A child, aged 12, named Yeshua, disappears in Jerusalem



NB:There is a story behind this picture that was created by the Italian police after the Shroud of Turin. This is how Yeshua is supposed to have looked like as a child. He looks like a Jewish person  in this computerized pic (personally I wouldn’t object.)


A child disappears


Have you ever lost your child, even for a few hours? If yes, you know the anguish of a parent seeking their child. This misadventure happened to me a few years ago, on the day before Christmas eve. My youngest son , aged 8 suddenly vanished from the crowd, in my hometown. My eldest son and I panicked at first, but luckily, my youngest found his way home and was back after an hour or so.


The gospel of Luke, chapter 2 reports the story of Yeshua in the Temple of Jerusalem.


Miriam and her husband Yosef were devout and practicing Jews. By showing up to celebrate Pessakh in Jerusalem, they obeyed the commandment of Deuteronomy 16:16:


“Three times in a year shall all your males appear before the Lord your God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of Tabernacles.”


The couple was traveling with many relatives and friends.



Yeshua at the Temple




After having accomplished their duty, Yosef and Miriam were on their way home to Nazareth, when they suddenly noticed the young boy’s absence.


After three days of non-stop search and anguish, having returned to Jerusalem, Miriam and Yosef eventually find Yeshua at the Temple, listening to the rabbis and interrogating them about the Torah.

It is quite common in Jewish customs for rabbis to question children. But twelve year old Yeshua, stands out for His uncommon wisdom.

To His parents’ anguish Yeshua responds with the purpose of His mission: to be in the House of His Father. He points to His true filiation with Abba.


Yosef and Miriam must have felt very confused in this moment.

The recovery of Yeshua after 3 days is very symbolic: the recovery at the Temple  is a prefiguration of the Resurrection.


The Gospel of Luke would dismiss anybody who thought of a young adolescent’s rebellion against his parents. It clearly states that Yeshua went back to Nazareth and  was obedient to them.


The last sentence is the most interesting: “And Yeshua grew in wisdom and stature; and in favor before God and man” (Luke 2:52)



We know very little about our Savior’s “lost years”. The infancy gospel of Thomas is a gnostic text that tells a few stories about Yeshua as a child. However, reports about our Savior’s childhood are very rare in the official sources. One can imagine that the writers of the Gospels either didn’t know much or they wanted to preserve Yeshua’s family’s privacy.

But the story of young Yeshua at the Temple lets us understand that our Lord was an uncommon child of extraordinary intelligence and wisdom.


Copyright© by Isabelle Esling

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