Jesus As a Child

Luke 2:41-52

His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”

And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.

Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

His Parents’ Faithfulness

His parents went to Jerusalem every year.  Only male Jews who lived within twenty miles of Jerusalem were required by law to attend the temple three times a year – Passover, Pentecost and Feast of Tabernacles (Ex. 23:14-17).  Women did not have to attend, it was optional.   Nazareth was more than twenty miles away so neither Joseph nor Mary were required by law to attend.  Yet it was their custom to attend every year at Passover.   They went to the Temple because they wanted to be in God’s house. 

Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” 

“Train up” does not mean just bring a child to church once a week or teach them a memory verse.  It does not mean to just tell them they should be saved and serve God.  It is much more than that.  It carries the idea of a parent investing in a child whatever wisdom, love, time and discipline is needed for that child to become fully committed to God.  It assumes that the parent has the emotional and spiritual maturity to do so.  “In the way he should go” means to take into account the child’s unique personality, gifts and desires.  It also means to train the child to avoid whatever natural tendencies he/she might have that would prevent total commitment to God (a weak will, a lack of discipline, a susceptibility to depression).  This promise means that if a parent takes the time, uses wisdom and love to instruct the child in the way of commitment to God, both by words and by their own example, taking into account the child’s own personality, they can be assured the child will stay committed to God as an adult. 

If you want your child to go to church, how often do they see you go to God’s house?  What is your attitude when you go?  “I have to go,” or “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go unto the house of the Lord.’”

If you want your child to love God’s Word, how often do they see you reading God’s Word?  What is your attitude when you read?  “I have to read,” or “I love learning more about God’s Word.”

If you want your child to worship God, how often do they see you worship God – both at home and at church?  Do they ever see you just stop in the middle of work and sing a song of praise or take time to pray?  Do they ever see you in church entering into worship with all your heart?  What is your attitude about worship?  “Hurry up and get on with it,” or “What a joy to worship our Savior.”

If you want your child to give to God’s work, how often do they see you giving?  What is your attitude about giving?  “I have to tithe,” or “It is a blessing to give to the cause of Christ.”

Have you taken the time to teach your child how to study the Bible, how to look up words they don’t understand, how to do research?  Have you taken the time to teach your child how to pray? 

Jesus Was A Normal Child

His parents were not alarmed when Jesus was not with them as they began their journey.  Obviously, they were used to Jesus playing and socializing with the other children from Nazareth. 

Jesus’ Knowledge Was Not Normal

He was found in the midst of the teachers.  News of the young boy who had such great understanding must have quickly spread among the teachers and leaders. 

He was listening to them.  Word akouonta denotes listening closely, attentively, deep in thought. 

He was asking them questions.  Even Jesus was teachable, thirsty for more knowledge.

He answered their questions. 

Example for us:  Every opportunity to learn the truth should be taken.  We should desire more knowledge and understanding of the truth.

2 Peter 1:5 – But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add (generously provide what is needed, to cover the costs) to your faith virtue (moral excellency and goodness), to virtue knowledge.

Jeremiah 9:23-24 – Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the might man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and know Me, that I am the Lord, exercising loving-kindness, justice and righteousness in the earth.  For in these I delight (take pleasure in, cherish, be inclined toward) says the Lord.

Jesus’ Parents Misunderstood His Mission

Many may misunderstand us, including our own family.  Still, we must be obedient to the call of God on our lives. 

Matthew 10:36 – and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.

Perhaps in raising Jesus for the past twelve years, Mary and Joseph had begun to forget who Jesus was.  Do we get too familiar with Him?  Do we forget who Jesus is?

Deuteronomy 4:9 – Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.  And teach them to your children and your grandchildren.

Jesus Clearly Understood His Mission

Jesus clearly understood at this time that He was the Son of God.  Even though Joseph was standing there, Jesus spoke of God as His Father.  At what age Jesus knew He was the Messiah, we do not know, but clearly by age 12 He was conscious of a unique relationship with God.  Again, we see that children can be used of God for Jesus was a man just like us. 

Jesus Was Still Obedient to His Earthly Parents

The word “subject” means “to stand under, submission, subordination.”  Even though He understood who He was, He submitted to His parents.  He was stronger in spirit and wiser and His real father was God Himself, yet he was obedient, setting us an example.

Ephesians 6:1 – Children, obey (answer and respond, submit without reservation, listen attentively) your parents in the Lord, for this is right (conforming to God’s laws).

Hebrews 13:17 – Obey those who lead you and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account.  Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

Jesus Grew

He “increased.”  That word proekorten means to grow steadily, to keep advancing.  It is a picture of a pioneer cutting through the wilderness to reach his destination.

  • Mentally
  • Physically
  • Spiritually
  • Socially

We need to help our children grow steadily, keep advancing in all four areas above. 

We need to encourage them to learn all they can.  We need to do what we can to provide the resources they need to learn.  We need to be aware of what they are being taught in school and how they are progressing there.

We need to see that they have proper food and exercise so that they grow physically.  We need to make sure they are not “couch potatoes.”

We need to help them grow in their knowledge of God and His Word.  We need to help them understand what it means to be a Christian.

We need to help them develop the skills necessary to function in society at large.  We need to teach them to share, to say “thank you” and “you’re welcome”, to be aware of other people’s needs, to know how to conduct themselves in society.

While we reach a point at which we do not continue to grow physically, we need to also grow steadily, keep advancing in these four areas.

We need to never stop learning.  Science has showed us that those adults who use their mind to keep learning retain their mental capacities much better and for a longer time than those who quit learning. 

We need to take care of our physical bodies.  Our ability to minister for the Lord will be help or hindered by our physical condition as we age.

We need to develop spiritually – always growing in knowledge of God, His Word, and His Spirit.

We need to continue to develop socially – always learning more of what makes people act as they do, what helps minister to people, etc.

The Christian Family

Ephesians 5:22-33 and 6:1-4

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”  And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.


  • Submits to her husband
  • Recognizes her husband’s position as the head of the family

Colossians 3:18 – “Wives, submit (“to stand under” – subordination) to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”

1 Peter 3:1 – “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives.” 

  • The term “head” does not mean that the man is more important to God than the woman.  It is not talking about worth; it is talking about function and order within an organization – the family. 
  • Submission is the divine order in a relationship.  Biblical submission must come voluntarily – out of love.  It cannot be demanded or required by one person to another. 
  • No where does the Bible place woman lower than men generically.  The spirit of submission is an act whereby a woman voluntarily acknowledges her husband’s leadership responsibility under God, and, as an act of faith, grants him that position of authority in the family.


  • Husband loves his wife like Christ loved the church
  • Husband loves his wife as his own self
  • The standard for the husband’s love is to be that of Christ for the church.  Christ gave himself for the church.  This is the kind of love the husband is to have for his wife. 
  • These scriptures show how dependent the marriage is upon the love of the husband – how much effect his love has upon the marriage. 
  • Rare is the woman who would reject such love.  Rare is the woman who would refuse to walk hand in hand with the man who loved her like that. 
  • To nourish means to “feed, clothe, and look after.”  To cherish means to “treat with warmth, care, tenderness and appreciation.”

CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE – Joined together.  Greek proskollao means “to join fast together, to glue together, to cement together, to be joined in the closest union possible.” 

  • Physical union
  • Mental union
  • Spiritual union
  • Marriage, as God meant it to be, is a spiritual union that can be created by God alone.  It is more than two people agreeing to live together.  It is more than two people sharing a natural affection and attraction.  It is more than two people sharing the raising of children.  It is more than two people being bound by a legal contract.
  • Marriage, as God meant it to be, is a totally unique union unlike any other relationship.  Only as we allow God to be a part of our marriage can we find this spiritual union and truly know the love that Christ intended – the love that Christ has for His church.
  • The Christian home is to be lived in the very presence of the Lord.
  • The Christian home is to be governed by the Lord.  All decisions (where we live, where we work, how much we spend, how much we save, how we disciple the children, etc.) are to be made in light of the Lord and His will.
  • The Christian home is to have three partners:  the husband, the wife and Christ.


  • Are to obey their parents (in the Lord)
  • Are to honor their parents
  • Children who are Christians should obey their parents because it pleases the Lord.  Of course, it will please their parents, but the emphasis is on the Lord.  Children should walk close to the Lord so that they desire to please and obey Him.  That includes obeying their parents. 
  • Children are to show respect and value their parents as precious. 


  • Are not to provoke their children
  • Recognize that things change.  Time and generations change.  Christian parents must learn to distinguish between what is unchangeable (the truth in God’s Word) and what changes from generation to generation.
  • Do not over control your child.  Stern restriction and harsh discipline will cause a child to rebel. 
  • Do not under control your child.  (This is the most common problem today.)  Giving in to your child, allowing them to be the boss will lead to problems.
  • Do not live an inconsistent life before your child.  “Practice what you preach.” 
  • Are to bring them up in the ways of the Lord
  • To Nurture  means “the whole training and education of children involving the cultivation of the mind and morals, correcting mistakes and curbing the passions.”
  • Admonition means “counsel, encouragement, correction.” 
  • A child who is brought up Biblically:
  • Learns love.  He is loved by God and can love others.
  • Learns power and triumph.  God will help him.  There is a power he can turn to even when Mom and Dad cannot help.
  • Learns hope and faith.  No matter what life brings, God will see him through.  God has prepared a very special place for him in heaven.
  • Learns to serve.  God has given him the privilege of serving others for God. 
  • Learns trust and endurance.  Life is full of temptations and pitfalls that can destroy us and rob us of joy and peace.  The way to escape those temptations is to trust in God and to take the strength He offers to say “No to sin and yes to God.”
  • Learns peace.  Regardless of what is going on in the world around him, he knows God is there and God will be with him no matter what.