A Mother’s Heart, the Father’s Business

“Where’s Jesus?”

This was the question that Mary was shouting. She had to be. The Son given through her was not with her and the rest of the company that had traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover.

“Where is Jesus? Where?”

She likely said, as she confronted her husband Joseph. After all, this carpenter was the head of the household. It was his responsibility to lead the family to the place of worship for the prescribed feasts. These celebrations are detailed in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers through words communicated to Moses.

We can read about how these holy family excursions were conducted in the beginning chapters of 1 Samuel. There, we read of a man named Elkanah who went to the Tabernacle site with his two wives, one of whom was Hannah, a woman who had no children. They made offerings and prayed to the Lord in the presence of the priests. During one of these visits, Hannah poured out her prayer in asking for a son, and that son was given. Samuel was his name and he was a powerful minister for the Lord.

“Where’s Jesus?”

Mary searched throughout the other Nazarene families. I think she got frantic. She was a mother whose boy, her oldest, had gone missing. You perhaps have seen agitated and frightened moms racing through the aisles of the supermarket upon realizing that one their young ones had wandered off.

Jesus, however, had not wandered. He went to where He belonged, as we will see going forward through the concluding portion of Luke 2.

Anxious and Concerned

“Where’s Jesus?”

The question — and the anxiety attendant to it — reveals something clear about this mother. She was human, one of us, with fears and feelings and struggles. She was a mother and an imperfect one.

For some, Mary has been un-biblically portrayed as a perpetual virgin who was without sin herself. Therefore she is seen as able to use her standing and merits as a “saint” to aid those who pray to her.

The Magnificat, the hymn in Luke 1 given to Mary in her pregnancy, exalted Christ as her Savior. “Holy is the Lord.” This is what she sang, and it was the Lord Himself, the Son of God, who was in her womb. And He was born through her to bring salvation for her, as well as for the whole world. Apart from Christ, none is righteous, no, not one — not even she who gave Him birth.

“Where’s Jesus?”

Mary’s firstborn was now 12 years old. And I am thinking that 12-year-olds in those days were allowed a whole lot more independence than 12-year-olds are allowed today.

Jesus being out of Mary’s sight was nothing unusual. He was unseen to her eyes just then. However, the Son was never out of her heart. The Scriptures tell of how Mary treasured all the details expressed to her by the shepherds who came to the manger. She held fast to those things told to her by Simeon in the Temple on the day Jesus was dedicated. “A sword would pierce her” to the core, Simeon foretold. This Passover time disappearance would be but a pin prick to her mama heart in comparison to what she would witness and feel at the Cross of Golgotha.

For the adolescent Jesus, it was surely expected that, even at 12, He would understand the family departure time. Mary expected to see Him with the group as it journeyed back to Nazareth.

“He’s not here.” She had to admit, and He had to be located.

Interesting, isn’t it? Think on this:  “He’s not here” would be what the angels said to those seeking Him at the tomb Easter morning. “He is risen” the angels would proclaim. The announcement brought joy –unspeakable joy – to those who loved and followed Him.

Found: At the Temple

Back to Jerusalem went Mary and Joseph. “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).

There He was, much to Mary’s relief and consternation. She admonished Jesus. I don’t think it is a stretch to say that she scolded Him. Let’s read it:  “… Son why have you treated us so? Behold your father and I have been searching for You in great distress” (Luke 2:48).

Here’s more evidence that Mary was not divine as the Son was and is divine. She didn’t know all things, and Jesus made this point for us. “… ‘Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?’ And they did not understand the saying that He spoke to them” (Luke 2:49-50).

To serve as the parents for the Son was a matter of remarkable faith for Mary — and Joseph, too. They answered the call of God. Click To Tweet

To serve as the parents for the Son was a matter of remarkable faith for Mary — and Joseph, too. They answered the call of God. Yes, nothing would be impossible with the Lord. They surely believed this more than ever after the happenings in Bethlehem. Still, their lives were never lives of privilege and comfort.

There would be other misunderstandings involving this family. One of these moments is recorded for us in Matthew 12 and Mark 3.

In these accounts, Jesus is addressing a throng of people; a number of religious leaders were on hand challenging Him. Concerned for His welfare, Mary and her sons who would be half-brothers to the Savior came to rescue Him “for they said He is beside Himself” (see Mark 3:21).

When told His family had come to see Him, Jesus gave an expanded definition of what it means to be related to Him:  “And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father is My brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:49-50).

In John 7, we read of the public ministry of Jesus as it was ramping up. His works and wonders and words brought Him a reputation — He was loved and received by a good number. He also was marked as a deceiver who was hated and opposed.

His brothers, confused, embarrassed, and seemingly aggravated over the pace of His mission, pushed for Him to take His movement out into the open and bring it to the next level. “For not even His brothers believed in Him” (see John 7:5).

God With US

In Luke 2, Jesus’ ministry got a small start as a growing boy who sat among the leaders in His Father’s House. Could he have stayed there? For sure, after all, Hannah gave Samuel to the Lord and left him at the Tabernacle to grow up among the priests (see 1 Samuel 2).

The Savior, however, walked with Mary and Joseph from the Temple at Jerusalem that day. He lived His life as a member of the family in Nazareth. He honored the home. He grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and men.

Mary watched and pondered it all. She “treasured up all these things in her heart.”

“Where’s Jesus?” Right with her all the way, He was and is.

And He is right with us all the time.

We are prone to pose questions, aren’t we? “Where are You, Lord?” Or, “Why are You treating us this way?” We are in good company, for Mary asked just such questions. David, too, wrote and sang out his queries in Psalm 8 during a season when he felt alone and forgotten.

Jesus is about our Father’s business. He’s at the right hand of the throne in glory. He’s there where He belongs, and we are seated above, in Him and with Him (see Ephesians 1:21). He is working all things together. He has conquered and won our victory.

Let us treasure these truths.





Steve Andrulonis
Latest posts by Steve Andrulonis (see all)