And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
There are not many glimpses in Scripture of Jesus as a child, but this story about Jesus staying behind at the temple while His family traveled toward home without Him can teach us some lessons. Jesus is our great example, even as a boy, and He shows us, first of all, that even children can seek to know God, to learn of Him, and understand His truth. Since Jesus came in the flesh, He had to grow and increase. He had to learn. He gained wisdom. And here He is at the temple asking questions, wanting to learn more about God and His law. And we can all continue to learn throughout our lives.
Secondly, Jesus demonstrates obedience to parents and to God. Though Jesus was God, He came as the Son of God, submissive to His Father’s will. And though He was the King of the Jews at His birth, He was still subject to His parents. He was obedient to the command of God to honor father and mother, respecting that God-given authority in His life. He chose to submit Himself to them. And we’re never too old to submit to God’s authority. But even at this young age, Jesus seeks to go about His Father’s business, to begin pursuing and accomplishing God’s will for His life.
We can also start fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives from a young age. It’s not just an adult thing to obey and follow God, but it is for all of God’s children, including those who are still children themselves. So even from an early age, as they grow, as they learn, as they strive to follow God, they can be about their Father’s business. They can gain wisdom that will help them later. They can learn things about God and about serving God before they have to step out on their own into His call for their lives.
It’s easy to forget that between that time when Jesus came to Earth as a baby and that time He stepped forward to begin His ministry, He was living a life, going about the different things that a human life requires. But He was also feeding that spiritual side, that God side, that part of Him that, when the right time came, would go forward into His ministry and eventually to the cross. Jesus shows us that it’s never too early to start living for God, for being willing to obey those in authority, and to pursue God’s will and purpose for our lives. So no matter what stage of life we are in, let us also be about our Father’s business.