Tuesday: Jesus in the Temple

The New Testament does not tell us too much about the childhood of Jesus. One account, though, that gives great insight is Luke 2:41-52, the story of Jesus and His parents’ visit to Jerusalem during the feast of Passover. Read it over and then answer the following questions:

Image © Standard Publishing from GoodSalt.com

Image © Standard Publishing from GoodSalt.com

How does this story help to illustrate the decidedly Jewish character of the Gospels and how central the religion was to all that took place?

How is it significant that this story took place during the Passover?

For how many days were Jesus’ parents not able to find Him? Of what does that remind you?

Though Jesus was an obedient child, His answer to His parents appears to be almost a rebuke. What important point does His reply contain? What does this say to all of us about what must have top priority in our lives?

Read Luke 2:51. What does it mean that He was subject to them? How does this verse give us even more insight into the amazing condescension on the part of God for our salvation? What can this teach us about the need for submission in the right time and place?



Tuesday: Jesus in the Temple — 20 Comments

  1. Jesus' reply to His parents stems from His intimate relationship with them. No doubt Jesus had very good parents but I believed that by now, based upon what they knew about Him and His devotion to spiritual things that the first place, they should have looked for Him was in the temple. It happened that it was after three days they looked there. Hence the reply "Did you not know that I would be about My Father's business"

    • Every human being make mistakes. But to me with this one, the will of God had to be fulfilled and divine ordained. Probably, in that culture the children were allowed to lag behind with friends or others so it did not dawn on his parents he was missing. It took them three days to locate Him and that was in the temple teaching. As parents you become stressed out and disappointed when children do not obey, so were Jesus parent. His respond was- He had to be about His father business. So let us also be about our father business.

  2. It is one of the strangest things that so many people follow the Jewish Jesus and cannot see that He kept the Jewish Passover, He was in the Synagogue expounding the teachings of the ''Law''. May the Lord open their eyes to behold the Jesus who kept the Sabbath, was obedient to God in all things.

  3. Question #3 asked.For how many days were Jesus’ parents not able to find Him? Of what does that remind you?
    Ans: that question reminds me of so many mention of three (3) in the bible. For example, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, (The three witnesses), Three yearly feasts, three days spent in the fish belly, Jesus stated He can destroy the temple and build it back in three days, three days in the earth(death, burial and resurrection), one must have two or three witnesses before their evidence is trust worthy, etc, etc.

    • Marva, even though I think the lesson was probably thinking of a specific event your insight in connecting things like the uses of the number 3 is important. I am not sure just how much importance Jewish thinking put on numbers but I suspect it was a lot more than we generally give them credit for. Because of that I think we can usually assign a spiritual meaning when a number is rounded as in 5000, 4000, or 7000. Also what is obvious is when numbers like 7, 10, 3, 4, 2, etc. is used in contexts that suggest a spiritual understanding such as in the book of Revelation.

      Personally I like viewing things like the feeding of the 4000 and 5000 from the point of symbolism of the numbers. To me numbers also play an important role in understanding the sanctuary.

    • Marva, that Joseph and Mary were separated from Jesus and did not know where He was for 3 days reminds me of the disciples' separation from Jesus and their confusion of not knowing where He was between the crucifixion and the resurrection.

      If Mary and Joseph had paid better attention to Jesus, they would not have been separated from Him.

      If the disciples had paid better attention to Jesus and what He tried to teach them, they would not have felt so lost between the crucifixion and the resurrection.

  4. Question #4. What does it mean that He was “subject” to them?
    Answer: despite Jesus was the 'Son of God', He was the 'Son of Man'. He was sent through earthly parents to live as a man and be subjected to his earthly parents. He said in His commandment. Honor thy mother and father that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. He could not go against His parents to dishonor them.

  5. One of the aspects of the Bible narrative is that it consists of mostly facts and is told in a very dry way with little emotion.

    One of my earliest memories is of me getting lost at the age of 2 and a half years old. Mother had taken me into town on the bus to do the weekly shopping. While past a number of shops, there was something in a shop window that had caught my attention and I stopped to look at it. Then I had the realisation that I was alone. I looked around for my mother and could not find her. I remember looking up at the strange faces of people walking past and getting upset about my situation. I also remember walking home on my own. I have no idea how I managed to cross the busy streets, but at 2 and a half, I walked all of the six kilometres back home. When I got home, I sat on the front step of our house and waited.

    I know that my mother was very frantic as any mother can be. She had some choice words to say too when she finally got home and found me there waiting. She had called the police, looked in every shop, and did everything she possibly could to locate me. She came home very disheartened and not knowing what to do next. I also know that she was praying with all her heart that I would be found.

    When we read the Bible stories, we forget that there is always emotion involved. If Mary was as frantic as what my mother was, I am surprised that “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously” is all she said. There would have been hugs and great rejoicing as well.

  6. I think Jesus's missing from his parents for 3days. Meant that Jesus was to seperate frm God the father for 3days. As we know that the dead know nothing ,can not communicate wth God. & can not worship him either. So was Jesus during his death.

  7. It is significant that Jesus started his ministry in the temple on Passover observance, because he also ended it at Passover, as well. Like his parents, the disciples were confused. He had been telling them all the time about this event for which he came and they never got it

  8. Re question #4: This is another case revealing that Jesus observed the moral law of God as set out in Exodus 20:12---"Honor thy father and thy mother...

  9. What has always perplexed me is the fact that children always get to be forgotten or not taken seriously by grown ups and even parents. We need to be careful in the way we treat children. They should not come last in our decisions because clearly Jesus at age 12 knew his rights- that he needed to be in his fathers house. Actually in all our plans let's have our children first.

  10. From the Mishnah we learn it was the custom that a boy becomes a bar mitzvah at the age of 13 and became responsible for himself. Before that he was subject to his parents. At the age of 12 it was the custom to begin the study for the bar mitzvah by learning to read the Torah Scrolls; the laws and customs of his people.

    Thus we see Jesus at the age of 12 while still subject to his parents, it was his time him to grow in wisdom and stature and be about his heavenly Father’s business.

  11. yes...I appreciate others comments and comments to comments....literally speaking the parents of Jesus was presented as a parents looking for a lost son but basically this is a presentation of the people who were finding Jesus that until now they didn't find it, for it is not easy to find Jesus until that person knows what ye is finding....take a glance of the answer of Jesus...“Why did you seek Me?....the 3 days represent to a person on 3 things that needs to look for what ye is finding...prepare ye heart,soul and mind.That is why that until now people are still searching and when he finds it they stop, Jesus said Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business? that means, after finding it ye must continue, it is a beginning..say amen if you like this...God bless us

  12. still am not clear on the explanation to the question,how does this story (Luke 2:41-52)help to illustrate the decidedly Jewish character of the Gospel and how central the religion was to all that took place

  13. The only thing from the story that illustrate the Jewish character of the gospel is the fact that they were in Jerusalem celebrating festivals and feasts and Jesus was there in the temple among the teachers asking and answering questions. He was in the temple not just anywhere illustrating that religion was central to the daily lives of the Jews.
    How significant that the story happens during Passover? Well the feast was celebrated to remind the Jews of how God delivered them from there enemies. Could it be that Jesus did what he did in the story to mark the beginning of his mission to this world, that he was going to deliver the people from their enemies ( Satan and his followers).
    Because one thing led to the another, his parents were not able to find him for 3 days illustrates that he will die and rise again in 3 days.
    In the final observation of Jesus reply to his parents, I feel that in this Jesus parents have overlooked or forgotten the reason Jesus was given to them and the purpose of His life on earth.
    In like manner, as Christians we sometimes also forget our purpose and mission in this life. (I know I do.)

  14. The Jewish character of the gospel

    "For the first time the child Jesus looked upon the temple. He saw the white-robed priests performing their solemn ministry. He beheld the bleeding victim upon the altar of sacrifice. With the worshipers He bowed in prayer, while the cloud of incense ascended before God. He witnessed the impressive rites of the paschal service. Day by day He saw their meaning more clearly. Every act seemed to be bound up with His own life. New impulses were awakening within Him. Silent and absorbed, He seemed to be studying out a great problem. The mystery of His mission was opening to the Saviour. {DA 78.1}
    Rapt in the contemplation of these scenes, He did not remain beside His parents. He sought to be alone. {DA 78.2}

    The Jewish rituals all pointed to Christ and the gospel. Though the earthly priests seemed to have lost this connection, Jesus, as a child of but 12 years, was being awakened to His mission by attending this feast, observing and participating in the rituals.

    We too, by looking at the Jewish ceremonial laws which God gave them, can find deeper meaning in the sacrifice at Calvary and the Priestly ministry of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary.

  15. The facts of this story is as follows:

    >Jesus aged 12 has been missed.
    >It takes a day to notice him missing
    >Another day to check with other travellers and then to back track to Jerusalem
    >A day to search for him back in Jerusalem.

    A significant point is the age of Jesus when this happens. 12 Years old is around the age of reason for children. It is a time when children begin to question for themselves everything they have been taught. Up until this time, the ideas they have are generally fed to them by parents and others in authority. Around the age of 12 they start to, house clean, or filter out those they see as not right. They begin to take ownership of ideas that fit into their developing world view, They begin to question ideas that they are not sure what to do with.

    As pointed out in an earlier post by Robert Edell, this is close to the age of bar mitzvah in Jewish tradition. A time where a child becomes an adult. Up until this time a child is responsible to parents. From this time a child begins to stand as an adult and is responsible to the community at large. Prior to this time, the parents are responsible for the child's misbehaviour in regard to the law. From this time, the child stands on his own. Jesus begins to stand on his own to feet and is answerable directly in regard to the law.

    It is in this light that Jesus makes the declaration "...I am about my Father's business". This is so significant. Jesus later in life makes a statement to his disciples "Jesus *said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. John 4:34". We can see from the story of Jesus in the temple that it was always His intention, from the age of reason onwards, to do His Father's will. His Father's will is to keep the Law in all points.

  16. Owen, I think you have encapsulated the discussion very well. I wonder though if we are not missing some things.

    The one thing that sticks out to me about the entire event is that at the age of twelve Jesus had those masters of theology scratching their heads wondering were in the world Jesus got the understanding He had. They knew such things could not come from peasants. Neither Joseph nor Mary would have had understanding on that level and according to EGW Jesus never attended the schools of the rabbis. What we are dealing with here is someone with an intimate connection with divinity far beyond what other humans have and with scriptures in hand the Holy Spirit taught Him throughout His childhood.

    Now concerning Jesus doing what He did. I agree that at the age of twelve the rabbis would have at least listened to Him because He was considered a young adult with responsibilities. No doubt the family of Joseph and Mary attended the Passover all the years previous to that event and they would have taken their entire family with them only Jesus would have been only allowed in the court of women in the temple because of His age. To me it was a matter of judicious timing when Jesus could meaningfully talk with the priests and rabbis. It probably was also a classroom opportunity where Jesus could learn firsthand the theology of the leaders of Israel and more fully understand where the problems were. Up to that point it was strictly from the Bible with the Holy Spirit as teacher.

    • The Bible says that the teachers were amazed at Jesus understanding and His answers. Later in life, everybody who heard Him speak were amazed at His knowledge and wisdom. He spoke as one with authority.

      The point is that He did have authority. He was the author of the law in the beginning. As such He would have been able to challenge the reasoning behind any tradition, even at a young age. This would have been very disconcerting to the teachers.

      I have experienced something similar but not at the same level. At the age of 40, I worked for a company that was owned by a 24 year old. I had been writing software since 18 years of age. I wrote my first computer program at the age of 14 using a programmable calculator and punch cards. I am 55 now.

      I literally sat at this kids feet because never have I seen such clear thinking and wisdom in one so young when it came to writing software. He challenged me on how I looked at things. So much that I had to re-think the way I wrote software.

      It is the way of this world that an older person teaches a younger person. When the roles change it is very disconcerting. The older person has to humble himself to be able to listen and learn. If the older person can't humble themselves, the result is to attempt to defend ones position out of pride usually by attempting to cut the younger person down.

      In the temple story I have a picture of old men having to sit at the feet of a 12 year old and truly learning something special.


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