Leader Notes John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. Matthew 17:5 - Suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!"
The Book of Luke records just two narratives about Jesus’ childhood: His dedication (Luke 2:21-40) and His time at the temple when He was 12 years old (Luke 2:41-52). Both stories set the stage for Jesus’ ministry on earth as an adult.
Mary and Joseph were faithful Jews. They had dedicated the baby Jesus according to the law of Moses, and they traveled to Jerusalem each year to celebrate Passover. God had commanded the men to appear before Him three times a year to observe certain festivals. (See Deut. 16:16.) Once a year, those who followed God’s law would travel to Jerusalem, often in large groups.
In Bible times, a Jewish boy became a man around age 12. His father would train him to take on all the responsibilities of adulthood, social and spiritual. Joseph was a carpenter, and he likely trained Jesus in his trade. When Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem, Joseph might have taken Jesus around the city to teach Him the significance of the temple and explain the purpose of the Passover feast.
Jesus’ parents started the journey back home after the feast. They assumed Jesus was among their traveling companions, but He wasn’t. Jesus had stayed behind at the temple. Mary and Joseph traveled for a day before they noticed Jesus was missing. They went back to Jerusalem and found Him at the temple.
Jesus said to them: “Didn’t you know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” Mary and Joseph did not understand Jesus’ words. But Jesus is God’s Son, and it was necessary that He honor His true Father. In all this, Jesus did not sin.
The Bible does not give many details about Jesus’ childhood, but we do know that as Jesus got older, He grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people. Jesus carried out God’s plan to reconcile the world to Himself. (2 Cor. 5:19)
Option 1: Amazing accomplishments Invite a couple kids to share their greatest accomplishments. Explain that you will read a list of accomplishments. If kids think a 12-year-old accomplished the feat, they should clap and cheer. If not, they should remain silent.
1. A 12-year-old boy from Oregon graduated from a college in Chicago. 2. A 12-year-old boy from India was accepted into medical school. 3. A 12-year-old girl from China had her paintings appear in worldwide museum exhibits. 4. A 12-year-old boy from Pennsylvania was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. 5. A 12-year-old boy from France could read six languages. 6. A 12-year-old boy from Taiwan was accepted into an important music school in England.
Say • All of these accomplishments were actually achieved by 12-year-olds! Today we are going to hear a story from the Bible about something Jesus did when He was 12 years old. What Jesus did amazed the adults who saw Him!
Option 2: Human obstacle course Invite the kids to form a human obstacle course by standing throughout the room. Each kid may stand with his feet wide apart, crouch on his hands and knees, or stand with his arms outstretched like the letter T. At each obstacle, the course runner should pass over, under, or around the obstacle.
Guide the first player through the course. When she finishes, instruct her to take the place of an obstacle and let another kid run the course.
Say • Moving around obstacles can be hard! It’s much harder than just walking without obstacles. In today’s Bible story, Mary and Joseph moved quickly through a crowd because they were looking for Jesus. Do you think they found Him? We will soon find out!
Bible Story Jesus at the Temple Luke 2:41-52
Open your Bible to Luke 2:41-52 and tell the Bible story in your own words, or show the video “Jesus at the Temple.” Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem every year. The Jewish people celebrated Passover to remember the first Passover when God rescued His people from slavery in Egypt. When Jesus was 12 years old, He went to Jerusalem with Mary and Joseph. After the celebration, a whole crowd of people headed home. The people in the crowd were Mary and Joseph’s friends and relatives. Mary and Joseph thought Jesus was somewhere in the crowd, but He wasn’t. After a day of traveling, they realized Jesus wasn’t with them.
Imagine how Mary and Joseph must have felt! They hurried back to Jerusalem, retracing their steps. Finally, they found Jesus at the temple. Can anyone tell me what Jesus was doing at the temple? Jesus was listening to the teachers and asking them questions. Jesus said to Mary and Joseph, “Didn’t you know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”
What did He mean? Remember, Jesus is God’s Son! God gave Jesus earthly parents, but Jesus was born to be the Savior of the world! He came to do God’s will. Why was Jesus’ visit to the temple important? Jesus showed that He is God’s Son and that He came to do God’s will.
TELL THE STORY Every year, Jesus’ parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. Passover was the biggest holiday for the Jewish people. Many people would travel to Jerusalem to celebrate and remember when God saved His people from slavery in Egypt.
When Jesus was 12 years old, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph went to Jerusalem together. When it was time to go home, Mary and Joseph began traveling to Nazareth with a large group of people. They did not notice that Jesus was not with them; they thought He was among the group of travelers. But Jesus was not with the group. He had stayed behind in Jerusalem.
Mary, Joseph, and the other travelers had been walking for a whole day when they began to look for Jesus. They looked among their relatives and friends, but they could not find Him.
So Mary and Joseph went back to Jerusalem to look for Jesus. They searched everywhere for Him, but they could not find Him. The city was so big, and Jesus was just a boy.
Finally, they found Him. Jesus was in the temple complex, sitting among the teachers. Jesus was listening to the teachers and asking them questions. Everyone who heard Jesus could hardly believe how much Jesus understood.
When Jesus’ parents saw Him, they were surprised. Mary said, “Son, why have You done this? Your father and I were worried. We’ve been looking everywhere for You.”
“Why were you looking for Me?” Jesus asked them. “Didn’t you know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”
But Mary and Joseph did not understand what Jesus was talking about. Then Jesus went back to Nazareth with Mary and Joseph, and He was obedient to them. Mary remembered all of these things.
Jesus grew taller and wiser. God was pleased with Him, and so was everyone who knew Him.
Christ Connection: Jesus went to the temple to worship. He is God’s Son, and He came to do God’s work. Jesus taught people, suffered, died on the cross for our sins, and rose from the dead so that we too can worship God.
Say • How often did Mary and Joseph go to Jerusalem? (every year, Luke 2:41) • How old was Jesus when He went to Jerusalem with His parents? (12 years old, Luke 2:42) • How many days did Jesus’ parents travel before they realized Jesus wasn’t with them? (one, Luke 2:44) • How many days did Mary and Joseph search for Jesus? (three days, Luke 2:46) • Where did Mary and Joseph find Jesus? (in the temple, Luke 2:46) • What was Jesus doing in the temple? (sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; Luke 2:46) • Where did Jesus say He had to be? (in His Father’s house, Luke 2:49) • Why was Jesus’ visit to the temple important? Jesus showed that He is God’s Son and that He came to do God’s will. • Did Jesus disobey His parents when He stayed at the temple? (No, Jesus never sinned.) Jesus did what was right. He was in the temple—His Father’s house— because He is God’s Son. Jesus showed that He is God’s Son and that He came to do God’s will.
Game My Father’s house Choose one volunteer to be the target. Lead him to practice saying his line: “Here I am!” Choose another volunteer to be a searcher. Blindfold the searcher and lead her to practice her line: “Where are you?”
Guide the rest of the class to spread out throughout the room. Explain the game: The searcher is trying to locate the target. The target must stay in one spot, but the other kids (obstacles) may move carefully around the room. Kids should clap or snap their fingers so the searcher can detect the obstacles. Supervise for safety.
As the searcher moves around, she should call out, “Where are you?” The target must respond, “Here I am!” The searcher should respond to the target’s voice to locate him. When the searcher locates the target, choose new volunteers to be the searcher and target. Remaining kids will be obstacles.
Say • Jesus grew and worked with His father Joseph. God had chosen Joseph to be Jesus’ earthly father, but Jesus’ true Father is God. Even at a young age, Jesus understood that He is God’s Son. He knew what was most important. That is why He said, “Why were you searching for Me? Didn’t you know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”
“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, Who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
THE WAVE Purpose: Students memorize the Bible verse: John 1:14. Supplies: Bible Let’s read our Bible verse and talk about its meaning. Students read John 1:14 using Bibles.
Another name for Jesus is “the Word.” “The Word becameflesh” means Jesus who is God became human while He was still fully God. He “made Hisdwelling among us” means Jesus lived on earth with regular people like us. “We have seenHis glory” means we have seen His greatness; greatness only God has. God is full of graceand truth. Now let’s say our Bible verse in a wave!
Directions: 1. Assign one phrase from John 1:14 to each student. 2. As you direct, each students quickly stands, says assigned phrase while raising both hands up to the sky, then down to thighs and sits down. 3. Repeat three times going faster each time.
Closing Activity Say: God loves you very much! He sent Jesus to be your Savior! Close by saying: Thank you God for loving us every day. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.