For whatever reason, God did not find it necessary to give us much information about Jesus’ childhood. Matthew covers his birth and ancestry and then jumps to his adult life. Mark begins with the ministry of John the Baptist when Jesus was already an adult. John asserts Jesus’ eternal pre-existence before birth and then jumps into his adult life. Luke tells us many details regarding Jesus’ birth and then gives us one short, interesting story from his childhood that leaves us wondering if Jesus did any other remarkable things during when he was growing up.
The center point of this passage is Jesus’ statement, “I must be about my father’s business” (v. 49). Here’s the most important thing that the passage reveals: by 12 years old, Jesus is fully aware of who he is and what his relationship to God is. His true father is Yahweh, the God of Israel, not Joseph. Jesus already knows what his business is, and it’s not carpentry.