JESUS AT AGE 12
“After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions” (Luke 2:46 ESV).
“Under the law, attendance at the feasts in Jerusalem was obligatory for boys from the age of thirteen, a birthday that was a milestone in the life of a Jewish boy, when they became a Son of the Commandment or Bar Mitzvah.”1
Being the Son of GOD, even at the age of 12, He could have been teaching and disputing among the teachers—demonstrating wisdom far beyond their grasp as He did later in His life. But as the Son of Man, He had to learn obedience (Heb 5:7-8). “Christ himself would not run, no not on his heavenly Father’s errand, before he was sent.”2
“[JESUS] contents himself to hear with diligence, and to ask with modesty”3 of the learned men of the Jewish faith. As the Son of Man, He went through life “in the style and manner of a learner.”4
When his distraught parents finally found their ‘lost’ adolescent, he replied by saying, ‘Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ (Luke 2:49). Jesus’ reference to God as ‘my Father’ is a radical statement of a unique, intimate relationship; with God, of which he was already fully conscious. Jesus referred to God the Father using the affectionate Aramaic expression ‘Abba.’5
But, “His relationship with His Heavenly Father did not nullify His duty to His earthly parents. His obedience was an essential part of the obedience He rendered on our behalf (Heb. 4:4; 5:8-9). He had to fulfill all righteousness.”6
Throughout His life He had a compassionate interest in His FATHER’s house. The temple in Jerusalem was the “Temple of the LORD”; His FATHER attached His name to it. To JESUS the temple represented His FATHER’s presence on earth.
Once, possibly two times the Gospels recorded Him cleansing the temple of unholy activity quoting Old Testament scripture: “[M]y house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples” (Isa 56:7 ESV, [Mark 11:15-17]). “[Z]eal for [the FATHER’s] house has consumed me” (Ps 69:9 ESV, [John 2:13-17]). At such a young age, what a joy it must have been for him to be in His FATHER’s house.
“Jesus Christ is made wisdom . . . all that infinite wisdom that is in Him as God, and all that infused wisdom which He had as God-man wherein He grew.”7
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man”(Luke 2:52 ESV).
(10) He Sat on the Steps
1. Leon Ritmeyer, “Twelve Year Old Jesus in the Temple at Passover,” 8 April 2017, ritmeyer.com, 28 January 2021 https://www.ritmeyer.com/2017/04/08/twelve-year-old-jesus-in-the-temple-at-passover/.
2. William Burkitt, “Luke 2:46,” 1700-1703, Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament, 28 January 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/luke/2-46.html#verse-wbc.
3. Burkitt, brackets mine.
4. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, “Luke 2:46,” 2021, JFB Commentary, 28 January 2021 https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary.php?com=jfb&b=42&c=2.
5. The ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheeaton, IL: Crossway, 2001, ESV Text Edition, 2011) 2516.
6. John MacArthur, One Perfect Life (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012) 66.
7. Joseph S. Exell, “Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:24,” 1905-1909 The Biblical Illustrator, 28 January 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-corinthians/1-24.html#verse-tbi.
8. Leon Ritmeyer, “Twelve Year Old Jesus in the Temple at Passover,” 8 April 2017, ritmeyer.com, 28 January 2021 https://www.ritmeyer.com/2017/04/08/twelve-year-old-jesus-in-the-temple-at-passover/.
11. “ . . . Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:24 ESV).
12. “making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;” (Proverbs 2:2 ESV).
13. Joseph S. Exell, “Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:24,” 1905-1909 The Biblical Illustrator, 28 January 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-corinthians/1-24.html#verse-tbi.
14. “And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him . . .” (Isaiah 11:2 ESV).
15. John Piper, “The Son of God at 12 Years Old,” 11 January 1981 desiringGod, 28 January 2021 https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/the-son-of-god-at-12-years-old.