“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”John 1:14
He knew in the temple. Jesus knew He had a purpose. God sent Him to save us and to provide the way to salvation. He obeyed God, and God was very pleased with Him. Twelve-year-old Jesus in the temple talking with the religious leaders of that day is more than likely a very familiar passage in Scripture. It is a foundational story we teach from early childhood in Sunday School, and interesting to note that Matthew 2 and Luke 2 are the only chapters in the Bible that record Jesus’ childhood.
According to God’s law, every male was required to go to Jerusalem three times a year for the great festivals. The Feast of the Passover was the most important. It was a time of celebration and a time to remember how God saved His people from slavery in Egypt.
In Luke 2:41-52 we read of Jesus in the temple at the age of twelve. It was at this age, according to Jewish custom, that Jesus was considered almost an adult, and so He did not spend a lot of time with His parents during the feasts.
Mary and Joseph had traveled to Jerusalem for the festival, and as they were returning, Jesus stayed behind, but His parents were unaware (Luke 2:43). It was after one day of a journey that they began to look for Him. When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem to continue their search. After three days, they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions (Luke 2:45-46).
As a parent, I can imagine the fear Mary and Joseph must have experienced as they were looking for their son. When Mary and Joseph saw Him, Scripture tells us they were astonished and asked why He had treated them this way. After all, they had been anxiously looking for Him (Luke 2:48). And He said unto them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house” (Luke 2:49)?
It was an angel who told Mary and Joseph about Jesus’ purpose before He was even born, yet they still didn’t understand why Jesus stayed at the temple when they went home. Yet even at the age of twelve, Jesus knew His purpose was to be about His Father’s business—it was to save people from sin. He sought out teachers and sat in their midst, listening, asking questions, and giving answers, and they were amazed at the depth of His wisdom and understanding. Jesus was spending time with His Father. He was showing that He is God’s Son and came to do God’s will. For three days, Mary and Joseph searched for Jesus and found Him in the temple.
Jesus went to the temple to worship. He is God’s Son, and He came to do God’s work. Jesus taught people, suffered, died on a cross for our sins, and three days later, rose from the dead so that we too may know and worship God.
Jesus carried out God’s plan to reconcile the world to Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19). Do you know Him? Do you know your purpose? Trust Him today.
Even as a twelve-year-old boy, Jesus knew His purpose. Spend some time considering what God has specifically called you to do. You will seek Him and find Him when you seek Him with all your heart.
Questions for Thought
- As we consider the sacrifice of Jesus, have you recognized your great need for immeasurable forgiveness, mercy, and grace only He can give?
- Jesus returned to Nazareth with Mary and Joseph and continued to grow in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. This is a description of every child of God, no matter our age. How will you continue to grow in your relationship with Jesus as you respond to God’s love and direction in your life?
Shelly is passionate about serving in preschool and children’s ministry as these are the years when boys and girls are introduced to Jesus Christ for the very first time. Married to Tye for over 20 years, Shelly has three children and two grandchildren.