Mary struggled to understand Jesus’ relationship with His Father

Last updated on December 22, 2021

And His mother said to Him, ‘Son, why have You treated us so? Behold, Your father and I have been searching for You in great distress.’ And He said to them, ‘Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?’ And they did not understand the saying that He spoke to them.” (Luke 2:48-50)

Mary knew that Jesus was not Joseph’s biological son. But in everyday life, Joseph did fulfill this role. Therefore, I understand why she calls him “Your father”. Many people did. Most of them may not have been aware of Jesus’ supernatural lineage. For example, in Luke 4:22, people hear Jesus’ gracious words and marvel, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”.

No, He was not. This became clear when Jesus was twelve years old. He accompanied Joseph and Mary to the temple in Jerusalem. When they returned home, Jesus stayed behind to discuss religious questions with the teachers there. Mary did not know this. After a while, she started to search for Him and only found Him three days later! Understandably, she was worried and upset.

Jesus explained to Joseph and Mary that He “must be in My Father’s house”, that is, in God’s temple. But, Luke comments, they did not understand what He was saying to them. And again, we read how “His mother treasured up all these things in her heart”. She grew in understanding by watching and listening carefully.
Ever since Jesus’ birth, people struggle to understand how He can be both God and man at the same time, and what His relationship with God the Father is. Does this paradox invade your thoughts?

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