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In addition to these public lesson and ideas topics below, supporting members can view the Writing Team's lesson set, "Jesus, the boy who went to the Temple." Its lesson summaries and Bible background are open to all.

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Jesus the boy in the Temple

Computer Workshop Idea

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Older Children: Life of Christ CD, lesson #9 and Let's Talk.
Younger: Play and Learn Children's Bible CD, "Jesus teaches some teachers".

Software Notes:

Let's Talk - This software is FREE to supporting members!  Check it out.

Play & Learn is out of print, but we are keeping here has many churches have it. (only works on Windows Me/XP/Vista, and Windows 7- 32 bit.)

Discovery Interactive’s "Life of Christ" CD has gone out of print (its material has been turned into an online course). Learn more here!

Lesson Sketch for GRADE 3 up to Teen:

The following lesson idea was originally posted at Sunday Software's website and you are welcome to use it, adapt it, use it for non-computer discussion, whatever.

The story of Jesus in the Temple is one of those stories in which you can imagine LOTS of extra dialog. Imagine for example, Mary & Joseph’s fright at discovering that Jesus wasn’t with them. Or imagine their undocumented response to Jesus’ chiding “didn’t you know that I MUST be in my Father’s house?” How did that really sound to them?

Or imagine it as the conversation between parents and kids in your church. The primary point of this story, like so many others, is to reveal WHO Jesus is, and his character, even at an early age. But it's life application is the central question of our Sunday School programs: "why should we go?"

Here's what to do:
AFTER your kids have done Lesson 8 in Life of Christ CD, turn on Let's Talk installed on your computers. This program will 'speak aloud' whatever the kids type using an onscreen character they will create and a computer voice they will select. Your students are going to type answers in response to your questions and play them for the class to hear. [This is a bit of 'mis-direction' --having the computer do their talking for them. This allows some kids to open up who would have otherwise not open their mouth to answer your questions.]

Depending on how many computer and kids you have, you can do the following several ways:

If you have 6 students and two computers, both of which have Let's Talk CD installed, then you can simply 'assign' characters from the story or your questions/situation to each computer. They will use the "Talk Now" module in Let's Talk to create their responses for the entire class to hear.

You can have all your computer workstations answer each question, and play them back when prompted, --or you can assign different questions to different workstations and have them play them back on your cue. If you assign them to all, write them on the board. If you assign to some, hand them out on a card.

Give each computer 2 minutes to talk about their response and then type it on the computer screen before you ask them to play it back for the class. Work with them during this time. After hearing responses, and making your own comments, feel free to rephrase the question and have them try again.

Possible Questions to Ask:
...and the kids use the software to respond.

1. What do the words "strong in spirit" mean in Luke 2:40?

2. What do the words "filled with wisdom" mean in Luke 2:40?

3. What does Luke 2:40 mean when it says about Jesus that, "grace was upon him.”

4. When his parents heard he was still in the Temple with the teachers, what question about their own son probably ran through their minds?

5. When Jesus chided his parents for questioning his priorities, “Why are you looking for me, didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” What response probably ran through Joseph's mind?

6. If you were a Temple teacher and Jesus was your student, what would you say to his parents about the importance of Jesus continuing his training? How would you convince them he needed training?

7. Luke says that Mary "pondered in her heart". What questions do you think she had about what had just happened?

8. If we are to "be like Jesus", what is this story telling YOU is important to do?

9. If you were Jesus' best friend who had stayed with him the whole time in the Temple, what would he have said to YOU as the reason YOU should be there too?

An Activity For Further Reflection:

After we work in the software, I OFTEN have my students do “re-enactments” of the story or key scenes to nail the life application. Sometimes the activity in Let's Talk has loosened their tongues and makes them ready for some quick skits. Assign characters in a situation and give them a situation. (I will often assign one of the roles to a teacher or teen helper and tell them to "be difficult").

I've also done skits like these below while STAYING IN Let's Talk's "Talk Now" or "Conversation Now" (chat-like) screen... and letting the kids type and playback their dialog as directed. As the teacher, you have to direct who's turn it is to talk, but it's always good for a laugh, and the kids will give you plenty of fodder for the discussion cannon!

Here are three "skit-able" situations:

Situation 1:

His parents have just arrived in the Temple....
Jesus: You don't want to go home and must try to convince your parents why staying in the Temple another day or two is good for everyone.
Joseph: You need to get back home to work, and think everyone should listen to you.
Mary: You think Jesus needs to learn from the teachers, but are torn between his needs, and your husband's need.
James/Betty: As Jesus' older brother you think he's setting a bad example, plus, you don't like to go to Temple.

Situation 2:
It's getting late at the Temple...
Teacher 1: You want this kid Jesus out of here because he's making you look bad.
Teacher 2: You want this kid to stay because you are actively looking for the Messiah, and have been quizzing various boys who seems to match Jesus' description and age.
Temple Guard: You want to keep things quite and under control so as not to start a riot.
Jesus: You want to stay and don't want to leave as long as someone is willing to talk with you.

Situation 3:
The alarm clock rings at home on Sunday morning....
Kids: You think Sunday School is boring.
Mom: You think kids should go whether they like it or not.
Dad: You think the kids would be fine staying home every once in a while.
Coach: You need the kids to stop going on Sunday so they can play on the team.
Jesus: Knocking on the door, you want kids to come to Sunday School to learn about you.

I hope this lesson 'sketch' has given you some ideas about how you can approach this story using several pieces of software and techniques. I tend to mix & match depending on the story, my class size, their ages, and how things are going that day.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Jesus at the Temple

Games Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activity

Focus on the hunt to find Jesus by going on a Scavenger Hunt to find various predetermined objects around the church building. Discuss where we find Jesus today.

A handout is attached at the end of this lesson, with pictures of some common items found in most churches, as well as a picture of Jesus in the Temple from the story Bible used in this lesson. The picture of Jesus from the storybook is purposefully meant to cause some confusion in the students! This leads to discussion!


Passage: Luke 2:41-52


  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Gather the materials.
  • Make copies of the handout (one per student) - see attachment at the end of this lesson

Supply List

  • Markers or pencils/pens
  • Handouts
  • Optional: Art supplies to make their own scavenger hunt for home use.
  • Bibles:
    • For 4-5 year olds and 6-8 year olds: The Big Picture Interactive Storybook Bible
    • For 9-11 year olds: Big Picture Interactive Bible


Lesson Plan


Begin by reading the story of “Jesus at the Temple”

4-5 year olds and 6-8 year olds: Pg. 188 inThe Big Picture Interactive Storybook Bible

9-11 year olds: Big Picture Interactive Bible; Luke 2:41-52

Say:  Mary and Joseph went looking for Jesus when they couldn’t find him.  Today we are going to look for some things too!

(Depending on the size of the class you might want to divide into two groups (one teacher with each group).  Please take a security walkie-talkie with you.)

Begin by explaining the rules and expectations:

  • We must be quiet and respectful of the other people in church and class – we don’t want to disrupt anyone or damage anything!
  • Inside voices – no yelling!
  • Walk slowly and quietly – no running!
  • We must stay together as a group and work together – listen to everyone’s ideas before deciding where to go.
  • Cross items off the list when you find them

Go on the hunt!screen - jesus in temple pix

When kids ask about the picture on the bottom right on the handout, ask them:

What are you looking for exactly?

The Bible?


When you get to this point, in the game direct the children back to the classroom to finish the lesson and debrief.


How did you know where to find the things on the list?
How do you know where something belongs?
Why didn’t Mary and Joseph know where Jesus was?
I wonder what they thought when they found him in the temple?
Where is Jesus today?
How do we look for him?
How can we find him? What does the Bible say?
Is he only in church? In the Bible? In our hearts?

If the scavenger hunt was especially inspiring perhaps the children will want to create their own for their siblings or parents.

  • They can use basic art supplies to create a version to use at home
  • Make sure to include Jesus… where can you find him in your home?? Where does he belong?



A lesson written by Kristin Engel from:
Citylight Benson Church, Omaha, NE

Printed from

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.


Images (1)
  • Jesus in temple picture
Files (1)
Scavenger Hunt
Last edited by CreativeCarol

The story of Jesus in the Temple as a boy is one of the terrific presentations found in the SunScool Bible App for Kids.

Look for it under "Early Life of Christ" when you select either Level 1 or 2 in the app.

  • B1-2: Growing up in Nazareth
    Luke 2:39-52

The App is free, ecumenical, and can be downloaded for use on tablets, smartphones, Windows, and Mac!    Get the download link and look up the story you need in our Outline of all 170+ stories in SunScool. That page also includes app helps.

SunScool Bible App for Kids

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