus had acted this way. He had caused lots of anxiety and worry as they were searching for him. Jesus expressed they should have known he must be in his Father's house. But Joseph and Mary did not understand.
Kids! They can really cause some turmoil running loose both before and after church. And now Jesus isn't helping a lot when he lets his folks leave for home and, without their knowledge, he stays in the temple courts.
Jesus couldn't tear himself away from the scholarly teachers. He was interested in learning more and more, even to the point of asking questions. It is no wonder the gospel writer, John, brings the second chapter of his narrative to a close with these words, "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."
I've heard the sermons on this verse that tell how Jesus grew in knowledge, how he grew physically, and grew in the favor of God, while still being in the favor of men. There is a good lesson for all parents in the raising of their children.
The phrase where Jesus tells his parents that he must be in his Father's house, is translated in other versions as, "I must be about my Father's business." Regardless of how it's translated, it still gives us the developmental picture of Jesus at age 12, knowing his life centers around a specific task. That task is the redemption of sinful mankind.
Remember, the mature Jesus later said in this same writing of the gospel according to John, "Just as the father has sent me, I am sending you." As a Christian in today's world, we are joining with the task of Jesus himself, as we share the good news in our words and deeds. The great commission, which instructs us to go into all nations, making disciples or followers of Jesus, is still applicable.
Yes, we participate in the glorious grace of God and function in our lives, not only as the redeemed, but also as those who accept the task and opportunity to let others know the good news and share in God's love and forgiveness.
Today in your spiritual life, enjoy the reality of your eternal inheritance, but also be active in telling everyone the Jesus invites all to him.