Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 2:49
“And He said to them, why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” – Luke 2:49
I am going to start 2022 by looking at verses that are specific quotes of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our first one will be the first words of Jesus as recorded by any of the gospels. This being our focus verse, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” Luke 2:49. They were in Jerusalem to obey the Law regarding the feasts. “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord GOD.” Exodus 23:17. And now that Jesus was twelve, He was now permitted to go as well, as a son of the law, to take part in the celebration of the sacred festival.
Now after this was complete they headed back home. “and as they were returning, after spending the full number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. And His parents were unaware of it, but supposed Him to be in the caravan, and went a day’s journey; and they began looking for Him among their relatives and acquaintances. And when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, looking for Him.” Luke 2:43-45. They supposed that He was with them in the caravan, but after having looked for Him, they returned back to Jerusalem. And after three days they found Him. “And it came about 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. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.” Luke 2:46-47. Because it seems improbable that they would not have gone to the temple three days after arriving back, according to theologian John Peter Lange, “It seems more probable that we must allow one day for their departure, vs. 44; one for their return, vs. 45; and the third, vs. 46, for their search; and that they found Him in the sanctuary at the close of the latter.”
They probably found Him in one of the porches of the Court of the Women, where the schools of the Rabbis were held and the law regularly taught. They were surprised to see Him there, and therefore Mary asked Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” Luke 2:48b. What happened here is definitely different than the norm in this culture. In the male-dominated temple one would expect Joseph rather than Mary to address Jesus. It could be that the unique spiritual bond she had with Jesus prompted her making this statement. And she addresses Him not as boy, or young man, but as son, or child. She says here they have been diligently looking for Him.
We then see His response in our focus verse. “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” Luke 2:49. The first thing I want to discuss is the last word in this verse. In the Greek, the use of the word ‘house’ can also be translated as business. Greek scholar Bill Mounce says the following, “But the plural τοῖς nags me, and suggests it is the ”things” of the father that was motivating Jesus to stay behind.” Thus, I believe what was meant here is ‘My Father’s things or affairs’, not ‘My Father’s house’. And this makes additional sense, in that because Mary brought up the idea of Joseph as father, that He was referring to God’s business or affairs over Joseph’s, not the Temple over Joseph’s house. In other words, what God wanted Jesus to do was far more important that anyone else’ desires.
The one thing that stands out to me regarding this verse is that Jesus saw His work for God as more important than anyone else’s, including Joseph and Mary. And I want us all to be challenged to think the same way. God’s calling on our lives is far more important than anything else. We should never look at the desires of another to take priority over the desires of God. We must always look at God’s ways as greater than ours. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9. Jesus here is laying out what should be our most important priorities. Let us follow them as He did.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.