Young Jesus in the Temple
Teaching Point: The boy Jesus desired to be in the presence of his Father; that should be our desire too.
Where is my child! A parent's worst nightmare. After I became a parent I understood the fear that must have gripped Mary and Joseph's hearts as they searched for their son, especially after having to flee to Egypt to protect his life. I can hear the anguish and relief in Mary's voice as she says, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you." But when I was a kid I totally understood what made the boy Jesus take off and go to the temple. Where else would he go? As children we are easily drawn to the things that touch our souls. As a child I understood - of course Jesus would be drawn to the place that touched his soul, where his Father's words were spoken; his Father's house.
We often use parts of verses 51 & 52 as teaching points for this story. We emphasize that Jesus went home and obeyed his parents and how he "grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men." These are very important points, but I think that if I were teaching this story my main teaching point would be from verse 49, "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" As God's children we must maintain that childlike relationship to our Heavenly Father and allow ourselves to be drawn to His presence through prayer, reading his words, being with his people.
Make a collage of the things that draw us to our Heavenly Father consisting of Bible verses, pictures of people and other parts of God's creation (if you are doing this at home, find pictures of family, special friends, your pastor, your neighborhood, your home, your church).
You will need: a large sheet of paper for each child or- if you want one giant collage - a large sheet of butcher paper to cover the table, glue sticks, markers, pictures, and Verses written out for the children to copy or, if the class is older, have Bibles available and help the children find favorite verses to add to their collage.
When everyone is finished ask the class to tell you why the things in their collage draw them to God.
Memory Verse - "Why were you searching for me," he asked. "Didn't you know that I had to be in my Father's house?" Luke 2:49
Talk to the children about the things that might have gone on in the temple when Jesus was there - reading from God's word, discussing what was read, asking questions, etc.
Gather the children on the floor around one teacher and pretend that they are in the temple listening to God's word. Have the teacher read to the class from the Psalms. Have another teacher come into the room as if looking for someone and say, "There you are. I've been anxiously searching for you." Then the children can respond with the verse, "Why were you searching for me? Didn't you know that I had to be in my Father's house?" Repeat the activity a couple of more times. Don't forget to ask them for the address of the verse, Luke 2:49