Jesus in the Temple at Age 12

Scripture: Luke 2:41 – 52 

Target Age Group:  1st through 6th grade

Welcome the children to the classroom and chat with them about their week as they gather around the table.

Pray and ask God to teach the children not just head knowledge, but also heart knowledge.

Begin by asking the question, Have you ever gotten lost?  Let the children tell you stories of times they got lost.  Discuss how they felt, how their parents felt, and how they were found.

Today we are going to read a story about how Jesus was lost one time…


Bible Lesson:
Have the children open their Bibles to Matthew 2 or pages 358 – 359 in The Golden Children’s Bible.

(Read the story to the children because at this age some of the children do not read smoothly, which hinders comprehension for the whole class.)


  • Why did Jesus’ parents go to Jerusalem every year?  For the Festival of the Passover
  • How old was Jesus in this story?  12
  • After the festival, Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. How long did his parents travel on the way home before they noticed that he wasn’t with them? One day
  • Why were they not aware that he wasn’t with them?  They were traveling in a group with family and friends and they thought he was with other people in the group.
  • When they couldn’t find him among friends and family what did they do?  They went back to Jerusalem to look for him.
  • How long did it take to find him?  3 days.
  • Where did they find him?  At the temple.
  • What was he doing?  Sitting with the teachers, asking questions.
  • What did the teachers think of Jesus?  They were amazed at his understanding.
  • What did his parents say when they found Him?  “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
  • How did He answer them?  “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
  • What do you think he meant by that?  That the temple should have been the first place they should have looked for him because this was the house of God, his Father, and he was doing what God wanted him to do.
  • If you were lost, where would the most logical place be for anyone to find you, and what would you be doing?  Would it be a place that God would like you to be and something that he would like you to be doing?
  • Did Jesus stay there at the temple after that?  No. He obeyed them and went back to Nazareth with them.
  • What was Mary’s reaction?  She treasured these things in her heart.
  • What ways did Jesus grow up?  physically, mentally, spiritually and socially
  • How do we grow physically?  We eat food and we exercise our muscles
  • How do we grow mentally?  We go to school and study books to learn things
  • How do we grow socially?  We get together with friends and play with them and share with them etc.
  • How do we grow spiritually?  By going to church, reading the Bible, praying
  • Are you growing spiritually?
  • Let’s pray and ask Jesus to help us to obey our parents and to grow physically, mentally, socially and spiritually…


During the remaining class time do activities that help to reinforce what the children have learned. Here are some suggestions…


Memorize the verse.

Luke 2:52 “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”


Watch a video of this story. Video #1


Read or listen to the devotional  “Grow, Grow, Grow” by Keys for Kids


Play the game “Mother May I”

One child is chosen to be Mother.  The others line up at least 10 feet away.  Mother gives commands to each of the other players.  Commands are such as, “Tim, you make take one half step forward.” Tim must respond, “Mother, may I?”  The mother than says, “Yes, you may.”  If Tim takes the step without asking for permission, he is out of the game. The first player to reach Mother is the winner and now gets to be the Mother.

Talk to the children about being obedient to their parents as Jesus was obedient to his.


Have the children use colors or pastels to draw their own vision of the story on a sketch pad page. Or have them color a color page related to the story.  Color page #1 , Color page #2 , Color page #3  (scroll down to coloring through the Bible), Color page #4 , Color page #5


Have the children make the booklet “Jesus Gets Lost” by Jill Kemp and Richard Gunther at Lamb Songs.  Scroll down.


Evaluate what the children have learned.  While they are coloring or crafting ask each one what they learned today.

Send each child’s parent an e-mail (or a hard copy) of the Parents’ Page.

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