YOUNG JESUS AT THE TEMPLE
JOHN 1:14A, ESV
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory...
LUKE 2:22-24, NIrV
22 The time came for making Mary “clean” as required by the Law of Moses. So Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem. There they presented him to the Lord. 23 In the Law of the Lord it says, “The first boy born in every family must be set apart for the Lord.” (Exodus 13:2,12) 24 They also offered a sacrifice. They did it in keeping with the Law, which says, “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” (Leviticus 12:8)
As God’s chosen people, the Jews were given all sorts of special laws from God to follow. 40 days after he was born, Jesus’ parents brought him to Jerusalem to obey one of those rules. After having a baby, God required each mom to bring a lamb and a turtledove to the temple. The meat from these animals would be burned as an offering to God. If a woman couldn’t afford to pay for a lamb, God let her offer two birds instead. That’s what Mary and Joseph chose to do. This teaches us two things about Jesus. First, his mom and earthly dad were godly people. Second, he did not grow up rich!
+ What city was Jesus born in? What city did they travel to? (vs. 22)
+ Look up Leviticus 12:8. This is the law Mary and Joseph were obeying. What does it say?
LUKE 2:25-26, NIrV
25 In Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was a good and godly man. He was waiting for God’s promise to Israel to come true. The Holy Spirit was with him. 26 The Spirit had told Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
In the Bible, God’s Son is often called “Jesus Christ.” But “Christ” wasn’t Jesus’ last name. It was a special word that pointed to a special person: a long-awaited savior God promised to send. When he grew up, this chosen child would rescue God’s people from their sins. For thousands of years, people lived their whole lives and died waiting for the Christ to come. But God's Holy Spirit gave old Simeon a special promise: “Before you die, you’ll see the promised Christ child.” So on the day Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the temple, the Holy Spirit made sure Simeon was there, too!
+ Is “Christ” Jesus’ last name? If not, what does it mean?
+ What promise did God make to old Simeon? (vs. 26)
LUKE 2:27-35, NIrV
27 The Spirit led him into the temple courtyard. Then Jesus’ parents brought the child in. They came to do for him what the Law required. 28 Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God. He said,
29 “Lord, you are the King over all.
Now let me, your servant, go in peace.
That is what you promised.
30 My eyes have seen your salvation.
31 You have prepared it in the sight of all nations.
32 It is a light to be given to the Gentiles.
It will be the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them. He said to Mary, Jesus’ mother, “This child is going to cause many people in Israel to fall and to rise. God has sent him. But many will speak against him. 35 The thoughts of many hearts will be known. A sword will wound your own soul too.”
Because her boy was the Son of God, Mary sometimes had strangers come to meet him, such as shepherds from Bethlehem or wise men from the East. Simeon was another one of those strangers. When he held 40-day-old Jesus, Simeon prayed, “Now that I’ve seen this savior, I can die a happy man!” By the Holy Spirit’s power, Simeon told Mary and Joseph about their cute little guy’s future. Because of him, proud and powerful people would be brought down low. Sad and sinful people would be lifted up high. And one sad day, Mary would feel like a sword had stabbed through her heart.
+ Why did Simeon tell God he could now die a happy man? (vs. 29-30)
+ What event in Jesus’ future would make Mary’s heart feel like it was pierced by a sword?
LUKE 2:41-43, NIRV
41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. 42 When Jesus was 12 years old, they went up to the feast as usual. 43 After the feast was over, his parents left to go back home. The boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. But they were not aware of it.
Passover was an important holiday for the people of Israel. At this special meal, they ate foods as reminders of how God rescued their nation from Egypt. Every Passover, Joseph, Mary, and all their relatives took a 70-mile trip from their hometown of Nazareth to Jerusalem. It was on one of these holiday trips that 12-year-old Jesus made a curious decision. When his family left for home after the feast, he stayed behind by himself in Jerusalem. Staying all alone in a big city is probably not a good idea for your average 12-year-old kid, but it was no big deal for Jesus, the Son of God!
+ What didn’t Joseph and Mary know? (vs. 43)
+ Why would it be dangerous for a 12-year-old to be alone in a big city far from home?
LUKE 2:44-47, NIRV
44 They thought he was somewhere in their group. So they traveled on for a day. Then they began to look for him among their relatives and friends. 45 They did not find him. So they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courtyard. He was sitting with the teachers. He was listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at how much he understood. They also were amazed at his answers.
Mary and Joseph traveled in a big crowd of family and neighbors. Because of this, they journeyed home for an entire day before they noticed Jesus wasn’t with them! Then it took them another day to walk back to Jerusalem. By the time they finally found their lost boy, he’d been missing for three whole days! Had 12-year-old Jesus spent his free time in Jerusalem goofing off? Nope! He went to the temple building and hung out with the Bible teachers there. Like a student, he listened and asked questions. But the things he said made his teachers think, “This kid knows more than I do!”
+ Why did it take a whole day before Jesus’ parents noticed he was missing? (vs. 44)
+ What were all the people amazed by? (vs. 47)
LUKE 2:48-52, NIRV
48 When his parents saw him, they were amazed. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been worried about you. We have been looking for you everywhere.”
49 “Why were you looking for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he meant by that.
51 Then he went back to Nazareth with them, and he obeyed them. But his mother kept all these things like a secret treasure in her heart. 52 Jesus became wiser and stronger. He also became more and more pleasing to God and to people.
When Joseph and Mary finally found Jesus, his mother gave him quite an earful. “Why did you do this to us? Didn’t you know we’ve been worried sick trying to find you?” As you can guess, Jesus was in hot water with his mom!
If you or I were in that situation, we might say, “Sorry, mom. I won’t do that ever again!” But not Jesus. The answer he gave showed that Jesus knew he was different from other twelve-year-old kids. “Why were you looking all over the place?” he said. “Didn’t you know I’d be at my Father’s house?” The house Jesus was talking about was the temple building. And his Father? That, of course, was God!
Jesus was the Christ (or Messiah): the chosen child and special savior sent to rescue us from our sins. Part of his job was to teach people about God’s kingdom. And that’s what he did during his three days alone in Jerusalem. Though he wasn’t even old enough to grow a mustache, he went to work, teaching the teachers! His mother may have been mad, but Jesus was just doing the job his Father (God) gave him to do!
Once again, Mary and Joseph headed back to Nazareth. And this time, you better believe they made sure they actually had Jesus with them! In the last few verses of this chapter, we learn some interesting things about Jesus’ time as a kid. Verse 51 tells us that Jesus obeyed his parents. And verse 52 says that he grew in wisdom (his smarts), in stature (his body), and in favor with God and man (his friendships).
Because of sin, the whole was headed straight for a forever, fiery death. As the Christ, Jesus came to save sinners from this curse. To do that, he needed to take our place. On the cross, Jesus died in our place. But did you know that Jesus also lived in our place, too?
During his life, Jesus did all the good things we were supposed to do. He obeyed all of God’s laws, from the smallest rule to the greatest commandment. Since one of God’s laws was “Honor your father and mother,” Jesus obeyed Joseph and Mary. Jesus lived a perfect life, and he did all of it in a body just as human and yours and mine!
This story is the only one in the entire Bible that tells about Jesus' life as a kid. It gives us a glimpse of what it was like to be totally God and totally a kid at the same time. The book of Luke tells us that Jesus went through everything you are going through. He had to grow. He had to learn. He had to make new friends. He had to do what his mom and dad told him to do.
Jesus was just as human as you and me. And that made him the perfect guy to take our place. But since he was also the all-powerful Son of God, that also made him the perfect savior to defeat the dreadful curse of sin!
+ According to Jesus, why did he stay behind in Jerusalem? (vs. 49)
+ What does verse 52 tell us about Jesus’ time as a kid?