JESUS' BOYHOOD DAYS
[Luke:2:40-52]; [Mark:6:1-6]; [John:7:14-16].
“The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1:17).
I Jesus' Trip to the Passover with His Parents
1. His growth, as a child, in the wisdom and grace of God, [Luke:2:40]; [John:1:14], [John:1:17].
2. The custom of His parents to attend the Passover in obedience, to the Law, [Luke:2:41]; [Exodus:12:23-24].
3. His visit to the feast at Jerusalem, at the age of twelve, [Luke:2:42]; [Exodus:34:23].
II Jesus' Appearance before the Doctors of the Law
1. The Child missed by His parents while returning home to Nazareth, [Luke:2:43-45].
2. Found in the temple hearing and asking questions of the doctors, [Luke:2:46]; [Isaiah:11:2].
3. The astonishment of all at His wisdom and understanding, [Luke:2:47]; [Matthew:13:54].
III Jesus' Imperative Call as a Boy to His Mission
1. The mild rebuke of His mother for His remaining in the city, [Luke:2:48].
2. Jesus' reply that He must be about His Father's business, [Luke:2:49]; [Mark:3:35]; [John:9:4].
3. His reply not understood. His growth in wisdom and stature, [Luke:2:50-52]; [Proverbs:3:13].
IV Jesus' Occupation before His Ministry Began
1. Jesus not schooled in the "learning" of the scribes and Pharisees, [John:7:14-16].
2. The people astonished at His wisdom and mighty works, [Mark:6:1-2; [Matthew:8:27].
3. Their remembrance of His former trade -- to them, just a carpenter, [Mark:6:3-6].
The Gospels of Matthew and Luke tell us much about Jesus' birth and infancy, a story which has hallowed the Christmas season and has become endeared to every Christian's heart. And well it may; for the birth of Jesus, marking the dawn of a new dispensation, was announced from Heaven by an angelic host that memorable night.
We are not told very much about Jesus' boyhood. The only incident of His boyhood days recorded in the Bible is the account of His appearance in the Temple before the doctors of the law. And there are a few references after Jesus began His ministry, which hark back to His earlier days. But even these details, though few, are precious; for everything we learn about Jesus endears Him the more to our hearts.
Jesus' first advent into this world was at a time when Israel was woefully backslidden, from the high priest down. But there were some who still feared God, and among them were Joseph and Mary, Jesus' parents, who faithfully observed God's commandments, and went up to Jerusalem annually to attend the feast of the Passover. Jesus, therefore grew up in a godly home, and was taken by His parents at the age of twelve to the Passover. And as the parents were returning to their home in Nazareth, they discovered after a day's journey that Jesus was not in their company, for He had tarried at Jerusalem. Concerned over His absence they retraced their steps to the city, and at length found Him in the Temple among the doctors of the law, "hearing them, and asking them questions."
Luke's account of this scene in the Temple is brief, but it reveals to us much about Jesus. Many of the Jews saw nothing more in Him than just "the carpenter's son," even though wonderful happenings had attended His birth. But Mary had pondered these things in her heart, and well she knew that Jesus was more than just her son. Amazed, however, at finding Him in the Temple, she attempted a mild rebuke: "Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing." And there is a depth of meaning in that Boy's reply, ”wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"
This answer reveals that Jesus, even at the age of twelve, had heard a solemn call from Heaven to the mission for which He was sent into the world. "I must be about my Father's business." Wonderful meaning in those words! More important to Him was this call than any duty to father, mother, or home, although He was subject to His earthly father and mother, for we read in Luke:2:51, "He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them." This brings to mind that profound passage of Scripture about Jesus in the Epistle to the Hebrews: "Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God."
This stirring scene of the Boy Jesus in the Temple ought to mean more to us than just an interesting story. Jesus taught throughout His ministry that an urgent call also devolved upon every true disciple of His. And any Christian who allows a home, or family, or business to take precedence over God has missed the mark as a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. When God speaks it is time to hearken to His voice.
Another beautiful and wonderful truth is revealed in this narrative. We are not told much in the Bible about Jesus' schooling. He may have attended some school in Nazareth with other children, and He, without doubt, was rehearsed in the Law of Moses at home; for it was the duty of the Israelites to teach this Law to their children, even as it is the duty of Christian parents today to teach their children the precepts and commandments of Jesus. But it is certain that Jesus was not formally schooled, like Paul, in the "leaning" of the scribes and Pharisees, for these doctors of the law looked down upon the Galileans, among whom Jesus dwelt, as illiterate and unlearned. But when this Boy of twelve appeared in the Temple and began to converse with these same doctors, they were all astounded -- whence hath this boy wisdom? Even during His ministry the Jews marveled: "How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?" "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon?"
Too blinded by sin were they to know that they were looking upon One Who was more than a man. Little they knew that His wisdom and understanding came from a higher source than any Jewish school, or even from the Sanhedrin. "It is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent." Even though they heard His wisdom and witnessed His mighty works, they knew not that they were looking upon the Son of God, the promised Messiah, the Redeemer of men, the Saviour of the world. Had they known it they never would have crucified Him. "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”
1. Where did Jesus spend His boyhood?
2. Who were His father and mother, and brothers and sisters?
3. What was His occupation as a boy and a young man?
4. What kind of education did He receive in His home?
5. Is there any evidence in the Bible that He received an advanced education like the Apostle Paul?
6. How then are we to account for the "wisdom and understanding" which He revealed at the age of twelve in the Temple?
7. What caused Him to tarry in Jerusalem when His father and mother departed on their way home?
8. What teaching do you gather from Jesus’ reply to His mother, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"
9. What was the attitude, in regard to learning, of those doctors of the law toward the Galileans among whom Jesus dwelt?