Nazareth and Trip to Jerusalem



1. Students should identify Nazareth as the childhood home of Jesus and locate it on a map.

2. Students should be able to relate the story of the trip to Jerusalem and Jesus talking with the elders in the Temple.

3. Students should be able to identify the words – high priest, priest, Levite, Sanhedrin, rabbi, scribe, Pharisee, Sadducee, Zealot, temple, synagogue – and know the role of each.


Possible Lesson Plan:

1. Open with prayer.


2. Scripture reading: Luke 2:40-52. Why did the family come back from Egypt? Why did they settle in Nazareth instead of returning to Bethlehem?


3. Historical background: It is important to recognize and understand the roles of the various religious places and groups if one is to understand both the trip to Jerusalem and Jesus’s later ministry. See if the students already know any of these important people and places and help them to understand them better:

  • Temple: There was only one temple, in Jerusalem. There was the Ark of the Covenant and sacrifices were offered. People who lived far away would try to make a pilgrimage to the Temple at least once in their lives.
  • Synagogue: Each town had its synagogue, where on Sabbath the people came to listen to the Scriptures being read.  The synagogue was also the local school. But no sacrifices could be offered here; there were no priests.
  • Priest: Priests, descendants of Aaron (Remember the story of the rod that budded?), offered sacrifices in the Temple. The High Priest entered the Holy of Holies once a year to sacrifice for all the people.
  • Levites: One of the twelve tribes of Israel (Remember the brothers of Joseph; one was Levi). Instead of receiving land, the Levites served in the Temple with the priests.
  • Sanhedrin: The Jewish Supreme Court, composed of the high priest, all previous high priests, all the heads of the tribes and heads of the political parties – 71 in all.
  • Rabbi: A local teacher who served to read and explain the Scriptures.
  • Scribe: Those who copied the Scriptures as the scrolls wore out and set down rules for every occasion from the books of the law.
  • Pharisee: Synagogue leaders who carefully studied and obeyed the Law.
  • Sadducees: Rich landowners who supported the Roman rulers and were not interested in changing the government.
  • Zealots: Rebels who hated the Romans and thought the Messiah would come as a fierce warrior king to oust the Romans and return Israel to the Jews.
  • Gentiles: All of the people of the world who are not Jewish. 


4. Play a learning game: Pictionary. Write the words defined above on pieces of paper. Have the first player choose a word and draw it, with the rest of the class guessing the identity. Play then passes to the next student until all words are identified.


5. Add to your time line as before.


6. Close with prayer.