There are several reasons why we need to pay attention to this story. It’s the only story from Jesus’ childhood that we have in all the Gospels. We have the story of Jesus’ birth, and then the Gospels skip to Jesus at age 30 except for this story. And this story includes the first recorded words of Jesus. But then, you may wonder why this story? Why did Luke pick this story? Or perhaps, why did Mary pass on only this story of Jesus’s childhood to the apostles?
Let’s see the story. Mary and Joseph and all their family and friends from Nazareth made the long journey. It would have taken over a week and when the Passover ended, Joseph, Mary and the entire Nazareth community headed home together. After traveling for about ten hours, they arrived at their camp. Mary found Joseph and said, “Where’s Jesus?” Joseph said, “I thought he was with you.” Can you imagine their faces? They had literally just lost the Messiah, the Savior of the World. Mary and Joseph hurried back to Jerusalem. Their panic grew as they searched the city not just for a few minutes, but it was for three days. They went to the market. He wasn’t there. They went from house to house. He wasn’t there. They checked among the sick and injured. He wasn’t there. They checked everywhere they knew. He wasn’t there.
So one reason I think Mary remembered this story could be because it was traumatic, but there was another reason I’m sure. The traumatic moments became transforming moments. When Joseph and Mary finally found Jesus in the Temple, Mary said to him, “Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.” And then we hear the words of Jesus: “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”