Summary: The twelve year old Jesus is a model for every young person. Things reported by Luke bring before us a good picture of the boy and the days that followed. The things that happened in his life are the things that should happen in the life of every child.
Learning from the Boy Jesus Luke 2:41-52
Sermon by Don Emmitte, Grace Restoration Ministries
Take Your Bibles, Please…
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day's journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:41-52 ESV).
The childhood and youth of Jesus were normal in many ways. As a Jewish boy He experienced the same things that other children experienced. It was customary for Jewish families to go to Jerusalem for the Passover each year. Even though it was required only of men, many times it became a family excursion. So the family of Jesus followed this Jewish custom.
During the twelfth year of a boy’s life he began to assume the responsibilities of the law. On his thirteenth birthday he was accepted as a full "son of the law." He became responsible for obedience to the law. Normally a boy would be taken to the Passover during his twelfth year to prepare him for the responsibility of observing the law. This is the significance of this incident in the life of Jesus at the age of twelve.
Leaving of Jesus behind in Jerusalem was the kind of thing that could happen to any family. It did not suggest neglect on the part of Mary and Joseph. Ordinarily the women would leave before the men on a journey since they walked slower, and the men and boys would follow later. Mary assumed that Jesus was with Joseph and the men, and Joseph assumed that he was with Mary and the children. It wasn't until they met at the close of the day that they discovered that he was not in the company. This made necessary a return to Jerusalem and a search through the city until they found him. The unusual thing about the twelve year old was where they found him. It was evidently the last place they thought of looking, but they found him in the temple taking advantage of the opportunity of learning from the teachers of the law.
The twelve year old Jesus is a model for every young person. Things reported by Luke bring before us a good picture of the boy and the days that followed. The things that happened in his life are the things that should happen in the life of every child. It is a message for all of us; and, especially to the children and youth. Let's learn from the boy Jesus. He is our model.
First We Can Learn About Priorities (vv. 48-49).
This exchange between Joseph and Mary with Jesus is of special interest to us. It was a rebuke by Mary because of the anxiety she felt at Jesus’ disappearance. Naturally Mary was very upset and worried when they finally found Jesus in the Temple. She said, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress” (v. 48). She might have said even more if the circumstances had been a little different. It may have tempered her response a little because they were in the temple in the presence of the learned teachers. But her words expressed what she felt. They had been through a time of real anxiety looking for him.
Evidently Jesus had been so absorbed in the experience of listening to the teaching in the temple that He was oblivious to almost everything else. He was amazed that Mary and Joseph would not understand His interest in and presence in the Temple. Jesus answered, "Why were you searching for me?" "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" (v. 49). This response of Jesus reflects a growing sense of priority in His life. Even at the age of twelve, He had already set some priorities for His life.