September 9 - Luke 2:40-52

Monday, September 9, 2013

Luke 2:40-52 – The Boy Jesus at the Temple

Luke does it again, but many of us might miss this because of the way the NIV and other translations break the sections (or pericopes – per-ih’-kuh-pees) apart.

Luke 2:40 says “And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.” We then are exposed to the story of Jesus in the temple and Luke closes this pericope with the words, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52).

These might sound repetitive, but what Luke is attempting to do is draw your attention to the importance of the young boy’s wisdom. Without this emphasis, we would sense the amazement of the child’s clever responses and be annoyed along with his parents at his lack of attention to their concerns.

The age … twelve … is also important in this passage.  While girls are considered to be fully grown and could become betrothed to a husband, boys are still just that … boys. Even as a child, Jesus shows wisdom that only the greatest of minds might have.

One commentary explains that some of the greatest Jewish and Greek heroes became so while at a very young age. Josephus, the great historian, tells us that Samuel began to prophesy at the age of twelve. Daniel and Solomon both showed their excellence as boys. In Greek mythos, Cyrus, Cambyses, Alexander, and Epicurus all were boys when they began to stand out among their peers.  Luke wants to make sure his readers know that the Messiah stands far and above even the greatest of their heroes.

This is the last we hear of Joseph. Jesus clearly declares that he is about his father’s business. While this would not have been offensive to the man who was raising God’s son, it is the moment that Luke takes to remind us that the child will grow into the man who is the Savior of the World.

Bovon, F., & Koester, H. (2002). Luke 1: A commentary on the Gospel of Luke 1:1–9:50. Hermeneia—a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (111). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.