Jesus Reading at the Temple
Mary and Joseph raised their son Jesus, always remembering the miracle of his birth and the promises of the angels. Like other children, he was loved and cared for. He learned carpentry from Joseph. He went to the temple and learned about the scriptures.
One year, when Jesus was twelve years old, he went with his family on a trip to Jerusalem. It was a holiday and many families from their town travelled together to the temple in Jerusalem to worship there. On the way home, the children from all of the families walked and played together, while the adults walked and talked.
Mary and Joseph suddenly realized that Jesus was not in the group. They looked everywhere. They searched and searched. Everyone helped them look.
Finally they went back to the temple to look for him, and found that he was there. He was sitting with the priests, elders and teachers, reading scriptures and talking about what the scriptures meant. The adults were amazed at the knowledge and wisdom of such a young child.
"Oh! We've been so worried!" Mary said. "I'm sorry," Jesus said, "Didn't you know I was going to be here, in my Father's house?"
Mary and Joseph hugged him. They were happy and relieved that he was not lost in the crowds. They were filled with emotion when the priests, elders and teachers from the temple said that Jesus was an amazing 12-year-old.
Reflection: This story tells us about Jesus as a child. He was God's son, but he was also just a regular child. Like many children, he loved to think about complicated things and try to figure things out. And he could get so absorbed in what he was reading and talking about that he could lose track of everything else.
This is the only official story about Jesus's childhood. It gives just a glimpse of his childhood and makes us curious to know more. One thing that we can see for sure from this story is that Jesus loved reading the scriptures. (The word "scriptures" means the books that we call the Bible. These are books that are inspired by God, written over many thousand years and gathered together so we can read and study.)
In those days, about two thousand years ago, people read from scrolls - which are long rolls of handmade paper. Now we have the Bible in a modern book form. The scriptures that Jesus would have been reading in the temple would be the Old Testament scriptures (also called the Hebrew Scriptures). In churches we also read the books we call the "New Testament" which teach us about Jesus, and so, obviously, were written later, after Jesus's life and ministry.
Craft: Making mini-books (supplies: paper, cardstock, craft foam, scissors, glue, yarn and needles)
About Bible Study: Most Bible stories have lots of layers of meaning. Each time you read a story, you see something else that is interesting or meaningful to you. The more you read, the more you can "make the stories your own" by thinking about it, talking about it, and creating things inspired by the story, such as drawing, painting, making crafts, writing music, or writing plays.