The twelve-year old (Lk 2:42-2:42

“When Jesus was

Twelve years old,

They went up

As usual

For the festival.”

 

Καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο ἐτῶν δώδεκα, ἀναβαινόντων αὐτῶν κατὰ τὸ ἔθος τῆς ἑορτῆς,

 

Now we have another unique saying of Luke about the age of Jesus.  When Jesus was 12 years old (Καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο ἐτῶν δώδεκα), the whole family went up to Jerusalem (ἀναβαινόντων αὐτῶν) as usual for the festival of Passover (κατὰ τὸ ἔθος τῆς ἑορτῆς).  This was not a bar mitzvah or confirmation, since this Jewish practice came later.  However, Jesus would have been on the verge of puberty.  The number 12 would play a major role in the life of Jesus, since he had 12 apostles, who were called the Twelve.  This episode is the only insight into the life of Jesus between his birth and the baptism by John, that can be found in any of the canonical biblical gospel narratives.  There are many stories about the boyhood of Jesus in some apocryphal gospels.  Thus, this story takes on a special canonical importance.