Why are you looking for me?
Why are you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house? (Luke 2:49)
There is mostly a void in the scriptures concerning the childhood of Jesus. But a little insight is given in Luke's gospel when we find a distraught Mary and Joseph in a state of panic, looking for their missing son. They both breathe a sigh of relief when they see the One entrusted into their care sitting in the temple in Jerusalem. Luke states, "After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers." (Luke 2:46-47).
A relieved but somewhat angry Mary, heart pounding in her chest, runs up to Jesus and asks Him, "Why did you do this to us? We have been so anxious looking for you."
I have found - perhaps you have too - that when we question God, His will, His motives, His purpose, He does not respond with an answer, but with a question of His own. "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" I can sense surprise and amazement in Jesus' response. "Did you not know? After all you have seen and heard, you still did not know I would be in my Father's house? You searched this city for three days and it never occurred to you I would be in the temple?"
Mary and Joseph had searched the caravan, they went to see family and friends, they searched the streets of Jerusalem and inquired of strangers for three days before by chance they came across Him in the temple. You see, Jesus is often absent from places we think He is supposed to be, and is often found in places where we expect Him not.
Jesus was no longer Mary's little boy, for he being 12 years old had stepped over the threshold dividing childhood from adulthood. Jesus was Bar Mitzvah, or a "Son of the Law." Mary's and Joseph's bedtime stories to a wide-eyed little boy telling of Samson and Moses, of Jericho and Solomon would be replaced with more formal training from teachers and doctors of the Law.
There comes a time when a mother has to let her son go, and let them find their place in the world. For Mary, who nursed Jesus, who bathed Him, who fixed a broken toy, who brushed away a tear and bandaged a skinned knee, that time would come much too early.