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LUKE - Christ, the Savior of the World
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Luke


7. Jesus' Childhood (Luke 2:39-52)

LUKE 2:41-52
41 His parents went every year to Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast, 43 and when they had fulfilled the days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. Joseph and his mother didn’t know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the company, they went a day’s journey, and they looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 When they didn’t find him, they returned to Jerusalem, looking for him. 46 It happened 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 All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When they saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us this way? Behold, your father and I were anxiously looking for you.” 49 He said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 They didn’t understand the saying which he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth. He was subject to them, and his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

According to the law of the Old Testament, all males at the age of twelve were required to visit Jerusalem three times a year, at the feasts of the Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles (Exodus 23:14-17; 34:23). But because of the long journey, many could only travel once a year. The Passover became the greatest of the three feasts for the entire nation.

When Jesus was twelve years old, he was required to go for the first time to Jerusalem, the center of the world, and the dwelling place of the one God. The boy Jesus longed for God who was the aim of his heart and the end of his hopes.

What did he see in Jerusalem? Thousands of slain lambs, for all the pilgrims went to Jerusalem to remember God’s wrath that had passed over them. The thought of “the Lamb of God” made a deep impression on the boy’s mind. He understood the truth that no one could come near to God without blood. Sacrifice became the motto of his life, for as the Lamb of God he would open for us the door to the Father.

Jesus lived a sinless life, and was holy at all times. He was drawn with all his heart to God his origin, and forgot his parents by adoption, and all the world and nature. He absorbed knowledge from the teachers of righteousness who interpreted the Torah and the Prophets to pilgrims in the porches of the temple. Those teachers were also prepared to answer the boys who asked important questions.

Jesus questioned the priests closely, and answered their questions in a way, that drew their attention to him. So the teachers were eager to converse with him, and the boy became the center of attraction in the temple, yet was not proud. The adults realized that the wisdom of God spoke through the genius of this exceptional boy. Some of them were impressed by his character. They may have taken him home with them, given him food to eat, and continued the conversation with him until nightfall, for the boy had a deep understanding of the word of God.

At that time, his parents thought that he was traveling together with his friends in the caravan to Nazareth, beside the Jordan. They became obviously worried and afraid when they did not find him with their kindred and acquaintance, and knew that he did not tell his relatives where he was. Then his parents turned back again and went up to Jerusalem seeking him, and when they did not find him with their relatives, they went toward the temple where they found him surrounded with the scribes and scholars. They were afraid for safety. As simple uneducated villagers who lived in a mountainous region, they were not accustomed to the noise of city life.

Joseph said nothing so that he might not explode with anger, for he was not the strong person in the family. Mary did not want to oppose the boy’s enthusiasm for the word of God, or to blame him for his disobedience. She explained her trouble and told him how anxious his father Joseph had been: how they became extremely afraid that the boy might have been stolen, lost in the desert, or attacked by wild beasts. Then the Holy Spirit, through Jesus, contested the unbelief of his parents and asked them, “Why are you searching for me? Did you not know that I am under my Father’s care and protection? I have come to his house to worship him, and he will not leave me. He is my protection, my fortress, and my rock.”

Furthermore, Jesus was certain through his study of the Torah, that the great creator, and Almighty God was not far from him or strange to him, but was his true, essential Father. No man in the Old Testament dared to call God his own Father except Jesus, for this statement was only reserved for the long-awaited Christ (2 Samuel 7:14; Psalms 2:7; 89:27). The people considered themselves as the servants of God, and they called the Eternal One their Father, but only figuratively.

When he was twelve years old, Jesus uttered the supreme revelation of the New Testament, that God is not awesome and distant, but he is his Father. At that age, he knew clearly the mystery of the Holy Trinity, his own sonship, and God’s adoption. With this word, he surpassed the Old Testament and other religions, and opened the way to God for us, that we may, after reconciliation, call God our Father in heaven. Flesh and blood did not reveal this truth to him. But his Father did.

God, praise be to him, gave him not only the knowledge of his fatherhood, but also the power to abide in him. Jesus knew that he would continue constantly in his Father’s business. His love, joy, peace, kindness, truth, and power were all the spiritual expanses in which Jesus lived. God’s power and complete divinity appeared in the boy when he was twelve years old. Have you realized the meaning of your life? In the past, have you gone about your Father’s business, or have you not yet acknowledged your heavenly Father? Study the word of Jesus so that you may live forever!

Mary said to Jesus that Joseph was his father, and the boy answered her correctly that his only Father was God. It was not the voice of the twelve years old boy who spoke those words, but the Holy Spirit who dwelt in him. This same Spirit directed the newborn child of God to be dutiful and obedient to his father by adoption, and return home with him not resentfully, but humbly, obediently, and willingly. They went down together to the Jordan Valley as a symbol of his coming down from his communion with God to the level of human life in family and village, and to be engaged in the trade he learnt, to work with his father at the trade of a carpenter.

From that time and until the age of thirty, Jesus remained in obscurity, growing up in the power of God, his Father, without leaving his home surroundings. And when Joseph, his father by adoption, died he was still in obscurity, taking upon himself the duty of providing for the family, working with his hands and trusting his Father’s providence, as we read in (Matthew 6:19-34). Jesus did not become an intellectual, or philosopher, but continued as a worker in the power of the Holy Spirit, beloved by men. Is this the second principle for your life: not to become haughty and ambitious, but to remain humble and industrious in the profession in which God has put you?

PRAYER: Holy God, you are the mighty, righteous, Eternal One. We are unprofitable, but in Christ Jesus you became our true Father. Please forgive us our sins, and fill us with your Holy Spirit so that we may hallow your Fatherly name, by word and deed, by our prayers and faith.

QUESTION 30: Why did Jesus say, “I must be about my Father’s business”? What does this mean?


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