Finding the Child Jesus in the Temple

The infancy narratives in Luke’s gospel end with “The Finding in the Temple” (Luke 2:41-51).

This event is pictured in the God the Son rosette, below the Return from Egypt pane. Jesus is now twelve and has accompanied Mary and Joseph to Jerusalem for the celebration of Passover, as was their custom. They travelled with their extended family and friends. When the group left to return home Jesus remained in Jerusalem. Thinking he was with relatives, Mary and Joseph did not discover he was missing until the end of the day. They returned to Jerusalem to look for Him.

Imagine the panic of parents searching for three days for their lost child. This pane depicts Jesus where they found him, in the Temple, speaking with the teachers of the Law who are holding a scroll inscribed with Hebrew letters. It stresses the significance of where they found him rather than Mary and Joseph’s frantic search. In the upper corner of the pane is the sanctuary lamp, indicating God’s presence in the Temple. Jesus is seated, holding a book. This is one of two images in the church in which Jesus is dressed in blue, an unusual color for Him in Christian art. It symbolizes His divine nature; Jesus is true God and true man.

He is indicating a page in the book and is pointing with His other hand toward the lamp, toward his Father, as His teaching would later in His life. Jesus’ halo is usually gold or white, colors symbolizing his divinity and purity, but in this pane it is green, with a red cross. The color green symbolizes hope and life, and red, his Passion and death. Jesus is the fulfillment of all the Old Testament Scriptures. He is the “new temple” and it is through his Passion, death and resurrection that hope and new life will be brought to all the world.

As we pray with this window and reflect on this event in the life of Jesus, let us pray for those children who are lost, or who have run away from home. Let us also pray for a deeper understanding of Jesus as the Savior, who brings hope to a broken world.


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