24. St. Peter and Paul Church, East Harling, East window, Boy Jesus in the Temple, 1480.
When the Passover caravan leaves Jerusalem following the culmination of the feast, Jesus is not among them.  Much to the surprise of his parents, Jesus has stayed in the temple, surrounded by teachers who answer his questions, amazed at the way he completely understands them.  After three days of worrying and frantically searching for their son, Joseph and Mary find him in the temple with the elders.  When Mary vocalizes the agony she and Joseph have endured while searching for their son, Jesus replies, “Why were you looking for me?  Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49)
     Although Jesus obeys his parents and returns to Nazareth with them, he has acquired a new understanding of parental terminology.  Retaining the bond between mother and child cemented in the scenes leading up to the discovery in the temple, Jesus gazes not on the elders, but upon his mother, pleading her agony from below.  Joseph is not present in this scene.  His role as father has clearly been superseded as Jesus addresses his divine sonship for the first time.  Knowledge gained in the temple has elevated his sense of parental obedience to his heavenly father, taking precedence over Joseph.  The relationship between mother and child, on the other hand, remains unaltered.  The prevailing object of the child’s gaze is his mother.