The Temple precincts were the center of Jewish teaching. The word “teachers” (or, “doctors” in KJ)
is commonly used to translate the Greek word “didaskalos.” In Luke 2:46 “didaskalos” refers to the Jewish scribes and rabbis who were members of the Sanhedrin that would leave the chambers of their Temple Mount courtroom on Jewish Feast days to teach the visiting pilgrims in the open
The method of teaching used by the rabbis in the Temple courts included the question-and-answer style, which involved responding to the student’s questions with another question. Thus, the
scribes and rabbis were impressed with Jesus’ responses to their counter questions they
used in response to Jesus’ original questions.
Luke uses the word “amazed” to describe how the leading teachers of this generation responded
to Jesus’ understanding at the age of twelve. “Amazed” is the word “existanto” which is defined
in BAGD as "be amazed, be astonished, of the feeling of astonishment mingled with fear, and
caused by events which are miraculous, extraordinary, or difficult to understand."
“Understanding” is “sunesis” and refers to intelligence and sharp comprehensive ability.
It is probable that this was not the only time Jesus would sit among the teachers in the Temple
courts when his family visited Jerusalem for the feasts of Israel. Between the ages of 12-30
Jesus would have worshipped in the Temple for Passover and at other times. Since the scribes, Pharisees, rabbis or teachers of the Law were “amazed” (Greek “existanto”) by Jesus when
he was twelve years old it is easy to imagine that eighteen years later they would have
remembered Jesus, or even known him if he had frequented the Temple when he visited annually
from Galilee. One wonders what some of these scholars thought when eighteen years later Jesus entered these courts and overturned the tables of the money changers or when, three years after
that, he defeated them in Temple Mount debates after Palm Sunday the last week of his life.