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Finding the Temple: 2:41-52

This scene always reminds me of the movie Home Alone, with Jesus left behind and his parents flipping out after apparently miscounting the group they were with. Kevin McAlister references aside, this is the only account of Jesus that does not discuss either his first 8 days or last three years of his life. Luke is giving us a unique opportunity to look in on the life of adolescent Jesus. And what do we see? This is a child that appears to be fairly independent, as his parents weren’t worried that they didn’t see him immediately on departing Jerusalem. In other words we have to imagine that Jesus was prone to going off on his own, to hanging around with other travelers. I have to imagine he was fairly independent as well, if his parents didn’t feel the need to make sure he was with them when they left, it shows trust in the young Jesus.

And his response to their worries, it sounds a bit like a typical 12 year, self assured, but there is something else there. He knows, already, what his role is. Did his parents talk about all the things that surrounded his birth? Was he aware of the divine implications? Was he told he was special? Or was he treated just like the rest of his brothers and sisters? We will never know, and given Jesus’ upbringing in the ‘hinterlands’ chances are no one knew the answer to this beyond his immediate family. But again, Mary treasures this encounter, remembering the original Greek word, diatereo, holds with it a sense of protecting, holding safe. Maybe this implies she did not tell Jesus all the implications of his birth, but rather held them within her self, as treasures.


  1.  What are the implications of a 12 year old Jesus holding his own among the teachers of the temple?
  2. What else would you love to know about Jesus’ “missing years”?
  3. What does this particular account add to your understanding of Jesus that isn’t found anywhere else in the Gospels?