What was Jesus doing for three whole days when He was left in the temple?

We know he was talking with the elders when Mary and Joseph found him but what about the rest of the time and night time?


Given that he was the Saviour, I’d bet those doctors had no problem staying up all night listening to his insignts on the Tanakh. He must have held their attention long enough for his parents to find him.

But that’s just a guess of course.

Correct me if I am wrong but the short answer is Listening and Asking questions! While HE was divine HE also had our humanity and HE probably was like a sponge soaking up all that the wise and learned men were discussing.

As far as what HE did at night … The hospitality of the Middle Eastern people is noteworthy.
Someone would have fed HIM and found HIM a place to sleep. Of course all this is speculation but based on tradition and information gathered over many years of reading.

Jesus went to proclaim his victory in both Paradise and Hades. Then he rose.

The post is about the 3 days he was lost as a young boy. His frantic parents found him in the Temple and he said to them “do not be concerned for I am in my Fathers house”.

Um, he wasn’t dead yet. He was only 12 and in the Temple.

Luke 2:41-52 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
The Boy Jesus in the Temple

41 Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. 43 When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. 44 Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. 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.** 48 When his parents[a] saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” 49 He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”** 50 But they did not understand what he said to them. 51 Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years,[c] and in divine and human favor.**

The rabbis did not then realize that they were speaking to the Son of God. We must wonder if, twenty years later during His public ministry, they remembered meeting the young Jesus.

It’s also possible a lot of them may already have passed away by the time Jesus began his ministry.

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.

I am confident that the questions he asked the teachers were such that they didn’t have an answer, and Jesus explained the answers to them. This is why it’s written that they were amazed at his understanding and his answers. He was the one asking the questions! We see him doing that all through the New Testament during his public ministry.

I know things were different back them but wondering how come no one noticed-hey this kid is here without his parents. Did the rabbis think Jesus was left there intentionally?

Suppose some 12 year old was left at the Vatican and started having deep theological discussion with priests and religious, etc. You would think sooner or later someone would wonder where this kids parents are.

Different time, different culture. Even as recent as the 1800’s in America, it would not have been a cause of great alarm to encounter a 12yr old boy on his own. Sure - one would wonder where his parents were, but in a sympathetic / these things happen kind of way - not in the Amber Alert fashion of today. I imagine anyone wondering on his independence would have made a gentle inquiry of him, which I’m sure he would have dismissed - then as noted above, hospitality would have been offered.

I think he was near the holy of holies and then studying the layout of the place. Remember when he was grown and once they tried to stone him and he disappeared from among them? Maybe he was discovering where David’s men came through the water system. Bet he wanted to “see” his father’s house… in his human-ness of course…

Playing basketball in the Temple courtyard? Noooooooooooooooo! He was teaching his elder rabies and probably learning as well. There was a movie where the young Jesus was befriended by another small boy who took him home for food and shelter at night. I like that version where Jesus was not alone or hungry, even if it was a movie. Peace.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.