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Luke 2:39-52: Jesus Grows Up
No other gospel tells about Jesus as a child. But even Luke has only a few glimpses.

Verses 39-40: An ordinary child.

After Joseph and Mary had done everything that the Law of the Lord commands, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. The child Jesus grew. He became strong and wise, and God blessed him. [Verses 39-40, CEV]

Some notes on these verses:

These words are Luke’s way of summing up one episode and launching us on another. First, by indicating that Joseph and Mary had "done everything that the Law of the Lord commands," he reminds us of all that we’ve seen in the previous verses about the deep devotion of the people around Jesus. Next he describes Jesus growing up, calling attention to his wisdom and standing with God. Those aspects will come to the fore in the next story of Jesus in the temple.


Verses 41-52: The Boy Jesus in the Temple

Some notes on these verses:

  • My father’s house. In the first chapter of Luke, 1.31-35, the angel told Mary that Jesus will be "called the Son of God Most High." Now, Luke suggests this connection by having Jesus refer not to "the temple," but "my father’s house."
  • …how much he knew: Jesus’ wisdom. What makes Jesus significant? We might think of his titles ("Son of David," "Lord," "Son of God"), his death on the cross, and resurrection. Do we include his teaching as a wise and discerning "guru" or "master"? This story gives a early hint that Jesus will be a noted teacher.
  • All Jewish boys were expected to learn something of the law and religion. All Jewish children were expected to be pious and obedient to their loving parents. Luke lets us know that Jesus fulfilled these duties of every good child. But Luke also lets us know that Jesus goes beyond that.
  • Age 12. There is no single "coming of age" time for youngsters in this culture, but around this age is when people are thought to become responsible for their actions.
  • "but they did not understand what he meant." Again, we are told that despite the actions of Jesus and all that God has done to confirm his ministry, not all will "get it.

Last updated 12/11/00; © 2000 John P. Nordin