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Jesus Makes His Initial Debut!

Posted on April 3, 2017

God Saves Gentiles! Luke has Good News!

A study of the NT book of Luke

by Pastor Frank Rice

Luke 2:41-52

Most parents anticipate with excitement the first words of their children. And when they display their aptitude for articulating publicly, there’s an even greater sense of pride and satisfaction! First words can be significant, unforgettable, and humorous.  We hear children express who they are! Luke’s account of Jesus’ early life holds little for the curious reader. But he closes the early years with His public debut in, of all places, the temple where His Father dwells. What an entrance for the Son of God, Messiah! What will He say? How will He express Himself?


 I. The Stage Is Set for Jesus’ First Public Words (Vv. 41-45)!

      Jesus’ “parents” are pictured in their godly piety and obedience to God’s word (vv. 41-42). [Though not His biological father, “Joseph was the everyday, practical father to the Child.” (Bock)]

  1. The family trekked to the holy city every year to celebrate the Passover (v. 41; Deut 16:16). The 75 mile, 3 day journey was undertaken with family and friends for security reasons. (See Luke 10!) Faith flourishes in community!
  2. They appreciate the significance of the celebration which commemorated the nation’s rescue from Egyptian bondage.
  3. They went as a family. Jesus is twelve. The following is reasonable speculation… If procreation is “normal,” He has as many as five siblings (Mark 6:3)! This helps set the stage.
  4. In Jewish culture, twelve was the age of discernment and thirteen the age of responsibility. There is a difference.


      Jesus’ “parents” inadvertently leave Him behind as they begin their three-day journey home (vv. 43-45)! (This shouldn’t surprise us!)

  1. After staying all seven days of the feast, they packed up and headed home,.. without their eldest Son, who was hanging out in the holy city (v. 43). This isn’t His first visit!
  2. They assumed He was traveling home with the friends and family with which He came (v. 44a). (Sounds reasonable.)
  3. In the evening, after a day’s travel, when setting up camp for the night, they discovered He was missing (v. 44b)!
  4. They started back to the holy city the next day (v. 45). One day out, one day back, on day three they searched for their missing Son. (They can’t be overly happy with Him!)


II. The Search for Jesus Leads to the Father’s House (Vv. 46-50)!

      On the third day they finally catch up with their Son (vv. 46-47)!

  1. As they walked thru the holy city searching (inquiring?) for Him, they finally come to the temple where they’d last seen Him (v. 46)! They’re undoubtedly relieved, yet disturbed!
  2. This twelve-year old is not playing in the streets or cowering fearfully in some corner; He is sitting quite comfortably among the teachers, learned adult men!
  3. In fact, He is listening intently to what they’re saying and asking questions of them. This Kid is unusual, amazing! “Nothing is shared about the contents of the discussion… there is only the amazement at the quality of Jesus’ participation.” (Bock)
  4. How much did He know? When did He know it? These are fair questions for which we have no solid answers!
  5. This Kid has drawn the attention of everyone within earshot with His ability to understand and interact with the educated! “His understanding comes from being more than simply a precocious child; He is the Son of God.” (Garland)

      On the occasion of their discovery, there is a fascinating, if not amusing, exchange of questions (vv. 48-50).

  1. When His “parents” saw Him, they could hardly believe what they were seeing! (Had He been quiet for a few years?)
  2. When His mother saw Him, she shares her frustration and anxiety resulting from His momentary disappearance (v. 48).
  3. His response is respectful, yet mildly confrontational (v. 49). Luke records Jesus’ first words, “Why were you so worried, you should have known I would be in My Father’s house?” Or “You should have known where to find me – where God my Father lives.” (Evans)
  4. Like previous occasions, His “parents” had difficulty fully comprehending what was happening (v. 50). What He was saying to them was beyond their understanding.


III. The Saga of Jesus Is Put on Hold Twenty Years (Vv. 51-52)!

      The family returns home with their intriguing Son (v. 51).

  1. Jesus tags along with His “parents” and submits to them. His obedience to them “makes it clear that this previous incident was not a case of adolescent rebellion.” (Garland) Jesus’ “submission appears to have lasted at least seventeen years, and in the intervening time Joseph died.” (Bock)
  2. Jesus’ mother is still trying to sort things out. She hasn’t given up trying to figure out “all these things” (2:19).


      This young Man will continue to grow and develop as He prepares for His future public appearance and ministry (v. 52).

  1. He continues to increase in spiritual insight and application.
  2. He continues to develop physically.
  3. He continues to grow in grace. “The reference to favor has to do with moral growth and favorable perception.” (Bock)


His likeness is what you strive for!  (Right?) Oh to be like Him!