Luke 2:41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.
This was a major religious event, drawing thousands of people from all around. Jesus was twelve years old at this time, and traveled with his parents to the capital city. But when they returned home, Jesus was left behind.
Worshippers usually traveled in groups, and with so many people, Mary and Joseph probably assumed Jesus was with the other parent. Their attention would have been divided, since they likely had other children by this time (Matthew 13:55). And since Jesus was the oldest, they would have been more concerned for their little ones.
When Jesus discovered he was left behind, he went to the temple and waited for his parents to return. While he was there, he spoke with the religious teachers, and made quite an impression. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers (Luke 2:47), wrote Luke.
This was a sign of things to come. Years later they would say, How did this man get such learning? (John 7:15). No one ever spoke the way this man does (John 7:46). And, all the people hung on his words (Luke 19:48). Jesus was the greatest teacher who ever lived.
Luke 2:48 His mother said to him, Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.
We can imagine the look on Mary’s face when she finally found her twelve-year-old son. They traveled about a day before they knew he was missing. Then they traveled another day to get back to Jerusalem. Then they spent a third day searching before they found him in the temple. Mary was not a happy mother.
Why were you searching for me? he asked. Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house? (Luke 2:49). This sounds rather adolescent, but Jesus was surprised that his parents would not know where to find him. He loved his heavenly Father, and would naturally want to be in his Father’s house.
The only other time Jesus spoke of his Father’s house was the night before he was crucified. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me (John 14:2-3), he said.
To stay in a world class hotel can cost thousands of dollars a night. The rooms are fabulous, with spectacular views, and come with every amenity. Heaven will be better than any hotel, and we will never have to leave. We’ll be with our heavenly Father, and with Jesus Christ our Lord. We’ll be with the Holy Spirit, and with all our brothers and sisters. It will be the ultimate family reunion, and it will never end. Our Father’s house has many rooms. If it were not so, Jesus would have told us.
Luke 2:51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them.
Jesus did not obey his parents because they were always right, but because God said to Honor your father and your mother (Exodus 20:12). Christian children should obey their parents for the same reason—because God said so.
Actually, God likes authority and submission in every sphere of life. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority (1 Peter 2:13), wrote Peter. This pleases our heavenly Father, makes us more like Jesus Christ, and also makes us unique in the world.
Luke 3:2 [T]he word of God came to John son of Zechariah.
It was time for John the Baptist to introduce the Messiah. In fact, the Old Testament foretold the coming of both. I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple (Malachi 3:1), wrote Malachi. So the word of God came to John the Baptist, who introduced Jesus Christ, who often taught at the temple (John 7).
Malachi was the last prophet to speak for God in the Old Testament, and he foretold this event about four hundred years before it took place. If you want to say something important, it may be helpful to pause for dramatic effect. The longer you pause, sometimes, the more dramatic the effect. After four hundred years of prophetic silence, God had something to say through John. Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29).
Luke 3:3 [John preached] a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
John did not preach baptism alone for the forgiveness of sins, but a baptism of repentance. He required turning away from sin, in order to turn to God. Since most people did not take sin seriously, John stood in the water and preached about God’s wrath. Those who believed repented of their sin, stepped into the water, and were baptized.
Standing in the crowd and hearing John preach was easy, and even entertaining. But stepping out of the crowd, and being baptized, was a public admission of guilt, and a pledge to live for God. Jesus followed John’s practice of baptizing (John 3:22), and still requires baptism of all his disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).
Luke 3:4-5 A voice of one calling in the wilderness, Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.
John found his job description in these words from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 40:3-4). If a king was coming to town, messengers were sent ahead of him, so the town could make preparations such as road repair. This king was so great that every mountain was to be leveled, and every valley was to be filled in. This was not a physical road, but a highway into people’s hearts, which John would build through his preaching.
Reflection and Review
Have you ever been homesick for heaven?
Why should Christians respect authority?
Is faith enough to be saved, or must we also repent?