Powered by Fr. Abraham Mutholath Foundation NFP

Jesus at 12 Lost in the Temple


According to the Biblical numerology, the numeral 12 represents perfection or authority. The Jews have the practice of bar mitzvah which means “son of the commandments”. “Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a coming-of-age ceremony for Jewish boys and girls when they reach the age of 12 or 13. This ceremony marks the time when a boy or girl becomes a Jewish adult. This means that they are now responsible for their own actions and can decide for themselves how they would like to practise Judaism.” (https://jewishmuseum.org.uk/schools/asset/life-cycle-bar-bat-mitzvah/). They are then bound to the laws of Moses and the practice of the Jewish rituals.

“Ancient rabbis, writing in the compendium of Jewish law known as the Talmud, did declare that boys are obligated to fulfil the “mitzvot” – the commandments of Jewish law – beginning at the age of 13.” (https://theconversation.com/what-is-a-bar- mitzvah-129745). Though not recorded in the Bible, some Jewish scholars surmise God gave this as a requirement to Moses when he was on Mount Sinai.

Jesus might have travelled with his parents every year to Jerusalem for the feast. However, his trip at 12 was of special relevance because he officially became an adult and, as such, was responsible for his religious practices, including fasting on the day of atonement. At that age, Jesus might have put on the two phylacteries, which was also a Jewish custom to remind him of the obligation to practice the Law. Phylacteries are small square leather boxes containing Hebrew texts inscribed on vellum and that are worn on the left arm and on the forehead during morning weekday prayers by Orthodox Jewish men from the age of 12 or 13.

©Bibleinterpretation.org. All Rights Reserved 2024