Jesus went to a little temple in His neighborhood every Sabbath. But once a year His family went to the big Temple. There they would celebrate Passover. It was to help them remember when Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt. One year at the big Temple the teachers talked with Jesus. He asked the teachers a lot of questions. They liked Jesus’ questions. Soon the teachers began to ask Jesus questions! They were surprised that He knew so much. The teachers thought that only boys who went to the Temple school knew so much about God.
When the special day was over, Jesus’ parents left for home. But Jesus wasn’t with them. They may have thought He was walking with other family members or friends. After they had traveled for a whole day, they realized He was not with them. They looked for Him, but didn’t find Him. “We have to go back to the city!” Mary cried to Joseph. “We have to find Jesus.” They had already traveled a long way, and it took them a long time to get back to Jerusalem.
In the city Mary and Joseph looked for Jesus everywhere. They may have asked people, “Have you seen our Son, Jesus?” But no one had seen Him. Finally Mary and Joseph decided to look for Jesus at the big Temple. They found Him there, talking to the Temple teachers. Mary and Joseph were relieved. “Son, why have you treated us like this?” Mary asked. “Your father and I have been searching anxiously for you.” “Why were you searching for me?” Jesus asked. “Didn’t you know that I had to be in my Father’s house?” But Mary and Joseph didn’t understand what He meant.
Do you understand? In God’s house, people learn about God and tell others about God. That’s what Jesus was doing in the big Temple. Now He knew God’s plan for His life. Now He knew He was God’s Son. And He knew He would help people and tell them about God as He grew up.