The four Gospels, written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, tell of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. That of Matthew traces Him from His birth through the short sojourn in Egypt, then back to Nazareth, still as a baby; He next appears in this Gospel in Chapter 3, at the time of His baptism just before His 40 days of temptation at the beginning of His ministry. In Mark, the baptism, temptations and the beginning of His ministry are all in chapter 1. In John, as in Mark, His childhood is not covered, and chapter 1 covers His baptism and the beginning of His ministry.
In Luke, we have more details given; chapters 2 and 3 trace Him from the return to Nazareth through His baptism, temptations and the beginning of His ministry, which 3-23 tells us occurred at the age of 30 years. Luke 2:41-52 traces Him on one visit to Jerusalem when He was 12 years old; but all four Gospels are silent on the 18 years between His 12th and 30th years. Where was He, and what was He doing during those years? It can be well demonstrated that He was absent from Palestine for at least most of this period. Let us trace this absence.
Luke 1:36 tells us that Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist, was a cousin of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. There was a very close, friendly relation between the two families; for immediately after Mary was told by the angel that she was to bear Jesus, she went to the home of her cousin, Elizabeth, and stayed In Elizabeth’s home for about 3 months, see Luke 1:39-56. It is only natural that this close friendship would endure through the years thereafter.