Summary: This message, for a Sunday following Christmas, looks at the boyhood of Jesus.


OPENING: After Christmas…Now what? Easy….we get ready for the next holiday! Take down the tree, get out the East decorations. The choir meets and plans the Easter cantata. I retire to my study and begin on the Easter sermon series.

But something is happening between Christmas and Good Friday. What’s next? What’s between the manger and the cross?

Luke 2:41-53 The only account of Jesus’ childhood. Luke the only Gospel writer to include. Why so important?

[READ LUKE 2:41-53.]


Notice what precedes this passage:

v. 40 “And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.”

v. 41, 42 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.

• Luke continues a theme of the importance of the Jewish law

• Following his circumcision, the bar mitzvah (“son of the law”) would be the next most important event in Jesus’ life. Approx age 13, introduced as a mature young man to the community. Age of accountability, age of responsibility.

V 43: When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it.

• “finished the day” – seven days – first 2 days mandatory

• This is the 12th time Jesus has gone to Jesus with his parents, and it is during this one year that Jesus chooses to stay behind. An accident? Likely not. Likely was intentional. John Piper: “Jesus wanted to demonstrate subtly for those who had eyes to see that he would be more than an ordinary Jewish bar mitzvah; his insight into the commandment was more profound than ordinary men and his relation to God was unique.”

v. 44: but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances.

• A whole day’s journey? Not nec neglectful – travelling caravans of family members. Mary and Joseph would not likely have allowed Jesus freedoms like this had he been “forgetful” or undependable. Nor would Jesus likely have been forgetful or inconsiderate. He possibly let them go without him intentionally to make a point.

v. 45-47: So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. 46Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.

• Three days? Including the walk away from, the walk back to? Not clear.

• Interesting to note that Jesus asked the questions, but “all who heard Him were astonished at His….answers.”

v. 48, 49: So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously." 49And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?"

• ILLUS: My daughter disappearing in crowd in JBU cafeteria

• “sought anxiously” = with great pain. A reminder of the prophecy given by Anna to Mary that a sword would pierce her own soul also (2:35)

• Note the contrast that emerges: “Your father” vs. “My father”.

Climax? Jesus’ defense: “my Father’s business”….

What does he mean? I.e., what is the Father’s agenda for Jesus?

“My Father’s business” can mean a lot of things theologically:

• Becoming the Word-made-flesh

• the salvation of the world by his death on the cross

• the healing ministry to the poor

• the making of disciples and building a church

• the fulfillment of OT prophecy as the expected Messiah.

All of these are certainly true, but perhaps more than the 12-yr old intended!

“My Father’s business” in this context? Simple. Ordinary. The 12-yr old Christ will not do healings or miracles. No rebuking of the Pharisees. No calling of disciples. No feeding of crowds, casting out demons. That’s the BIG BUSINESS – capital B – kinds of things .. But Jesus at age 12 says there’s something else to be done in the in-between - just as important, but not as popular……not as showy….

Whatever it is, I wonder if its something you and I need to be doing as well. Can I give you three things I see?

1. Jesus the Boy King…...Seeking.

v. 43: “the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem.”

• The key to seeking? Being INTENTIONAL

• Jesus LISTENED & asked questions & dialogued

• Most of us? Not eager to sit at someone else’s feet and learn.

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