Comic Translation of Luke 2:41-52
The following script is based on the translation in Part I. It is written in two formats. Pages 1 and 2 are written in a plot format which describes the story in paragraph form. Pages 3 and 4 are written in a panel by panel description of the story. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each format? Which would you use?
Background: This is a transition scene in Luke’s gospel. It comes between the birth of Jesus and the coming of John the Baptist who prepares the way for the coming of Christ. In this passage, Jesus is 12 years old, on the cusp of becoming an adult in the eyes of his Jewish community, but still a boy. The scene is 1st century Jerusalem during the Passover Festival. Jesus’ parents traveled every year to Jerusalem for the Passover, but the text sounds like this may be Jesus first trip to Jerusalem for the feast. You can imagine what it is like to travel from the small, very rural village Nazareth up North, to Jerusalem- a big city, packed with people from all around the Mediterranean who are there for the Feast. I imagine that he is filled with awe and wonder as he takes it all in, and as he steps out into this broader world, gets lost in the experience.
It is an important transition, in a couple of ways. It shows Jesus growing into maturity, and becoming aware of his identity and his purpose. It also foreshadows an important theme that emerges in his story- the experience of being lost and found. In Luke Chapter 15, Jesus tells three stories of lost and found (the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son.) And later, he identifies his mission saying “The son of man came to seek out and save the lost.” (Luke 19:10.)For this reason, I choose to emphasize the experience of losing something important, and searching everywhere until it is found.
“Every year Jesus’ parents would travel to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover.”
The scene opens with the view of pilgrims travelling into Jerusalem. They travel in groups complete with animals for carrying supplies as well as animals to offer for the sacrifice. The city is crowded with people, and the Temple is in the background.
“When Jesus became twelve years old, they went up as was the custom of the feast.”
The story focuses on Jesus, young, but showing signs of growth. To give the scene a little context, let’s show Jesus walking around and experiencing the Feast in Jerusalem. You may want to show him eating a Passover meal, or showing affection for one of the lambs which will be offered up at the temple. This can be a couple of scenes in sequence, a montage or a vignette. The impression of this scene is of awe and wonder, and we should feel like we are with him in the discovery. Jesus parents are in the background, but seem content to let him explore in the company of his friends.
“Now when they had fulfilled the days, they returned.”
Show Mary and Joseph leaving Jerusalem in a caravan. Perhaps show other children Jesus’ age in the crowd.
“But the boy Jesus remained in Jerusalem, though his parents did not know it.”
Show Jesus wandering in Jerusalem, heading toward the Temple, almost as if he is drawn to it.
Meanwhile, on the road again, Mary and Joseph have travelled a day’s journey north from Jerusalem, when they realize that Jesus is not with them. They look in the expected places, among family and neighbors who travelled with them on the journey, but do not find him. Here we focus on the emotions of the parents. At first they may be wondering where Jesus is, but because they think they know the answer, they are not as concerned. When they search and do not find him, there is the moment of dreaded realization that he is lost. We are told later that it causes them pain. (No doubt!) Joseph and Mary leave the group, and begin the trip back to Jerusalem.
(Note- the text says that it is three days till they find Jesus. Most scholars say that Day one is the day spent traveling from Jerusalem and the discovery that Jesus is missing. Day two is the return back to Jerusalem, and Day three is when they find Jesus in Jerusalem.)
The journey back to Jerusalem, on the road. The sun is setting, and they still have time to go before they get to Jerusalem.
The next morning, arriving in Jerusalem, they begin the search for Jesus. The Temple is in the background.
Meanwhile, Jesus is in the Temple, sitting in the middle of a group of teachers. He is listening to what they are saying and engaged in the conversation.
A closer view as Jesus responds with a question that shows genuine wisdom and insight, and amazes the teachers.
Panel 5: A view of Jesus in the foreground, with the teachers focused on him. In the background we see Jesus’ parents as they stand in the door, probably catching their breath.
Panel 6: Close up view of the parents, expressions of amazement, relief, and yet somewhat stunned by the whole experience.
We focus on the interaction of Jesus and his parents. Mary is probably still full of adrenaline from searching everywhere for Jesus, and she says to him,
Mary: “ Child, how could you do this to us?!? Can’t you see how distressed your father and I are? We have looked for you everywhere!”
Jesus responds to Mary , calmly pointing to his surrounding…
Jesus: “ Why were you looking for me? Don’t you know I must be in my Father’s things?”
Jesus goes with his parents, leaving the teachers behind.
Narrator: “But they did not understand the word he said to them.”
Jesus returns with his parents to Nazareth.
Narrator: And he went down with them and returned to Nazareth. And he was obedient to them.
A shift in perspective- we see Jesus through his mother’s eye’s, watching him grow. Mary looks reflectively at him as Jesus goes back to life at home. He could be working in the carpenter shop with Joseph, or fishing, or working in a wheat field, or studying. It’s an appropriate place to think about the kind of daily experiences that work their way into Jesus’ later teaching and ministry.
Narrator: “His mother kept all of these matters carefully in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and age and grace before God and human beings.”