The first 30 years of Jesus’ life are passed over almost in silence by the Gospels. We would of course love to know more about those years, especially his family life. Some were tempted in earlier times to fill in this gap with imagination and invention in various ‘apocryphal’ gospels. In the NT only one event is recorded and so it must be particularly important. We turn now to consider Luke 2:41-52 In His Father’s house
1. A godly family
We have here a precious glimpse of Jesus’ early family life. ‘Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover’ (v41) – these are people of faith, like the psalmist in Psalm 122, a pilgrim psalm for those going up for such occasions. These are people who delight in the presence of God and the worship he prescribes. It was in such a family that the Messiah was placed, with the godly example of his parents. He was raised in a context of living faith. It is significant that this is the Feast of the Passover (instituted by God in Exodus 12-13), celebrating the deliverance of his people by the shedding of the blood of the lamb, and now the fulfilment of Passover has come, with ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29) present in the temple.
2. A unique Son
On the return journey to Nazareth – disaster – they discover Jesus is not with them. When 3 days have passed, they find him ‘in the temple courts’ (v46). Note regarding Jesus:
(i). He is a learner. ‘sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions’ (v46). We see the growing boy is a learner – there is no suggestion he is disputing with the teachers. His human mind needs to be nurtured and educated – only his divine mind knows all things. It is evident that there is something different about him – ‘amazed at his understanding and his answers’ (v47), but not such that any thought of him as more than a 12-year-old child of striking ability.
(ii). He is the Son. Mary, relieved and stressed, rebukes him (v48). Jesus’ response (v49) indicates he expected them to know where to find him. The crucial statement is in v49b ‘Didn’t you know that I had to be in my Father’s house? (less likely – ‘about my Father’s business’). Joseph fills the role of father, but Jesus has another, greater ‘Father’. Even at this early stage in his life Jesus has a profound awareness of:
a relationship that he bears to God. We glimpse his unique relationship to the Father.
a task that he is to perform. He has a mission to fulfil – the Father’s plan (John 4:34).
3. An abundant blessing
We have a brief glimpse of family life at home in v51-52. The focus is on Jesus – both parents fade from the record, Joseph probably dying soon and Mary mentioned again by Luke only in 8:19-21. His brothers did not believe until after the resurrection. We have a significant description of Jesus’ human development – he ‘grew in wisdom and stature’ – true humanity evident. Also ‘in favour with God and man’ – like Samuel (1 Samuel 2:26) and see also Proverbs 3:4. The Messiah is grace filled for the work he has been sent to do.