What Did Jesus Do When He Was 12
The Bible says Jesus was 12 years old when his family went to Jerusalem for Passover. His parents left thinking he was with them, and didn’t realize he’d stayed behind until they were halfway home. I’d like to imagine they were doing something really boring like listening to Joseph give a lecture on carpentry, so that Jesus felt compelled to ditch it. Anyway, Jesus’s parents rushed back to Jerusalem, which would have taken three days—an entire week of travel. Can you imagine worrying about whether your kid was safe for an entire week? So what else did Jesus do at that age?
Jesus did not become a young adult overnight.
Jesus did not become a young adult overnight. He was a boy, and he had to learn like everyone else. Jesus grew up with Joseph and Mary in Nazareth, until he was twelve years old when they moved to Bethlehem for the census. Luke 2:41-52 tells us that while they were in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to her first son; this was Jesus Christ!
Jesus did not have all the knowledge he needed when he was born (or even at age twelve). Like other children who grow up learning their trade or profession, he had many years ahead of him before reaching maturity in his ministry as the Son of God and Savior of mankind. He had much growing up still ahead of him when he began his public ministry at about thirty years old (Luke 3:23).
The story of the boy Jesus in the temple is about his young ministry beginning.
The story of the boy Jesus in the temple is about his young ministry beginning. He was not there to do chores, or be a servant; he was there as a learner.
Jesus spent time with men who were his teachers and mentors, men who trained others in Jewish law and tradition. These men would have taught him many things: how to read and study scripture, how to talk about God’s word, how to live out the law of Moses (the first five books of the Bible), much more than we can know today. We know from other writings (such as Mark 9) that Jesus eventually began sharing what he had learned with people around him.
The boy Jesus learned to walk by faith. He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
“The boy Jesus learned to walk by faith. He ‘increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.'”
This was a real person who had a real life, not just some idea or story. He was flesh, blood and bone like you or me. And he truly grew up over time! Jesus’ physical body grew from infancy into young adulthood—and there’s no reason to think otherwise.
Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Mary kept all these things in her heart and pondered them in her heart.
There is much to learn from this passage of scripture.
As you read the story of Jesus at age 12 in the temple, there are a few things to notice:
- Jesus did not become an adult overnight. He was still a child, but one with a purpose and calling on his life.
- The boy Jesus’ actions show him as a young man who walked by faith and believed God’s promises despite what he could see or understand with his own eyes.
- Even though Jesus was only 12 years old when he entered Jerusalem for Passover, he had already learned to listen and obey his earthly father (Joseph) as well as his heavenly Father (God). There is much to learn from this passage of scripture about how we can teach our children about faith!
We might not know exactly what Jesus did when he was 12, but we do know that God cares about every part of our lives. When we’re young, God is there to guide us as we learn and grow through difficult times. He also wants us to use our talents for Him no matter how old or young we may be. By using your gifts for the good of others, you can show God’s love in everything you do!