Jesus at the Temple
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” 1 Timothy 1:15
The Book of Luke records just two narratives about Jesus’ childhood: His dedication (Luke 2:21-40) and His time at the temple when He was 12 years old (Luke 2:41-52). Both stories set the stage for Jesus’ ministry on earth as an adult.
Mary and Joseph were faithful Jews. They had dedicated the baby Jesus according to the law of Moses, and they traveled to Jerusalem each year to celebrate Passover. God had commanded the men to appear before Him three times a year to observe certain festivals. (See Deut. 16:16.) Once a year, those who followed God’s law would travel to Jerusalem—often in large groups—to celebrate Passover.
In Bible times, a Jewish boy became a man at 13. His father would train him to take on all the responsibilities of adulthood, social and spiritual. Joseph was a carpenter, and he likely trained Jesus in his trade. When Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem, Joseph might have taken Jesus around the city to teach Him the significance of the temple and explain the purpose of the Passover feast.
Jesus’ parents started the journey back home after the feast. They assumed Jesus was among their traveling companions, but He wasn’t. Jesus had stayed behind at the temple. Mary and Joseph traveled for a day before they noticed Jesus was missing. They went back to Jerusalem and found Him at the temple.
When Mary asked why He had done this, Jesus answered Mary’s question with a question: “Didn’t you know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” Mary and Joseph did not understand. But Jesus is God’s Son, and it was necessary that He honor His true Father. In all this, Jesus did not sin.
Even as a child, Jesus wanted to do His Father’s plan. As Jesus grew up, He became strong and wise. God blessed Jesus as He got ready to follow His Father’s plan: to die on the cross and rescue people from sin.
Check this session’s Activity Page and Big Picture Card as well as the Gospel Project for Kids Family App for ways to interact with the Bible content this week.
KEY PASSAGE: 1 Timothy 1:15
BIG PICTURE QUESTION:
- What makes Jesus different? Jesus is God’s One and Only Son.
BIBLE STORY: JESUS AT THE TEMPLE
- Mary and Joseph could not find Jesus after leaving Jerusalem.
- Jesus was at the temple.
- Jesus said He had to be in His Father’s house.
- Jesus came to earth to do God’s plan.
FAMILY DISCUSSION STARTERS:
- What kind of questions do you think Jesus asked the teachers?
- Why were people in the temple surprised at how much Jesus understood?
- What did Jesus mean when He said, “I had to be in My Father’s house”?
- Play a game of hide-and-seek as a family. Retell the Bible story when you finish.
- Invite your pastor and his family over for dinner. Thank him for his ministry and pray as a family for him.
NEXT WEEK “Jesus Was Baptized” (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:1-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:19-34)