Jesus at the Temple – Luke 2:41-52

And Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:52

Just think about that incredible statement for a moment. Jesus, Creator of the Universe, emptied Himself (Phil. 2:7) and came to earth as a helpless baby. Then, He grew. That means that in His human-ness, He started out knowing nothing and grew to become wise. In other words, just like other children, He had to be taught to crawl and talk and walk and later, to read and to reason and to embrace the truths of God and on and on. Imagine what that process of learning would have looked like for Jesus.

Bible scholar Ray vander Laan says, “The people of Galilee were the most religious Jews in the world in the time of Jesus…. They were actually more educated in the Bible and its application than most Jews. More famous Jewish teachers came from Galilee than anywhere else in the world. They were known for their great reverence for Scripture and the passionate desire to be faithful to it.” 

Young Jewish boys growing up when Jesus lived would have adhered to this pattern. “At five years old [they would begin studying] the Scripture, at ten years the Mishnah (oral Torah and interpretations), at thirteen the fulfilling of the commandments, and at fifteen the Talmud (making Rabbinic interpretations)…. Children began their study at age 4-5 in Beth Sefer (elementary school). Most scholars believe both boys and girls attended the class in the synagogue. The teaching focused primarily on the Torah, emphasizing both reading and writing Scripture. Large portions were memorized and it is likely that many students knew the entire Torah by memory by the time this level of education was finished…. It is at this point that a boy would participate in his first Passover in Jerusalem…. Jesus' excellent questions for the teachers in the temple at his first Passover indicate the study he had done.”

Don’t you wish you knew what Jesus was asking the leaders and teachers of the Law? I wonder what Jesus thought as he memorized Old Testament passages and realized, “That’s talking about Me!” In the application of this lesson, let’s look at some of these Old Testament passages and imagine how Jesus would have felt when he realized for the first time that the passage was talking about Him. Through imagining, lead kids to thoughtfully consider who Jesus is and what He did for them.

Activity – Studying Jesus’ Scriptures – (as you talk, let kids color picture of Jesus, talking to leaders in the temple). Ask kids to pretend that they are in Jesus’ elementary school (Beth Sefer). Have them read some Scriptures that Jesus would have memorized in His school. 

  • What is this Scripture is talking about?
  • How would Jesus have felt as He learned this Scripture?
  • What questions might Jesus have had about this passage?
  • What does this Scripture teach you about Jesus – who He is and what He did for you?

Psalm 22:1 - My God, my God, why have you deserted me? Why do you seem so far away when I need you to save me? Why do you seem so far away that you can’t hear my groans? (See Matthew 27:46).

Psalm 22:6-7 - Everyone treats me like a worm and not a man. They hate me and look down on me. All those who see me laugh at me. They shout at me and make fun of me. They shake their heads at me. (See Matthew 27:39-40).

Psalm 22:8 - They say, “He trusts in the Lord. Let the Lord help him. If the Lord is pleased with him, let him save him.”
(See Matthew 27:41-44).

Psalm 22:14 - My strength is like water that is poured out on the ground. I feel as if my bones aren’t connected. My heart has turned to wax. It has melted away inside me. (See John 19:34).

Psalm 22:15 - My mouth is dried up like a piece of broken pottery. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You bring me down to the edge of the grave.
(See John 19:28-29).

Psalm 22:16 - A group of sinful people has closed in on me. They are all around me like a pack of dogs.  They have pierced my hands and my feet.

Psalm 22:18 - They divide up my clothes among them. They cast lots for what I am wearing. ( See John 19:23-24).

Isaiah 52:13-14 - See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him— his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness—

Isaiah 53:2-3 - He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Isaiah 53:5 - But the servant was pierced because we had sinned. He was crushed because we had done what was evil. He was punished to make us whole again. His wounds have healed us. (See John 19:34).

Isaiah 53:7 - He was treated badly and made to suffer. But he didn’t open his mouth. He was led away like a lamb to be killed. Sheep are silent while their wool is being cut off. In the same way, he didn’t open his mouth. (See Matthew 26:62).

Isaiah 53:9 - He was given a grave with those who were evil. But his body was buried in the tomb of a rich man. He was killed even though he hadn’t harmed anyone. And he had never lied to anyone. (See Mark 15:42-46).

Isaiah 53:10 - The Lord says, “It was my plan to crush him and cause him to suffer. I made his life an offering to pay for sin.”

Isaiah 53:12 - So I will give my servant a place of honor among those who are great. He will be rewarded just like others who win the battle. That’s because he was willing to give his life as a sacrifice. He was counted among those who had committed crimes. He took the sins of many people on himself. And he gave his life for those who had done what is wrong.”