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Boy Jesus in the Temple

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Luke 2:41-52

Introduction:  The apocryphal gospels of course tell many fanciful tales about the boyhood of Jesus. In these stories Jesus performs many destructive miracles and in general acts like a spoiled child who makes constant trouble for his parents. The nature of the stories and the late date of these texts demonstrate these gospels to be inauthentic.9 [1]  The only reliable information we have is found in our text.  

I. Passover    Exodus 12     vs. 41-42

    A. Not practiced much by the Jews over the centuries

    B. In the beginning it was a household feast; when the temple was built it became a public feast; when the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. it went back to being a household feast and is still practiced that way to this day.

    C. The details of Passover

         1. Tenth day of first month

         2. Kill a lamb or goat (kid)

         3. Spread blood on the door posts and lintel

The “basin” mentioned in Exodus 12:22 is not like containers used today. It is taken from the Egyptian concept of sap, meaning the threshold or ditch which was dug just in front of the doorways of the houses to avoid flooding. The people placed a container in the ditch to prevent seepage. The Israelites killed their Passover lambs right by the doors, and the blood from the slaughter automatically ran into the depression of the basin at the threshold. When they spread the blood with the hyssop brush, they first touched the lintel (the top horizontal part of the doorframe), then each side post (the vertical sides.) ... Thus, the door was “sealed” on all four sides with the blood of the lamb, because the blood was already in the basin at the bottom. Arthur Pink sees this as a picture of the suffering Messiah Himself: “Blood above where the thorns pierced His brow, blood at the sides, from His nail pierced hands; blood below, from His nail pierced feet.”6[2]

         4. Eat the sacrifice with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs dressed as if they were ready to travel

         5. Stay inside until morning

    D. In the time of Jesus it was one of the three feasts when everyone went to the temple

         1. Eight day celebration

          2. At twelve years of age Jesus would in Jewish terms be beginning to make the transition into adult responsibility under the law [3]

II. Jesus stayed in Jerusalem    vs. 43-50

    A. The parents of Jesus still thought of Jesus as a boy because they thought he was playing with the other children

    B. When he didn’t come to them at the end of the first day of travel, they searched

    C. It took three days to find him in the temple

         1. διδάσκαλοςto teach. Instructor, master, teacher.  Ephesians 4:11

         2. Listening and asking questions.  He often used questions during his ministry to make people think

    D. His mother scolded him   vs. 48

    E. His response can be taken as a slap on the wrist or as genuine surprise (They both knew who He was)

    F. Literally:  Not know that I must be in my Father’s … .

         1. House    (most likely)

         2. Business or affairs

         3. With my Father’s people 

III. They went back home    vs. 51-52

    A. About a four day journey; this time they didn’t have family and friends to travel with

    B. Obedient is in opposition to what vs. 49 sounded like

    C. 26 And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with men.    1 Samuel 2

    D. Height or age

    E. His growth from a child to a man was normal

Conclusion:  In many ways Jesus was a normal boy, growing up like all the other Palestinian peasants.  So much so that Joseph and Mary almost forgot who he was.  But Jesus was really the Son of God.  Let’s not forget that!

Riverwalk Church of Christ.  February 7, 2010.  PM.


9 Three of the most entertaining of these apocryphal gospels are: The Protoevangelium of James; the Gospel of Thomas (the Greek text, not the Coptic sayings text); and the Arabic Gospel of the Childhood. See these and similar texts in Hennecke, Schneemelcher, and Wilson, The New Testament Apocrypha.

[1]Fiensy, D. A. (1994). New Testament introduction. The College Press NIV commentary (98). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.

[2] Rosen, C., & Rosen, M. (2006). Christ in the Passover: Why is this night different? (37). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[3]Nolland, J. (2002). Vol. 35A: Word Biblical Commentary : Luke 1:1-9:20  (129). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

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