I have often thought about the exchange that passed between Jesus and the doctors at the temple in Jerusalem. It looks like Jesus was asking questions that were so perspicacious as to astonish the Jewish teachers in the temple that they confirmed his brilliance while leading the teachers themselves into deeper truths.

46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. (Luke 2:46-47 ESV)

What was Jesus really asking and answering the doctors at the temple?

  • What doctors are you referring to? Oct 28 '19 at 20:12
  • Could there be extra-biblical materials pointing to those discussions? Oct 29 '19 at 0:28

There is only one clue, that I can think of, as to what Jesus may have discussed at the age of twelve. Matthew recounts the following conversation of the adult Jesus with Pharisees in Matthew 22:41-45 :

Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David.

He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?

If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?

It is just possible that the boy Jesus had asked the same questions as he sat in the temple, amazing the learned doctors of the law.

  • This is a total assumption ! Nov 4 '19 at 6:34
  • @ErnestAbinokhauno Indeed. I have stated 'just possible'. The only evidence we have is circumstancial evidence.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 4 '19 at 6:54

The reality is that we do not know what was said because the text does not say. We can "infer" that the Jewsish law may have been discussed and its application to life since this was usually the major activity of rabbis.

Also notice (vs46) Jesus was a good listener and ask them questions. The questiions must have been good because at (vs47) the Jews were amazed not only because of His understanding but His answers which I think showed great "wisdom."

Now, as a side note notice at vs49 what Jesus says to His parents that were looking for Him. "Did you not know that I had to be about MY FATHER'S business." Notice at vs50 the parents reaction. "And they did not understand the statement which He had made to them.

Look now at John 5:17 some years later. "MY FATHER is working until now, and I Myself am working?" Is it not interesting that the Jews understood what Jesus had meant when He said, "MY FATHER" at vs17. Look at their reaction, John 5:18, "For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because (or why?) He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God."


The fact that they were amazed and not upset, which they were later on, points toward that they thought Jesus was very mature for his young age, bringing up subjects that only Rabbis might venture into.

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