(49) And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (50) And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.Luke 2:49-50
Trait #2- Moderation- Maturity exhibits moderation. v. 48-50 (continued)
Joseph and Mary finally find Jesus at the temple. They see him talking to the teachers of the law, and see that they are impressed with his understanding and questions. Mary, in what seems to be her frustration, questions Jesus about why he has chosen to tarry there. She says that his behavior has caused them great sorrow, and seems to indicate that she thinks that Jesus meant to do this.
Jesus’ response to his mother is interesting. He shows a level of moderation in his response. His response to her comes in two questions. These questions are both reasonable, gentle, and appropriate to the situation. He does not respond in an unkind way. He does not respond in a way that is not honoring. Notice the two questions:
“How is it that ye sought me?”
In a sense he was asking, “What was your method of looking?” or “How did you reason out where I would be?”. It is as if he was saying that sense they knew what His true identity is that they would have thought of the next question.
“wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”
Another way to think about this question is, “Did you not think that I would be doing the kind of thing that my father would want me to do?”. The idea here is that He is referring to God as His Father. He believed that they should have thought that if He was in Jerusalem that He would be in the Temple, because that is where God’s manifest presence is. This is where the sacrifices happened. This is where God’s people worshipped the Father It’s as if he is saying that their logic and reason must have included His mission. Why was Jesus here? He was here to do His Father’s business, and to complete His Father’s mission.
Jesus did not argue. He did not fight. He merely explained His thinking and His allegiance. His answer was gentle, reasonable and firm.
The scripture then says that they did not understand His answer. We have the ability to set this answer in the context of the whole of His life. His mission to us is clear because we know about His ministry, His death, His burial, and His resurrection. At the time they did not quite understand what He meant.
Jesus exhibited maturity in the moderation in His answer. He did not dishonor His parents in the answer. He did not sin in His answer. He was gentle, but firm. What a good example for us. Often when we are accused we are harsh in our response. We overreact. We accuse in return. We retaliate. The Bible says:
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.Proverbs 15:1
Paul taught us in Philippians 4:5:
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.Philippians 4:5
A sign of maturity is responding appropriately to the situation. We must be reasonable, gentle, and moderate in our response to those around us.
How do you respond when you are attacked, accused, or questioned? Are you gentle?