Overall Objective: Luke 2.41-52

What’s the overall objective of your life? Have one? Ever thought of that?

Reflecting on the Second World War, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill wrote in his memoirs,

Advantage is gained in war and also in foreign policy and other things by selecting from many attractive or unpleasant alternatives the dominating point … failure to adhere to this simple principle produces confusion and futility of action, and nearly always makes things much worse later on (The Gathering Storm, 225).

In Luke 2.41-52, Jesus is a twelve-year-old boy. He and his parents have made the three-t0-four day journey to Jerusalem for Passover. After the ceremonies and celebrations, his parents can find Him nowhere. Three days after first missing Him, they find Jesus in the Temple listening to the teachers and asking question.

The crux of this passage lies in the relationship between verses 48 and 49.

Mother Mary: Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress. 

The boy Jesus: Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house? 

Notice the contrast here, between the earthy house of Joseph and the heavenly house, located in that time (before Jesus’ official coming) in the Temple. Jesus is not being “cheeky” here. He’s saying, As a child I belonged in my earthly father’s house, but now I belong increasingly in my heavenly Father’s house where I’m seeking to know God. In other words, He’s saying, I will be obedient to you NOW, but my overall objective is to know God and do His will.

Knowing God and doing His will would eventually lead Jesus to the cross. His parents didn’t get this (:50). Later, his disciples won’t get this (See 9.44-45). And, sometimes, as we seek to know God through Jesus among doing a whole host of good things, we don’t get this!

But, we can!

We can understand that, unlike Jewish people before the coming of Jesus, we don’t need to go to a place to seek God. Instead, we seek God through Jesus, who took our sins on Himself and credits us with his perfect righteousness when we trust Him by faith. And, we can make seeking to know God through Jesus our overall objective.

So, this week I took my kids to Milwaukee on a field trip, cross-country skied (and crashed five times), visited somebody who is sick, finished a book, and tucked my four-year-old into bed.

All of these are good things, but none of them is the main thing. All of them (except crashing on skis) is a do-over, but they’re all things that have to be done in faith.

Jesus, in Luke 2.41-52, helps me with this. In this bridge passage that shows Jesus moving from childhood to adulthood, we see Jesus grappling with the tension of multiple priorities, but prevailing to make the seeking of His Heavenly Father the main thing in His life. We can do the same, by seeking God, in Jesus.

Our proper overall objective is seeking God through Jesus in every corner of our lives.


How about you? Find somebody to discuss with and have a crack at these questions after reading through Luke 2.41-52:

What can we learn from Luke 1-2 about the progress Jesus made in His humanity, as He learned to seek God? Notice the progression of Jesus as baby (2.16) … child (2.40) … boy (2.43) … and, finally, Jesus the young man (2.52). Consider also what it meant for Jesus to increase “in favor with God and man” (:52).

How practical is it to make seeking to know God through Jesus the overall objective of your life?

How practical is it to make seeking to know God through Jesus the overall objective of your life?

What would it look like to bring all your various activities and endeavors under this overall objective?

What does it actually look like when we do bring all our endeavors and activities under the objective of seeking God through Jesus? What does it look like when we don’t do this?

What will this cost us, if we do? What did it cost Jesus? 

Is it worth it? What do we gain, if we do seek God through Jesus and make this the overall objective of our lives?

What questions do you have about Jesus do you have as we move from learning about Jesus the young boy to learning about Jesus the adult teacher?






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