"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he was saying to them. - Luke 2:49-50 (NIV)
"I had to be in my Father's house." It was a one-sentence explanation, but it told a world of who He was and why He had come. Yet Jesus was only 12 years old.
It was his first time to go to Jerusalem with his parents, to see the very core of how people worshipped God, his father. It was an important feast, the Passover, and he would experience first-hand the way it was observed. He went as the Son of Man, but his deeper, divine consciousness caused him to go to the temple and there he "tarried" to go "about my Father's business" (King James Version).
Jesus was neither distracted nor mesmerized by a first-time visit to a big city as any 12-year-old would have been. Perhaps he had taken in the sights and sounds in wonder, but when it came to Godly matters --his father's business-- his higher calling kicked in, so to speak. The Passover was a Godly matter, thus the very heart of its observance would naturally be in the Temple.
Jesus wasn't showing maturity. To say such would imply that Jesus was at one point immature. He wasn't going about the temple trying to prove he was intellectually older than his age. Rather, Jesus was showing he was under a higher authority that had given him a higher purpose than just visiting an event with his parents.
Oftentimes in the course of our lives, we forget that God has given us a higher purpose. If we don't know what it is, we need to go to the center of our activities -our heart-and inquire of the Lord what it is. Knowing it, we then must learn to let that higher calling kick in and not be distracted by the sights and sounds of this mundane world.
When Mary, the mother of Jesus, came looking for him and admonished him, Jesus reminded her of his higher calling. It was an object lesson she never forgot.
It's an object lesson we too should always remember.