Resources » The IVP New Testament Commentary Series » Luke » Infancy Narrative (1:5-2:52) » The Twelve-Year-Old Jesus Goes to the Temple (2:41-52)

The Twelve-Year-Old Jesus Goes to the Temple (2:41-52)

As Luke's infancy overture comes to a close, he makes a transition to John and Jesus' ministry through a single incident from Jesus' adolescence (L. T. Johnson 1991:60). This is the only such incident in the Gospels, though the extrabiblical gospels do include such accounts (Infancy Gospel of Thomas 19:1-5). After the host of witnesses to Jesus in Luke 1:5—2:40, Jesus now speaks for himself for the first time. This is the literary climax of Luke's initial section and shows the sense of mission and self-awareness Jesus possesses. Jesus has a unique relationship to God and a clear sense of his calling, one that transcends his relationship to his earthly parents. That this event, though strictly speaking not an infancy account, belongs in this initial literary division of Luke is indicated by the fact that it takes place in the temple, which is where the section started in Luke 1:5. In addition, the note on Jesus' growth parallels the close of the discussion of John the Baptist in Luke 1:80.

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