Jesus, a Son of the Commandment
Luke 2: 40-52
The canonical Bible does not tell us much at all about Jesus’ boyhood before the age of 12. The Scripture passage Luke 2:21-39 does tells us that in obedience to the Mosaic Law—the first five books of the Old Testament—Mary and Joseph presented the infant Jesus at the temple. And Luke 2:40 sums up His childhood years in a single statement.
And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. –Luke 2:40, NIV
According to Deuteronomy 16:16, all Jewish men were required to attend the temple at Jerusalem at Passover, Penetecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. From what we can tell, Joseph was diligent to fulfill his duties, and apparently Mary attended the observances with Joseph on at least some of these occasions, even though the women were not required to do so. Jesus’ trip to the temple at age 12 may, or may not, have been His first. Either way, this trip was a special event. When a Jewish boy reached the age of 13, he was initiated fully into religious life, becoming a “bar Mitzvah”—a “son of the commandment.” Usually a boy attended the festivals in Jerusalem one year before this point in order to gain greater understanding of his new responsibilities. Based upon Luke 2:40, we know that Jesus had been growing and learning the privileges and responsibilities that went along with Jewish manhood. At this point in Jesus’ life we do not know the full extent of Jesus’ growing awareness of His special place in God’s plan. But over the next few days Jesus must have experienced some special revelations about God and Jesus’ relationship to Him.
Jewish custom dictated that teachers sat in the temple courts during Passover and entered into discussions with the people. Jesus joined the people and followed in this practice of hearing teachers and asking questions. This process was the usual educational method of that period. But Luke 2:47 tells us that the teachers were amazed by Jesus’ understanding.
Families come to church today just like families went to the temple in Jesus’ day. How do you interact with your children and the children of others? Do you encourage their learning of the Bible? Do you talk about Bible truths and encourage others in the doing of them? What can you do to foster a son or a daughter of the commandment?