Jesus in the Temple
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him. Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day's journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, "Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety." He said to them, "Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he said to them.
To this day, a traditional Jewish Passover blessing says "Next Year in Jerusalem!". For centuries, the Mountain of Sion, the City of David has been writ deep into the Jewish people’s consciousness. In the centuries before Christ people prayed and sang in the words of the psalmist, "How lovely is thy dwelling place, O Lord of hosts…Blessed are those who dwell in thy house, ever singing thy praise!" (Ps. 84:1,4).
For Judaism in the time of Christ, Jerusalem was the Temple. From far and near pilgrims came to visit and pray at this fabulous building. Solomon built the first temple. It was destroyed and rebuilt. Towards the end of the first century B.C. Herod the Great embarked in rebuilding a temple of grandiose and massive proportions. The finishing touches of that project were still going on when Jesus visited this place of prayer and sacrifice.
The Temple was at the centre of Jewish religious life in the pre-70 A.D. period. Pilgrimage was taken very seriously. Jews were very diligent in collecting the half-shekel temple tax. Any threat of defilement to the Temple generated outrage.
Jesus himself was active in the Temple. We are told that he cleared it once of hucksters and traders (Mk.11:15-17). He preached and taught in the Temple area (Jn.18:20). He defined himself in relationship to the Temple (Jn.2:21). The Temple stood for the divine presence among God’s people. Jesus claimed that this presence draws close in his own life and work.
Indeed, linked with Christ we are all part of a world-wide Temple which brings divine presence and worship into every corner of the globe (Eph.2:19-22).
This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists
Gospel passages accompanied by a number of brief commentaries