When Jesus was 12 years old, his parents took him to the temple to begin his Jewish education. Although this is a short story, there are several important keys:
- Jesus stayed behind when his family had left to go back home. This is actually a difficult little detail for kids to understand, because if they did something like this, it would be seen as disobedient to their parents. Be sure to teach this in a way that does not make it look like Jesus did this out of disobedience. From the narrative, it seems like there was a large group of people all traveling together. The traveling party must have gotten a little loose in their accounting for the children. Also, he was 12 by this time and would have been given a little more liberty than a small child. Verse 50 specifically calls out that he was obedient to his earthly parents.
- Jesus amazed the teachers with his understanding (indication of his divine nature). It was remarkable to all those in attendance how he was answering the teachers' questions. There seems to be an indication here that Jesus was aware of his divine nature at this point in his life. He tells them they should have known to find him in his “Father's” house.
- Had he talked to his family about his divine nature by this point?
- How did Joseph feel when Jesus says that the temple is his Father's house?
- Jesus grew and developed as a boy turning into a man (indication of his human nature). Luke calls out 4 specific ways Jesus grew:
- Wisdom (mentally)
- Stature (physically)
- Favor with God (fellowship with the Father)
- Favor with all the people (socially)