Stained Glass banner image

Featured Window

Window of the Month
Our Lady of Grace, Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Click any image to enlarge.


Building Name: Third Reformed Church

City: Holland

Window Shape: 2 (rectangle)

Subject/Title of Window: Boy Christ in Temple

Brief Description of Subject: Luke 2:46, 47 And it came to pass that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.

The above verses give us the biblical background for the fifth art glass window. The Boy Christ in the Temple. This account given in St. Luke Gospel is the only one we have of this particular incident. In fact, it is the only authoritative glimpse we have of Jesus from the time of his infancy to the beginning of his public ministry. These thirty years are summarized for us, again by St. Luke in these words, And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:52)
Most of us have known this story of Jesus visit to Jerusalem since childhood. At the age of twelve, when Jewish boys are formally received as adult members of the congregation, Jesus went to his parents to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. When the time came for the return, Jesus was left behind and it wasn’t until three worrisome fays set of circumstance by which he should have been left in Jerusalem would only lead us astray this morning. For our purpose it is sufficient to say that because he was left behind he had an unparalleled opportunity to talk with some of the leading teachers of the day.

Not all artists have painted this scene on that basis. Some have injected into their painting that very definite animosity which later developed. One such is by Holman Hunt who catches the scene just as Jesus’s parents come to take their son home. The artist portrays Jesus standing before the doctors and huis partner are peering in at the door. Again the story is the same, animosity and hatred already flaming. These pictures have a great message, for they set forth the great gulf which would become evident in later years between the narrow legalism of the Pharisees and the teaching of Jesus.
Our window does not have any such evident hostility between Jesus and the rabbis. Most of us recognize the figures portrayed there as a close reproduction of the Hoffman’s very famous picture. Christ Among the Doctors. The one great difference between our windows and the painting by Hoffman is that in the painting there are five rabbis while it is followed here rather than some other representation because I believe it is more to the actual biblical scene.

The scene is the temple. As a background as a background we find the great pillars of that ornate structure AS a background we find the lights which gave light to the scholars. Above hangs one of the chandeliers which gave light to scholars who lived and taught here. Jesus is standing next to the lectern which perhaps had been used for years on to succeeding generation of scholars. The robes of the rabbis give the same impression of wealth and power and learning. The picture is that of religion as the Jews knew it and saw it in their day. In the very heart of that picture stands Jesus Christ robed in the white garments of purity and innocence light and joy. Who can fail to grasp the very evident contrast and message which says to use that Jesus Christ must stand at the very center of our organized religious life? Because those men in that day finally rejected this Light, the Spirit, this Word, this new Vitality, therefore their temple would be destroyed, their culture lost and their people scattered.
This grouping of four men gives us the message of the picture. Organized religion may have its temples and its ritual and its organization but essentially it is men, individuals who lead and control the thinking and religious life of the people. Jesus is day. There is a twofold message for us: first that when Jesus speaks to the church He speaks to us as individuals who lead and control the thinking and religious life of the people. Jesus speaks to the church. He speaks to us as individuals not to some vague idea or institution and second that He alone can give light and life to the organized life of the church.

The symbols, when considered together, lead to the same truth, that in the presence of Jesus Christ lies the light and life and hope of all religious life. One fact and one alone will keep alive the entrenched and traditional forms of religion, its theology and its worship and its work, and that fact is Jesus Christ and his eternal presence of power.

Boy Christ in Temple
Boy Christ in Temple

The MSGC is a constantly evolving database. Not all the data that has been collected by volunteers has been sorted and entered. Not every building has been completely documented.

All images in the Index are either born-digital photographs of windows or buildings or are scans of slides, prints, or other published sources. These images have been provided by volunteers and the quality of the material varies widely.

If you have any questions, additions or corrections, or think you can provide better images and are willing to share them, please contact