The family of Jesus had traveled to Jerusalem for Passover. Males were supposed to go there for certain Holy Days, although probably many skipped this requirement or sometimes went to some and not others. Passover was the one to which the majority went. We are told Joseph and Mary went every year.
It was an arduous trip. First, they lived in Nazareth and had to travel the 90 miles on foot; perhaps they had a donkey or an ox cart. Whatever, you couldn't hop in the family car and be up the freeway in a couple hours. It could be a dangerous journey as well, so people would usually travel in a caravan of family or friends and neighbors. It is obvious from the text that this was the case here, "Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends."
Such a journey was tiring and it had to be repeated going home after the festival. And the event itself was quite wearying. This was not like an outing to Church for an hour or so on Easter or Christmas. This went on for several days in a city that was turned into a constant carnival. The population doubled, tripled and people were everywhere, as were the compliment of vendors and entertainers and pickpockets. There were lines at the Temple for sacrifices, seders to attend, all kinds of hustle and bustle.
As many of us know, we often need a vacation from our vacation. This is especially true if we are attending some grand event, like Mardi Gras. I can completely understand how Joseph and Mary could have left their son behind. I mean, when packing up to leave people were tired and eager to be on the way. There was probably confusion and traffic jams of crowds as all the pilgrims departed. They were traveling with a trusted group, other family members. They set off thinking Jesus was somewhere in line with his cousins and aunts and uncles. They went a day before finding arrangements to spend a night and then discovered no one had seen the boy. These things happen.
So now they return and search for three days. Finally they find the lad in the temple with the teachers.
His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Luke 2:48-49 (NIV)
In my last post, "Confrontationist", I only briefly passed this over as his parents having to confront who he was. I still think that was part of it, but not all, so what did he mean?
A problem arises for us because of the nature of translation. Different languages do not just substitute different words for the same thing. There may be words spelled the same with alternate meanings, such as, "The wind rustled the leaves" and "Did you wind the clock." There are words where they're spelled different, but while their pronunciation is the same, the meaning isn't. Add to this grammatical rules, slang, idiom and voice infection and you end up with signs like this in non-English speaking countries:
There is quite a bit to be said about what came after this and someday we will come back to the last few sentences at the end of Luke 2, but for now we'll end here and next time pick up with "On the Road and In Your Face".
Yes, I know, I said that last time, but this time I mean it...I think.