Title: The boyhood of Jesus part 2
Scriptures to Read: Luke 2:41-50
Jesus parents’ obedience to the Law
We see in verse 41 that his parents went every year to Jerusalem at the feast of Passover, which again shows their clear obedience to the Mosaic Law. There were three festivals out of 7 that they could not observe at home. Passover, Weeks, and Tabernacles had to be observed wherever the temple stood.
Now sometimes you have people saying Jesus visit to the Jerusalem temple was for his Bar Mitzvah. However, Bar Mitzvah occurs at the age of 13, not at the age of 12. It was a tradition that once a son reached his 12th birthday, he was to be taken to Jerusalem for the observance of the Passover that comes after his 12th birthday, in preparation for the Bar Mitzvah that will happen at the age of 13.
Jesus amazes the experts of the Mosaic Law
And in verse 46 we read: “Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers”. The word ‘teachers’ here refers to those who were experts in the interpretation of the Mosaic Law. He was sitting with those who were experts in the Mosaic Law, both listening to them, in the sense that he understood what they were saying, and asking them questions. Verse 47 says: “all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.” Why were they amazed? Normally a 12-year-old would not be able to understand these things or raise the right questions. Furthermore, they all knew the Nazareth school system was not very good anyway.
Mary’s attempt at a guilt trip on Jesus
Now, when his mother finally sees him, she is naturally relieved, but she temporarily forgets who He is. And she says to him in a typical Jewish mother’s way: Son, why have You treated us this way? Now, if you know the Jewish community well, you know the tendency of the Jewish mothers is to try to control their kids by laying guilt trips upon them. In fact, I was once told the difference between a Jewish mother and an Italian mother. An Italian mother says to her kids: if you don’t finish your food I will kill you. A Jewish mother says: if you don’t finish your food I will kill myself. And this is typical of the way that Jewish mothers make their sons feel guilty.
Jesus was going about His Heavenly Father’s business
His answer in verse 50 is: “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” Now, Jesus makes a couple of points here.
First he reminds her that his real father is not Joseph. His real father is the Heavenly Father. Therefore, knowing that, she should have known exactly where to look for him.
Now why would knowing that His Father was God mean that they should have known He was in the temple? A more literal Greek rendering would be: Did you not know that I had to be about my Father’s business or occupation. She should have realised that he would be about his father’s occupation. Why? Remember he is 12 years old, which is when the Jewish son chose the specific occupation he would pursue. And the point He makes to her is this: She should have known where to look for him, and she should have looked for Him in the house of His Father because He will follow His Father’s occupation. So, on the one hand He did follow his foster father’s occupation and became a carpenter. But on the other hand, He also followed His Heavenly Father’s occupation, and that’s why He will be found in the temple compound.