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Summary: Out of all the things that Luke must have heard from Mary, he has chosen only this one incident, perhaps because it reveals so much to us.

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A Study of the Book of Luke

Sermon # 5

“The Boy Jesus”

Luke 2:39-52

Initially when we look at the story recorded in the last section of the second chapter of Luke, there seems to be little of consequence, a part of the story of the life of Jesus which if we consider at all we see as merely an interesting anecdote. Since it is the only incident in the biblical record of the growing up years of Jesus, it must be important. Out of all the things that Luke must have heard from Mary, he has chosen only this one incident, perhaps because it reveals so much about the boy Jesus.

“So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. (40) And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. (41) His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. (42) And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. (43)When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; (44) but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. (45) So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. (46) Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. (47) And all who heard Him were astonished at His under-standing and answers. (48) “So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously. (49) And He said to them, Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (50) But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. (51) Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. (52) And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”

Between verse 38 and verse 39 of the second chapter of Luke there are crucial events that transpire in the life of Jesus that only Matthew in his gospel account tells us about (chapter one). We are told that the family returns to Bethlehem and during the next year or so a group of Magi who had followed a guiding star arrived to worship the infant Jesus (1:1-12). Not long afterwards, King Herod in paranoid jealousy had all the baby boys of the region two years old and younger slaughtered (v. 16).

God, however, had sent an angel to warn Joseph and the young family fled to Egypt (vv. 13-15). Upon Herod’s death, an angel again appeared to Joseph to tell him that it was safe to return home (v. 19). Joseph and Mary traveled back through Judea, to Galilee and settled in Mary’s hometown of Nazareth (vv. 22-23).

Luke picks up the story after the family has settled in Nazareth. So little is know about the childhood of Jesus that they are sometimes referred to as the “hidden years.” Lets look again at verse thirty-nine, “So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. (40) And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. (41) His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. (42) And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.”


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