And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49)
The questions of Jesus were directed to his parents who, after three days of searching Jerusalem, found their precocious twelve year old in the Temple conversing with the learned people. Mary and Joseph were perplexed. They were perplexed before they found him because they couldn’t find him. Now that they had found him, they were perplexed by him. What did he just say?
They did not grasp what was obvious to Jesus. I do not fault them. After countless Sunday School lessons on this text, I didn’t see what was so obvious to Jesus either. This was not a lesson about Jesus being an accelerated learner and ready for the advance placement class. Nor was it merely the startling claim of a twelve year old to have God as his Father. It was also a lesson on the inability of Mary and Joseph to comprehend a matter that was so fundamental to Jesus that it was a given.
Jesus’ questions were a mild rebuke. Let me paraphrase. “Why would you spend three days looking for me? This should have been the first place you looked. It is, after all, my Father’s house.” To Jesus, it was a given. Mary and Joseph had not got it yet.
What is a given for you? What is so patently obvious about you that no one would question? One day, when you have passed through ‘the old door in the garden wall’ and the weight of the earth is literally on your shoulders, when your family and friends have left the graveside and have wandered back to the fellowship hall, scoffing down potato salad and green beans, how will they will finish this sentence? “You know, it was a given for old so and so that ….” He would be at the game on Friday? That he would be at work on time? That he would play the radio too loud?
Will anyone say “it was a given that he would be found in the place where God is worshiped and his Son is honored?”
Need a Savior? I know one. John 3:16.
And what a Savior he is!