Commentary: Origen of Alexandria       (183-253 CE)


His parents found Jesus in the temple, sitting among the doctors [that is the scholars], listening to them.

When Jesus was twelve years old, he stayed behind in Jerusalem. Not knowing this, his parents sought him anxiously, but did not find him. Though they searched the whole caravan, looking for him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances, he was nowhere to be found.

It was his own parents who were looking for him‚ the father who had brought him up and cared for him when they fled into Egypt‚ and even they did not find him at once. This shows that Jesus is not found among relatives and acquaintances, nor among those bound to him by physical ties. We do not find him in a crowd. Let us learn where it was that Joseph and Mary discovered him; then in their company we too shall be able to find him.

They found him, scripture says, in the temple. Not just anywhere, but in the temple; and not just anywhere in the temple, but among the doctors, listening to them and asking them questions. And so we too must look for Jesus in the temple of God; we must look for him in the Church, among the doctors who belong to the Church and are faithful to its teaching. If we seek him there, we shall find him. Moreover, anyone who claims to be a doctor without possessing Christ is a doctor in name only; Jesus, the Word and Wisdom of God, will not be found with him.