Vicar Matt Doebler
Matins Devotion: January 4, 2022
Luke is the only gospel which gives us any information about Jesus’ life between his birth and the beginning of his public ministry. And even what Luke gives us here in this snapshot of the twelve-year-old Jesus is scant—a mere twelve verses—a couple of paragraphs. So it raises the question…why include this episode at all? What does Luke want us to see here in relation to the rest of his gospel?
Many of those who have studied Luke’s gospel have noted that there is a strong theme of divine necessity. And they’re absolutely right. Just read through Luke and you’ll hear Jesus saying things like:
“I must preach the good news…”
“The Son of Man must suffer many things…”
“…everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled…”
The big picture that Luke wants to show us is that nothing which happens in Jesus’ life is an accident. Jesus didn’t one day decide to be our Savior. It’s why he came. The divine plan that was bringing about our redemption is at the heart of everything that Jesus says and does. The cross wasn’t an accident. The resurrection wasn’t a surprise. They were the destination. They were the goal. They were the mission.
This is true even from the beginning. Even for the little twelve-year-old boy Jesus. Here Luke records the only words that we have from Jesus prior to the start of his public ministry. And what does Jesus say to his frantic, frightened, and bewildered parents following their three-day search for Jesus. “For what reason are you searching for me? Do you not understand that I must accomplish my Father’s mission?”
For what reason are you searching for Jesus? Is it because he’s always been a part of your family? Because you think he’d approve of your politics? Because you think he’d make a good therapist—someone who will always be there to listen?
You’ll never find this Jesus. There’s only one Jesus you can have. The one who, for you and for your salvation came down from heaven. The one who came to preach the good news. The one who came to suffer and die. The one who came to rise. That’s the Jesus Luke wants us to see here. The Jesus who was always doing what he must do to save you.