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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#833. Jesus in the temple - Luke 2:41-52 (9/6/23)

Today, as we continue in our series in Luke, we are briefly looking at Luke 2:41-52 - the account of Jesus going missing only to be found in the temple learning.

Summary: Like Jesus, let’s spend time in our Father’s house to learn and commune.

To watch this devotional, please go to:

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they travelled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.’ ‘Why were you searching for me?’ he asked. ‘Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?’ But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.’ (Luke 2:41-52)

Here we have the clearest episode from Jesus' childhood recorded in the Bible. Why does Luke include this? Firstly, to remind us of the human nature of Jesus. He was fully human (as well as being fully divine). He belonged to a normal family that engaged in customary activities within their culture. It seems He played with the other children of the 'relatives and friends' who were traveling with them, and this is most likely what His parents assumed He was doing as they began their journey back home only to discover that he was not with them!

Secondly, Luke includes this account to reveal Jesus as the Son of God - as divine. Here are a few ways in which Jesus has been described so far:

  • The Lord (1:17, 43, 76)

  • Jesus (meaning "God saves")

  • Son of the Most High (1:31)

  • The King whose kingdom will never end (1:33)

  • The Holy One (1:35)

  • The Son of God (1:35)

  • Horn of salvation (1:69)

  • The Rising Sun (1:78)

  • The Saviour (2:11)

  • The Lord's Messiah (2:26)

  • Bringer of salvation to all nations (2:30)

  • Redeemer of Jerusalem (2:38)

In this account, Jesus' response to His parents' anxious search for Him is another great point of revelation as to who Jesus is; He responds to them: ‘Why were you searching for me?’ he asked. ‘Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?’ Here, we see again His preeminent identity as the Father's Son, spending time in His house.

We also see in Jesus the attitude that He wants for us and others. Like Jesus, God wants us to be thirsty for learning. This account is also an invitation for us to join Jesus in His and our Father’s house to learn and commune. Are we spending time there? I don't mean, are you going to a 'holy building'? In this New Covenant era, we are the Holy Temple. Jesus' death on the cross made it possible for us to enter God's Holy Temple anytime we want. When Jesus died, Matthew tells us that the temple curtain was split in half, from the top to the bottom, revealing the end of that temple system and that we, through Christ, have free access to the Holy place. In the book of Hebrews, we are encouraged:

‘Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God…’ (Hebrews 10:19-22)


Like Jesus, let’s spend time in our Father’s house to learn and commune. Let’s make space to be alone with our Father to learn from His word and be refreshed in His presence. Let’s also remember that when we gather with the church in the various meetings that we have, we are to see it in these terms - we are here with the Father, in His house.




It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Very important - this is the last week to book in for our weekend away!


What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?


Please read Luke 2:1-52

This section on the birth of Christ has three sections:

1. Jesus’ birth (vv. 1–20)

2. His presentation in the temple (vv. 21–40)

3. His presence as a boy in the temple (vv. 41–52)

Let's discuss together:

  • What particularly struck you from Sunday's message?

  • What would you say was the common theme and aim in Luke telling these three accounts?

  • What are the various applications that one could make to this passage?

  • Jesus, in vv. 41-52, reveals His desire to be in His Father's house in order to learn and pray. How do you or could imitate Jesus in this?

  • SIV - What do the Shepherds do in vv. 16-20 and what does this teach us about evangelism?

  • SIV - How could you serve, invest and invite this week and let’s pray about this.

  • Prayer - How would you like prayer as a result of today’s study?

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