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.
1901 ASV Translation:
41 And his parents went every year to Jerusalem at the feast of the passover.
42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up after the custom of the feast;
I. Luke's Statement About Passover.
A. Of the 27 references to Passover in the New Testament, only three are outside the Gospels, and of those other twenty-four, only four are references to a "Passover" that was not the one at which time Jesus was crucified.
1. John's Gospel refers to the Passover three times before he records the Passover in which Jesus was put to death.
2. Luke's only reference to a Passover that was not the one in which Jesus died is the one before us in this study.
3. Twenty times we are told that Jesus died at Passover...indicating the extremely crucial doctrine of Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36).
a. It is impossible to even say the word "Passover" within a biblical context and not conjure up the images and significance of the original events of the powerful and deadly deliverance of Israel from Egypt.
b. From the time of the sacrifice of Abel it has been known that God is fixated upon man's understanding of his standing under the blood of another.
B. Luke's solitary reference in his Gospel regarding a Passover that was not the one in which Jesus died is significant.
1. This reference is a harbinger of things to come.
a. It appears to be an innocuous reference, but is not.
1) There are no "extraneous" words in divine revelation.
2) This event is the beginning of the evidence that the Child is proving to be all that the prophecies had claimed.
b. That Jesus was to make another trip to Jerusalem at a Passover for the express purpose of accomplishing the redemption of Jerusalem has its roots in this trip.
2. This reference focuses upon the Child's commitment to the Father's Plan.
C. That it was Passover when the event that is recorded took place is significant in light of the fact that there were two other feasts of the Jews which summoned people from their outlying residences to Jerusalem (Tabernacles and Pentecost).
1. This puts Anna's reference to "redemption" on the front burner.
a. Jesus "tabernacled" among us as John 1:12 actually says.
b. When the day of Pentecost was fully come, the Holy Breath of God descended to empower the witness of Jesus as Acts 1:8 says.
c. And, though the days for observing the Passover differed by reason of some geographical and cultural realities (Jesus actually participated in a Passover on the evening He was betrayed, but was put to death at the hour when the lambs of Passover were being put to death), this central feast was the core of the Divine Plan that made the "tabernacling" effective and made the Holy Breath possible.
2. This also puts Jesus' reference to the Father's "business" (literally, "things") into the crucial light of the bloody death of Calvary. It is unlikely that Jesus, in his amazing wisdom as a youth of twelve years, did not know that the Father's Plan was His death.
II. The "Parents" of Jesus.
A. The word is consistently translated "parents".
B. It is, apparently, derived from the primary verb that signals the coming of a thing/person into historical being. Parents are those directly linked to the "coming into being" of their children.
C. There is no confusion here in respect to the fact that Joseph was not Jesus' "father". It is impossible for a reader to have read Luke's account and think that there was any confusion of this issue.
D. Thus, the "issue" of "parents" has to do with the fundamental issue of "who" sets the patterns and expectations for the activities of the "children".
1. It was "according to the standard of the year" that the parents went up to Jerusalem.
a. Joseph and Mary are already cast in the mold of those who observe the Law.
b. They habitually went to Jerusalem every year and had been doing so both before and after this account.
2. As the parents, they set the pattern and expectations of behavior...but as the parents, they were the earthly shadow of the Father of the Child...Whose expectations of the Child were profoundly deadly as the way of "Life".
III. The "Coming" of Jesus to the Age of Twelve.
A. It is obvious that the family had been going to Jerusalem for the feast days for all the years of Jesus' life; thus, it is significant that Jesus selected His twelfth year to make His statement.
B. Twelve is either a pattern of double sixes, triple fours, quadruple threes, or six twos.
1. Numerical issues are highlighted by Jesus' "coming" to twelve.
a. Six is the number of Man (Triple sixes is the number of antichrist).
b. Four is the number of representation (the City has four walls and four times three sets of foundation stones).
c. Three is the number of completeness (the third time is the charm and all that has "three" is complete in its essence).
d. Two is the number of contrast (It takes a double set of twos to present the glory of God in contrasts -- King/Servant; Deity/Humanity; it takes four issues to solve three temptations; it takes a complete set  of twos to make the number of man ). [Unity, Contrast, Completeness, Double Contrast, Prime Five (an unsettled contrast [incomplete]), Triple Contrast/Double Completeness, Prime Seven, Quadruple Contrast, Triple Completeness, Double Unsettled Contrast, Prime Eleven, Triple Double Contrast/Completeness in Double Contrast, Prime Thirteen.]
e. The issue of Jesus' actions at age twelve seems to be that He had been through the "cycles of the years" enough times to have a complete representation of what He was to ultimately be like.
2. It is significant that before Jesus became a "son of the covenant" at age thirteen, he was in Jerusalem giving evidence that the grace of God that was upon Him was producing the wisdom and strength for Him to be our Redeemer.