Humble Hero


The Passover Visit

This chapter is based on Luke 2:41-51.

Among the Jews, the twelfth year was the dividing line between childhood and youth. In keeping with this custom, Jesus made the Passover visit to Jerusalem with Joseph and Mary when He reached the required age. HH 29.1

The journey from Galilee took several days, and travelers united in large groups for companionship and protection. The women and old men rode on oxen or donkeys over the steep, rocky roads. The stronger men and youth traveled on foot. The whole land was bright with flowers and glad with the song of birds. Along the way, fathers and mothers repeated to their children the wonders that God had done for His people in ages past, and brightened their journey with song and music. HH 29.2

Passover observance began with the birth of the Hebrew nation. On the last night of their slavery in Egypt, God directed the Hebrews to gather their families in their own homes. Having sprinkled the doorposts with the blood of the lamb they had slaughtered, they were to eat the lamb, roasted, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. “It is the Lord’s Passover.” Exodus 12:11. At midnight all the firstborn of the Egyptians were killed. Then the Hebrews went out from Egypt as an independent nation. From generation to generation, they were to repeat the story of this wonderful deliverance. HH 29.3

After the Passover came the seven-day feast of unleavened bread. All the ceremonies of the feast were symbols of the work of Christ. The slain lamb, the unleavened bread, the sheaf of first fruits, represented the Savior. But with most of the people in the days of Christ, this feast had become no more than formalism. But how significant it was to the Son of God! HH 29.4

For the first time, the Child Jesus looked on the temple. He saw the white-robed priests performing their solemn ministry and the bleeding victim on the altar of sacrifice. He witnessed the impressive rites of the Passover service. Day by day, He saw their meaning more clearly. Every act seemed involved with His own life. New impulses were awakening within Him. Silent and absorbed, He seemed to be studying out a great problem. The mystery of His mission was opening to the Savior. HH 29.5

Completely focused on contemplating these scenes, Jesus lingered in the temple courts when the Passover services ended. When the worshipers left Jerusalem, He was left behind. HH 29.6

In this visit, Jesus’ parents wanted to bring Him into contact with the great teachers in Israel. They hoped He might be impressed by the learning of the rabbis and would pay more attention to their requirements. But in the temple, Jesus had been taught by God. What He had received, He began at once to share. HH 30.1

An apartment connected with the temple had been made into a sacred school. Here the Child Jesus came, seating Himself at the feet of the learned rabbis. As One seeking for wisdom, He questioned these teachers regarding the prophecies and about events then taking place that pointed to the coming of the Messiah. HH 30.2

His questions suggested deep truths that had been hidden for a long time but were vital to salvation. While showing how the wisdom of the wise men was narrow and superficial, every question placed truth in a new light. The rabbis spoke of the wonderful exaltation that the Messiah’s coming would bring to the Jews, but Jesus presented the prophecy of Isaiah and asked the meaning of those Scriptures that point to the suffering and death of the Lamb of God. See Isaiah 53. HH 30.3

The doctors turned on Him with questions and were amazed at His answers. With the humility of a child, He gave the words of Scripture a depth of meaning that the wise men had not imagined. The lines of truth He pointed out, had they been followed, would have worked a reformation in the religion of the day; and when Jesus began His ministry, many would have been prepared to receive Him. HH 30.4

In this thoughtful Galilean Boy, the rabbis recognized great promise. They wanted to have charge of His education. A mind so original, they thought, must be brought under their molding. HH 30.5

The words of Jesus moved their hearts as they had never before been moved by words from human lips. God was seeking to give light to those leaders. If Jesus had seemed to be trying to teach them, they would have refused to listen. But they told themselves that they were teaching Him—or at least testing His knowledge of the Scriptures. Jesus’ youthful modesty and grace disarmed their prejudices. Their minds opened to the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit spoke to their hearts. HH 30.6

They could see that prophecy did not sustain their expectation of the Messiah, but they would not admit that they had misunderstood the Scriptures they claimed to teach. HH 30.7