Jesus was a real man with real parents and real human problems.
Deuteronomy 16:16 says that every year, men in Israel celebrate three festivals: the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Harvest, and the Festival of Shelters. During these events, every man must present himself before the Lord at the chosen place, ensuring that they bring a gift for the Lord and not come empty-handed.
The Festival of Unleavened Bread is also known as Passover. The Festival of Harvest is also known as Pentecost. The Festival of Shelters is also known as the Feast of Tabernacles, and Jewish men were required by Mosaic law to travel to Jerusalem three times a year for these three celebrations. As a result, Jesus’ parents often traveled to Jerusalem. In addition, some rabbis insisted that women should also observe the law.
After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, 44 because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends.
If you’re a parent and you’ve ever lost a child, you have an idea of what Mary and Joseph were feeling in this moment. However, their shoulders felt the added weight of protecting the Messiah. I am sure they prayed in that moment, and we can only guess what they prayed…It was probably something like “Um God, we lost your son.”
After celebrating the Passover festival, Jesus’ friends and family would have made the long journey home from Jerusalem. People in a community would typically travel together in a caravan. They did this primarily for safety from thieves. As a result, Mary and Joseph assumed that Jesus was safe in the caravan, but when they discovered Jesus was missing, they rushed back to Jerusalem.
…in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. 47 All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”
Jesus’ family expected Him to obey His parents. The fifth of the ten commands is “Honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20:12). Because we know Jesus never sinned, we know that Jesus’ actions were not intended to dishonor His parents.
In verse 49 we read the first recorded words of Jesus:
“But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
Jesus was in His Father’s house. He wasn’t lost at all. He was being obedient to His Father, His Heavenly Father.
Those who study the science of motivation have come up with an equation to explain motivation.
Motivation = Expectancy + Value - Cost
Expectancy is the belief that you can do a behavior and achieve a result.
Value is the perception that a task is rewarding or useful.
Cost is the sense that what you’re doing causes some kind of pain.
People who don’t exercise have used this equation to choose not to exercise. The cost (or pain) of getting up early and sweating is a bigger negative than the value (or reward) that they believe they will receive. In addition, they likely have low expectancy (or belief in their ability to succeed). In every moment, Jesus was motivated to do God’s will. Jesus was fully human, but he never sinned. He never missed the mark. He never did anything short of God’s best. Everything he did pleased God.
When we become Christians, we are adopted into a family. God becomes our father. Although we cannot remain motivated to do God’s will in every moment, we can pursue that goal.
Let’s look again at the motivation equation.
Motivation = Expectancy + Value - Cost
Jesus expected that He could accomplish what God wanted Him to do. He believed that there was great value in doing God’s will, and He knew that the reward was bringing glory to God. He knew that there would be a cost, that there would be pain, but the reward and His belief that He could achieve what was being asked of Him was always greater.
So why do we fail? We sabotage ourselves by believing the lies of the satan. The satan tells us that we can’t do what is being asked of us, but the truth is that God can accomplish it through us.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.
Our reward is greater. Jesus is the greatest reward we could ever receive. We are motivated by the Christian mission so that when the world wonders why we do what we do, we can respond, “Didn’t you know I must be doing my Father’s business?”