Preparing For Eternity The Story of Jesus


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The Story of Jesus

 

 

Chapter 5

Child Life of Jesus

 JESUS in His childhood lived in a little mountain village. He was the Son of God, and He might have had any place on earth for His home.

He would have been an honor to any place. But He did not go to the homes of rich men or the palaces of kings. He chose to dwell among the poor in Nazareth.

Jesus wants the poor to know that He understands their trials. He has borne all that they have to bear. He can sympathize with them and help them.

Of Jesus in His early years the Bible says, "The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him." "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." Luke 2:40,52.

His mind was bright and active. He was of quick understanding, and showed a thoughtfulness and wisdom beyond His years. Yet His ways were simple and childlike, and He grew in mind and body as other children grow.

But Jesus was not in all things like other children. He

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always showed a sweet, unselfish spirit. His willing hands were always ready to serve others. He was patient and truthful.

Firm as a rock in standing for the right, He never failed to be gentle and courteous toward all. In His home, and wherever He might be, He was like a cheerful sunbeam.

He was thoughtful and kind toward the aged and the poor, and He showed kindness even to the dumb animals. He would care tenderly for a little wounded bird, and every living thing was happier when He was near.

In the days of Christ the Jews gave much care to the education of their children. Their schools were connected with the synagogues, or places of worship, and the teachers were called rabbis, men who were supposed to be very learned.

Jesus did not go to these schools, for they taught many things that were not true. Instead of God's Word, the sayings of men were studied, and often these were contrary to that which God had taught through His prophets.

God Himself by His Holy Spirit instructed Mary how to bring up His Son. Mary taught Jesus from the Holy Scriptures, and He learned to read and study them for Himself.

Jesus also loved to study the wonderful things which God had made, in the earth and in the sky. In this book of nature He saw the trees and plants and animals, and the sun and the stars.

Day by day He watched them, and tried to learn lessons from them, and to understand the reason of things.

Holy angels were with Him, and helped Him to learn from these things about God. Thus, as He grew in height and strength, He grew also in knowledge and wisdom.

Every child may gain knowledge as Jesus did. We

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should spend our time in learning only that which is true. Falsehood and fables will do us no good.

Only the truth is of any value, and this we may learn from God's Word and from His works. As we study these things the angels will help us to understand.

We shall see the wisdom and goodness of our heavenly Father. Our minds will be strengthened, our hearts will be made pure, and we shall be more like Christ.

Every year Joseph and Mary went up to Jerusalem, to the feast of the Passover. When Jesus was twelve years old, they took Him with them.

This was a pleasant journey. The people traveled on foot, or rode on oxen or asses, and it took several days to go. The distance from Nazareth to Jerusalem is about seventy miles. From all parts of the land, and even from other countries, the people went to this feast, and those from the same place usually traveled together, in a large company.

The feast was held near the close of March or the beginning of April. This was springtime in Palestine, and the whole land was bright with flowers, and glad with the song of birds.

As they traveled, parents told their children of the wonderful things that God had done for Israel in ages past. And often they sang together some of the beautiful psalms of David.

In the days of Christ the people had grown cold and formal in their service to God. They thought more of their own pleasure than of His goodness to them.

But it was not so with Jesus. He loved to think about God. As He came to the temple, He watched the priests

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in their work. He bowed with the worshipers as they knelt to pray, and His voice joined in the songs of praise.

Every morning and evening a lamb was offered upon the altar. This was to represent the death of the Saviour. As the child Jesus looked upon the innocent victim, the Holy Spirit taught Him its meaning. He knew that He Himself, as the Lamb of God, must die for the sins of men.

With such thoughts in His mind, Jesus wanted to be alone. So He did not stay with His parents in the temple, and when they started for home He was not with them.

In a room connected with the temple there was a school taught by the rabbis, and to this place after a while the child Jesus came. He sat with the other youth at the feet of the great teachers, and listened to their words.

The Jews had many wrong ideas about the Messiah. Jesus knew this, but He did not contradict the learned men. As one who wished to be taught, He asked questions about what the prophets had written.

The fifty-third chapter of Isaiah speaks of the Saviour's death, and Jesus read this chapter, and asked its meaning.

The rabbis could give no answer. They began to question Jesus, and they were astonished at His knowledge of the Scriptures.

They saw that He understood the Bible far better than they did. They saw that their teaching was wrong, but they were not willing to believe anything different.

Yet Jesus was so modest and gentle that they were not angry with Him. They wanted to keep Him as a student, and teach Him to explain the Bible as they did.

When Joseph and Mary left Jerusalem on their journey

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toward home, they did not notice that Jesus stayed behind. They thought that He was with some of their friends in the company.

But on stopping to camp for the night, they missed His helpful hand. They looked for Him throughout the company, but in vain.

Joseph and Mary were in great fear. They remembered how Herod had tried to kill Jesus in His infancy, and they were afraid that some evil had now befallen Him.

With sorrowful hearts they hastened back to Jerusalem; but it was not till the third day that they found Him.

Great was their joy at seeing Him again, yet Mary thought that He was to blame for leaving them. She said:

"Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? Behold, Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing."

"How is it that ye sought Me?" Jesus answered. "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" Luke 2:48, 49.

As He spoke these words, Jesus pointed upward. On His face was a light at which they wondered. Jesus knew that He was the Son of God, and He had been doing the work for which His Father had sent Him into the world.

Mary never forgot these words. In the years that followed, she better understood their wonderful meaning.

Joseph and Mary loved Jesus, yet they had been careless in losing Him. They had forgotten the very work which God had given them to do. By one day's neglect they lost Jesus.

In the same way today many lose the Saviour from their company. When we do not love to think about Him, or pray to Him; when we speak idle, unkind, or evil words,

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we separate ourselves from Christ. Without Him, we are lonely and sad.

But if we really desire His company, He will always be with us. With all who seek His presence, the Saviour loves to stay. He will brighten the poorest home, and gladden the lowliest heart.

Though He knew that He was the Son of God, Jesus went home to Nazareth with Joseph and Mary. Until thirty years of age He was "subject unto them." Luke 2:51.

He who had been the Commander of Heaven was on earth a loving and obedient son. The great things brought to His mind by the service of the temple were hidden in His heart. He waited until God's time to begin His appointed work.

Jesus lived in the home of a peasant, a poor man. Faithfully and cheerfully He did His part in helping to support the family. As soon as He was old enough, He learned a trade, and worked in the carpenter's shop with Joseph.

In the coarse dress of a common laborer He passed through the streets of the little town, going to and from His work. He did not use His divine power to make His life easier for Himself.

As Jesus worked in childhood and youth, He grew strong in body and mind. He tried to use all His powers in such a way as to keep them in health, that He might do the best work in every line.

Whatever He did was done well. He wanted to be perfect, even in the handling of tools. By His example He taught that we ought to be industrious, that we should do our work carefully and well, and that such work is honorable.

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All should find something to do that will be helpful to themselves and to others.

God gave us work as a blessing, and He is pleased with children who cheerfully take their part in the duties of the household, sharing the burdens of father and mother. Such children will go out from the home to be a blessing to others.

The youth who try to please God in all that they do, who do right because it is right, will be useful in the world. By being faithful in a humble place they are fitting themselves for a higher position.

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