Jesus Without Language

Kid's Ministry & Sunday School Resources

Young Jesus (Luke 2) | Story

Oh, to have heard young Jesus in the temple. A boy on the cusp of manhood, astounding the scholars of the faith. Rather than take the traditional parent perspective to this story, it’s written it from the eyes of one of the temple priests. There are 2 reasons for this, firstly this story is sometimes taught as the one thing Jesus did wrong, scripture disputes this and yet from a child’s viewpoint it’s an easy lesson to accidentally learn. Secondly, the story is an echo of a time yet to come and so the focus should be on the message of Jesus here, the significance of him being lost for 3 days can be drawn out with older groups

This retold version of the Bible passage is supplied for inspiration, feel free to omit or embellish to give it your personal voice.

Main passage: Luke 2

Young Jesus story post graphic

A few days earlier, the priest could barely move for people in the temple; the city had been bursting with life as every able Jew flooded Jerusalem’s streets. He liked that it was quieter now, just a few crowds sat in the shade at the edge of the huge courtyard, some leaning against the pillars. Passing nearby to one crowd, the priest moved closer to find out what was happening. Discussions like this were not common. A rabbi would stand or sit on a step and others would gather to hear the wisdom of the old master.

This group was different though. The place of the rabbi was filled not by an older man in the fine clothes of a teacher, but by a young boy only just old enough to be counted a man. The priest looked at the faces of those surrounding him with astonishment. Many of these men were important teachers, yet here the great sat beside the last of the Passover visitors, the holy and the ordinary mixing. While the youngster was the centre of attention, it was clear he was also the one asking questions, first to one Rabbi and then another. They were not simple questions, but questions that darted around scripture and drew together threads of huge ideas. When asked, the youngster spoke with a look of certainty on his face, and his knowledge revealed a wisdom greater than his years.

That night, the priest could not sleep for what he had heard. He woke before his household and rushed back to the temple in hopes of seeing the youngster once more. After circling the courtyard twice, he saw him arrive. Before the priest could move closer, a small crowd rushed up and the conversations continued. People came and went, faces changed, but for three days the boy sat and talked with whomever would join him.

As the shadows were lengthening on the third day, a young couple appeared at the doorway, their eyes searching with panic. The mother’s eyes [extra space] landed on the crowd, and the youngster paused mid-sentence to meet her gaze. “My parents have come,” he said simply and, standing up, walked through those seated towards the couple. In the silence that followed, everyone heard the voice of the mother rise up, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been worried searching for you.” Recognising the crowd was listening, the youngster spoke clearly in response, “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

And they were gone. Try as the priest might, all he could find out is that the youngster’s name was Jesus, a popular and common name at the time. But the words that he had heard lived inside him like no other teaching had, and the way Jesus had called the temple ‘his fathers house’ made him look, eagerly, every year following, for the face in the Passover crowds.


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