Jesus Celebrates the Passover

On our annual Christmas trek to the mall in Chicago with Grandpa and Grandma, we noticed that little three-and-a-half-year-old Matthew was gone. Terror immediately struck our hearts. We split up, each taking an assigned location. After frantically searching for him, I trudged b … More


Nothing is told us in any of the Gospels of Jesus’ character and work from his infancy until the age of thirty, except here. This incident is recorded to teach us about the developing ministry and wisdom of the Lord in his youth. At Passover time every year each Jewish family was to go to Jerusalem, to the temple, to remember  how God had led them out of Egypt and protected  them from the angel of death. When Jesus was  12 years old, He went with Mary and Joseph to the feast of the Passover (vv. 39-42. On the return trip back to Nazareth, Joseph and Mary supposed Jesus was among the crowd, but when they looked for him they could not find Him. As I read this I think of Christmas. Just like Joseph and Mary, it is so easy for us to lose Jesus in the crowd of Christmas and not even realize it. In this passage we find that:

  1. They didn’t even know he was gone - “knew not of it” (v.  43), and He was gone for three days (v. 46). Many families and churches today are busy in activities and even going to services and don’t even realize that Jesus is not with them.
  2. They thought everything was OK - “supposing Him to have been in the company” (v. 44). Just because we are going to Church and involved in activities does not mean that Jesus is with us. It is Jesus’ Birthday and who gets all the gifts while He is left out?
  3. They tried to find Him in the wrong place - “sought Him among their kinsfolk and friends” (v. 44). It is so easy for us to try to find Him in the busy activities of family and friends when we need to go back to where we left him - “turned back again to Jerusalem” (v. 45).


Just like the Inn keeper the world has no room for Jesus. I will never find Him in the crowds and activities of this world but only through seeking fellowship with Him in His Word and prayer.

Luke 2:39-52 (English Standard Version)

And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day's journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress." And he said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »