The stories of Jesus’ infancy and childhood began with Zachariah’s encounter with the Angel Gabriel in the temple (cf. Luke 1:5-23). This story of Him in the temple at age twelve is the last accounting of His childhood. Mary and Joseph made the journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem along with a caravan of relatives and neighbors to celebrate the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread. It was one of three annual feasts in which devout Jewish men were to participate (cf. Deuteronomy 16:16). The Passover was the opening day of the celebration (cf. Leviticus 23:5-6) commemorating Israel’s liberation from Egyptian bondage.
Supposing Jesus was with other relatives in the caravan, Mary and Joseph left Jerusalem for the trip home at the conclusion of the feast. After traveling a day’s journey (approximately 20 miles), they discovered He was not with them and returned to Jerusalem to find Him. After searching Jerusalem for an entire day, they finally found Jesus in the temple listening, asking and answering questions with the teachers. Those present were astonished by His comprehension of God’s word.
Can you imagine Mary’s conundrum at losing her first born? What a relief it must have been to find Him in the temple among the teachers. How exasperated she must have been when she exclaimed “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress” (v. 48). The first part of His response was that of a typical twelve-year-old boy, “Why were you looking for me?” But the second part, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” ( v. 49) indicated the clear perception He had from childhood of the mission and ministry God sent Him to accomplish. Like the boy Samuel (cf. 1 Samuel 1:26), Jesus grew in wisdom, and in stature, and in favor with God and man (cf. Luke 2:52). Even then Passover must have held a significant personal impact because He was the ultimate Passover Lamb to be sacrificed for all humanity.
What impact, if any, does the Passover have in your life? Are your days filled to capacity with business as usual? Or have you set apart time to be about your Father’s business? Jesus is still the Lamb of God that carries the sin of humanity away and brings salvation, reconciliation and peace with God to all who receive Him. How many will receive Him as a result of your testimony of Jesus, The Passover Lamb?