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My Father's Business

What was Jesus referring to when He said, "I must be about My Father's business?"

This phrase "My Father's business" was only mentioned once in the Bible in Luke 2:49. Yet out of this one single verse, countless books have been written about this fascinating and thrilling topic.

Before we discuss any further, I would like to draw your attention to the various Bible translations for this verse:


Luke 2:49


And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"


And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?


And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? knew ye not that I must be in my Father's house?


"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?"


Jesus answered, "Why did you have to look for me? Didn't you know that I would be in my Father's house?"


"But why did you need to search?" he asked. "Didn't you realize that I would be here at the Temple, in my Father's House?"


And he said to them, "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"


And He said to them, "Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father's house?"

As we can see, only KJV and NKJV use the phrase "My Father's business," and all others use the phrase "My Father's house."

The Greek word for "business" in Luke 2:49 was unknown (Strong NT:9999). This word was added by the translators for better readability in the English language. There is no actual word in the original Greek text.

For more information, we have to take a closer look at the context of the passage in Luke 2:39-52:

So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

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 according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day's journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances.

So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.

So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously." And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

The Bible meant what it said, and the Bible also said what it meant. Without any doubt, Jesus used the term "My Father's business" to refer to "My Father's house." Jesus desired to linger behind, to dwell in His Father's House, and to be with His Father. This Son of David had the same desire as King David (Psalm 27:4):

One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple.

Jesus told His disciples this precious truth of how He dwells in the Father, and how the Father dwells in Him (John 14:10):

Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father Who dwells in Me does the works.

His Father's business is His Father's house. From the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation, the business of God remains the same - to have a household of people dwelling together with Him. We will be His people, and He will be our God. God created Adam and Eve so that they could live with Him in the Garden, dwelling in His presence and enjoying sweet communion with Him.

But man sinned. God still loved man. He therefore sent His Son to earth to die for man so that man may dwell together with God again. In the last chapter of Revelation, we see that man is able to enjoy dwelling in His presence forever after sin and death are removed.

This is what the New Covenant is all about (Jeremiah 31:31-33):

"Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah-- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."

His Father's business is found in the name of Jesus:

And she will bring forth a Son,
and you shall call His name JESUS,
for He will save His people from their sins."
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:
"Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and
they shall call His name Immanuel,"
which is translated, "God with us." (Matthew 1:21-23)

His Father's business is found is the mission of Jesus:

But He answered and said, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew 15:24)

His Father's business is found in the final prayers of Jesus on earth:

Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. (John 17:11-12)

His Father's business is found in the Great Commission that Jesus had given us:

"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)

His Father's business is found in what Jesus is doing currently:

In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:2-3)

God's business is forevermore the same. God does not change. And His business remains consistently, continually, continuously and constantly the same. He is the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation or shadow of turning (James 1:17). God does not change like shifting shadows. God does not change His business.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Praise the LORD that He does not change. If God changes His business, we will be in deep trouble. God's business is not just for the poor. God is interested in everyone - the poor, the rich and all in-between. In fact, in the beginning of Genesis, there was no poor. And at the end of Revelation, there will not be any poor in the new heaven and the new earth. All the poor have become rich by then. He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). God's business is still the same gospel message written in John 3:16:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Man must accept and receive Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life back to the Father (John 14:6). God desires that all men and women will dwell with Him in His house forever.

His Father's business is not about building big churches, and it is not about making big money. It is God dwelling in man, and man dwelling in God. Of course, we can build big churches as the Spirit leads. But that's the business of the church, or simply the Church's business. And of course, we can do business according to God's ways and principles. But that's kingdom business. Kingdom business is serving the King in His kingdom, creating wealth for the welfare and well-being of the kingdom community and its neighbours. But His Father's business is His Father's house!

Many people have tried to use different names to define their businesses. They would try to use the highest and utmost term to name their businesses so that others would subscribe to their calling, and support their ministries and businesses. The problem with this is abuse and misuse.

The term "kingdom business" was so abused and misused that it had lost its original meaning. People do not want to talk about it any longer. If people misuse this term "My Father's business," others will soon shut their ears and hearts to it. Let's not use the name of the LORD in vain, calling our business His business when ours is not. All our secret ambitions will be stripped bare in the glorious light of His Word.

God's business is God's house in which we dwell with Him always and forever! It is His business as usual. He is our God, and we are His people. From eternity to eternity, and forevermore the same.

Written on:
29 November 2004