Summary: Joseph was an Israelite and he kept the law, and Jesus did too. Therefore, Luke gives us this incident from the “silent years” of Jesus’ life.
Harmony of the Gospels
Childhood of Jesus
Luke 2:40, 51
God has chosen not to tell us much about Jesus, until He begins His ministry at about thirty years of age. We are only given a couple of events from those early years, but I believe that they were important to Him. Those were years when He experienced humanity to the fullest extent. He lived in a fishbowl for the final three years of His life; but I believe Jesus had a normal childhood and then as a young man that He set at a table and wondered how he could pay his taxes, with his income as a carpenter. I believe that He was a good carpenter. I think that He worked hard and that He was well liked. I don’t like the pictures that show a thin, effeminate Savior. He must have been a strong, impressive, handsome man. There is no way you can prove me wrong, so I can believe what I want about these things and I guess that you can too. Now let’s see what Luke said about His childhood.
And the child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him.” (Luke 2:40)
The grace of God was on Him, and He grew physically, spiritually and mentally. All children grow, but all children do not have the grace of God on them. Later on, some would be amazed because He could read and because He knew scripture and that He spoke as no one ever before. He was uneducated, but He had the grace of God on Him.
Then He went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But His mother treasured all these things in her heart. (Luke 2:15)
I believe that Mary and Joseph would say, “He is a good son.” He was obedient to them. Today, young people are rude and rebellious and parents are afraid to discipline them, because society says that spanking may damage their fragile self-esteem.
It is remarkable to me that Jesus, the Son of God, obeyed His parents and was subject to them.
Jesus 12 Years Old Visits the Temple
Luke records one incident from the childhood of Jesus that took place when He was twelve years old. It revolves around the annual celebration of Passover. Israel was given three feasts, which all males were required to attend: Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. The feast of Passover was a memorial to Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and to their adoption as Jehovah’s nation. Directions for how the Passover was to be celebrated is given in Deuteronomy. “Observe the month Abib and celebrate the Passover of the Lord your God, because in the month of Abib he brought you out of Egypt by night. Sacrifice as the Passover to the Lord your God an animal from your flock or herd at the place the Lord will choose as a dwelling for His name.” (Deuteronomy 16:1-2) The background of the Passover is found in Exodus 12. The nation of Israel was living in slavery in Egypt. Moses had been chosen by God, to confront Pharaoh and to lead Israel out of Egypt, to the land of God’s promise. Pharaoh refused to release the Israelites, so God inflicted the Egyptians with plague after plague. The final plague was successful. Moses told the people of Israel to kill a lamb and to paint the doorposts of their homes with the lamb’s blood. God sent an angel of death into Egypt to kill the first born of every family. But the angel was not to enter any house that had blood on the doorposts. Pharaoh’s son was killed that night, therefore he finally let God’s people leave.