The text for this lesson is Luke 2:41–52.
- Jesus is always about His Father’s business—and that business is always earning our salvation! No thing and no one can stand in His way.
- Law: God doesn’t act the way we want Him to act. He acts in harmony with His will, not ours. But we try to cage Him, tame Him, force Him to be a circus deity. In our hearts, if not even in our prayers, we list conditions for Him to meet. We are in a vain—oh, so vain—power struggle with heaven.
- Gospel: The Lion of the tribe of Judah is no tame lion. He won’t roar on our cue or jump through our hoops. Even at the age of twelve, the boy Jesus shows that He is no ordinary boy. The Son of Mary, yes, and the “Son” of his foster father, Joseph, yes, but also their Lord. He is about His Father’s business. And that business is always earning our salvation.
This is the only event recorded in the Scriptures of Jesus’ life between the days of His infancy and His baptism by John at the age of thirty (Luke 3:21–22). Luke places it here between the account of Jesus’ presentation in the temple (Luke 2:22–38) and the genesis of John’s ministry (Luke 3:1–22). The story is illustrative of what Luke summarily writes in Luke 2:40, “And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.”
Adult Jewish males were legally required to attend the three major feasts of the Israelite calendar: Passover and Pentecost in the spring and Tabernacles in the fall (Exodus 23:14–17). Typically, their families would journey with them, as in this story (Luke 2:41). Estimates of the swelling population in Jerusalem at these three feasts number in the hundreds of thousands. Also, families or communities traveled in bands. This, it is not too surprising that Mary and Joseph would lose track of Jesus, supposing Him to be with their relatives and friends (Luke 2:44).
Discussion Points and Questions
- The narrative says that they went up every year at the Passover. How old is Jesus when this particular event occurs? What does this number twelve remind you of?
- How many days did Joseph and Mary search for Jesus? What do three days remind you of?
- What “method” does Jesus use to teach the teachers of the temple? Why do you think He does this? Read Matthew 21:12–16, and, if you have time, Matthew 23:1–39 (which also occurs in the temple). How has Jesus’ method of teaching changed between His childhood and His adult ministry? Why is this?
- What does Mary ask Jesus in Luke 2:48? Is she really wrong to be wondering or asking this? What does this mean for our own daily lives?
- Whom does Mary call Jesus’ father? How does Jesus respond to this, and what is the twofold implication of His response? Who really is Jesus’ Father, and what is the business of His Father?
- What does Jesus do after Joseph and Mary find Him, in spite of the fact that He has been about His Father’s business? What does this tell us about the nature of Jesus?
- What does this lesson tell us about true, godly work? Where is this work done?
- Jesus followed the customs of His day and worshiped at the appointed place. How are our own places of worship designed to serve the work of God?
For next week, read Mark 1:1–13, the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the Jordan. Start thinking about wy Jesus, who is without sin, underwent Baptism, which forgives our sins.