"I Must Be About My Father's Business"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 526

Context: The authorship of this Gospel is a matter of some dispute. Both Luke and Acts were evidently written by the same man. Some scholars find internal evidence indicating that the writer must have been a physician; and since Luke the physician was a friend and companion of the Apostle Paul, the traditional attribution of this Gospel to him would seem logical. In any case, the author is at some pains in the beginning of the work to indicate that many are writing gospels, and that he has gathered his own material from people still living who were present when many of these events occurred. The rest of Chapter I discusses the various events which foretold the birth of Christ. In the second chapter he tells the story of the Nativity in terms of quiet and moving simplicity; this is the account which is, because of its poetic beauty, most familiar to us. It has long been a favorite passage for use in the celebration of Christmas. Luke then records the significant events that occurred during the infancy of Jesus: circumcision and purification according to the law, the presentation in the Temple, and the prophecies of Simeon and Anna. Simeon was an old man, who had been told by the Holy Ghost that he would see Christ before his death. Led by the Spirit, he enters the Temple and takes the child up in his arms, saying He will be the glory of Israel. Anna, a prophetess, also enters the Temple at this time and confirms what Simeon has said. When all customary religious observances have been completed, Jesus' parents return with him to Nazareth. Luke tells very little more about the childhood of Jesus, save that He was wise beyond his years. He supports this statement with a memorable picture of the group of old scholars, who are delighted with the boy's eagerness and precocity:

And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.
And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.
And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?

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