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12 year old Jesus

By Chris McCann
November 26, 2016

Luke 2:41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.

42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.

43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.

The Bible gives us a good deal of information regarding the birth of Christ. And it also gives us very good information concerning the Lord Jesus’ three and a half year period of ministry at the end of His life. The only other bit of information we’re given about Christ’s life between His birth and His years of ministry, is a reference to the boy Jesus having a conversation in the temple with a group of doctors:

Luke 2:44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.

45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.

46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.

47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?

50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.

Out of all the many things that Christ must have done and said during His childhood years, for some mysterious reason, God only reveals this one incident at the time Jesus was twelve years old. I’ve always wondered why? Why did God bother to tell us about this one incident when Jesus was twelve years of age? The Bible is silent concerning Christ at the age of seven, or eight, or fourteen, etc. The only time God gives us a glimpse into the childhood of Jesus is this time when He was twelve years old. Again, why? Why does God tell us about this particular age? There must be some significance in Jesus’ age of 12.

By God’s grace, I think for the first time we can understand the reason why God tells us that the boy Jesus was twelve years old.

We know that Jesus was born in the Jubilee year of 7 BC. We also know that He was born around the time of the Day of Atonement, the Hebrew 7th month. This was very likely our October 1st, or October 2nd. Therefore Jesus would have turned 12 years of age in early October of 6 AD.

But the feast He was attending at the age of 12 was the Passover feast. And the Passover feast came in the Hebrew 1st month, or our March/April. This means when Jesus went to the feast at 12 years old, it was in the spring of the year 7 AD.

We see that Jesus is said to be 12 years old. But, the number of actual years was 13:

7 BC + 7 AD = 14 -1 (no year zero) = 13 years

Interestingly, the one reference to a year that God gives us is a number that has both 12/13 in view.

We’ve seen that combination of 12/13 before. It is the number of the tribes of Israel (12 but actually 13); and the number of the apostles (12 but actually 13). It’s also the number the Bible assigns to the history of the earth (12,000 but actually 13,000 years). And significantly we find it used of the Lord Jesus Christ. Of the One, upon Whom all history focuses.

Is it possible that the reference to Jesus at age 12/13 is some type of spiritual reference to the history of the world once it reaches 12,000/13,000 years of history?

Timeline from age 12 to baptism of Christ

Once we consider the Bible’s reference to Jesus at age 12 as somehow tying in with the timeline for earth’s history. We immediately see something else very interesting.

From the age of 12, in 7 AD, until the baptism of Christ in 29 AD is a period of 23 inclusive


29-7=22 actual years / 23 inclusive years

Another way of figuring it is:

Jesus age 35 at baptism, so: 35 - 12 =23

The 23 years from Jesus at age 12/13 until His baptism, curiously fits well with the 23 year Great Tribulation period that comes after the 13,000 year of earth’s history in the year 1988.