Like most other Jews living in the region, Jesus’ parents made an annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. When he was 12 years old, they went to Jerusalem as usual.
After the festival was over, the family started the return trip home to Galilee. But unbeknownst to his parents, Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. Mary assumed that Jesus was traveling among the men. And Joseph assumed that the boy Jesus was among the women. Once they realized that he was missing, they traveled for a full day, moving between various groups in the entourage looking for him. But when they couldn’t find Jesus among their family and friends, Joseph and Mary turned around and went back to Jerusalem to look for him.
Three days after they first realized he was missing, Jesus’ parents found him in the temple. He was sitting among the teachers, listening and asking questions. All the teachers in the group were amazed at the depth of his understanding and by the insight in the questions he asked.
When his parents saw him sitting there, they were really annoyed. His mother blurted out, “Child, why have you disrespected us in this way? Look at me! Your father and I have been worried sick. We’ve spent three whole days looking for you!”
Jesus calmly replied, “Why? Why have you been so frantically looking for me? Isn’t it obvious that I had to be here taking care of my Father’s business?” But that only confused them more.
Jesus returned to Nazareth with them and was an obedient son. Mary tucked this whole episode deep into her heart and frequently pondered every word Jesus had said. Jesus matured. As he grew in years he also grew in wisdom -- and in favor with both God and people.