TWELVE-YEAR-OLD JESUS QUESTIONS TEACHERS
JESUS REFERS TO JEHOVAH AS “MY FATHER”
It is springtime. Thus, it is the time for Joseph’s family, along with friends and relatives, to make their yearly trip to Jerusalem. They go there to celebrate the Passover, as the Law directs. (Deuteronomy 16:16) From Nazareth down to Jerusalem is a trip of about 75 miles (120 km). It is a busy and exciting time for all. Jesus, now 12 years old, is looking forward with special interest to the festival and the opportunity to be near the temple again.
To Jesus and his family, the Passover is not just a one-day event. The day after the Passover is the beginning of the seven-day Festival of Unleavened Bread. (Mark 14:1) It is considered part of the Passover season. The trip from their home in Nazareth, the stay in Jerusalem, and the return to their home takes about two weeks. But this year, because of an incident that involves Jesus, it takes a bit longer. That has to do with a problem that is discovered on the return trip from Jerusalem.
While they are traveling, Joseph and Mary assume that Jesus is among the group of relatives and friends traveling northward together. However, when they stop for the night, they do not find him. So they go looking for him among their companions, but he is not there. Their boy is nowhere to be found! Joseph and Mary then head back to Jerusalem to look for him.
For a whole day, they search without finding him. Nor do they find him on the second day. Finally, on the third day, they locate their son in the temple, with its many halls. They see Jesus sitting in the midst of some Jewish teachers. He is listening, asking questions, and amazing them with his understanding.
“Child, why did you treat us this way?” Mary asks. “Here your father and I have been frantically looking for you.”
Jesus expresses surprise that they did not know where he would be. “Why were you looking for me?” he asks. “Did you not know that I must be in the house of my Father?”
Now that they are reunited, Jesus returns home to Nazareth with Joseph and Mary and continues subject to them. He goes on progressing in wisdom and in physical growth. Though still young, he has the favor of God and men. Yes, from his childhood on, Jesus sets a fine example not only in seeking spiritual interests but also in showing respect to his parents.