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JESUS the boy...

JERUSALEM: Today let us break this all-politics and world's current affairs reporting by pondering on the life of a greatest Man ever alive, JESUS...

Jesus was to live in Nazareth until He was about thirty years old, and this is why, although He was born in Bethlehem, He is often known as Jesus of Nazareth.  The Bible tells us that He “increased in wisdom and stature; and in favor with God and man.”  In other words, He grew not only in height but also in wisdom, knowledge and learning with God’s blessing; the people loved him and respected Him.

As a boy, He would help Mary in he everyday tasks of their humble home and also worked with Joseph in making articles of wood in their carpentry shop.  There, He would become skilled worker in wood, learning to make roofs, doors, beds, chests, tables and chairs.  Carpenters also made agricultural implements, such as plows, yokes and threshing instruments, so there would be plenty to keep the boy Jesus busy in the small farming community.

He would also be taught in the local synagogue by the rabbi or scribes, where He would learn about the Jewish law.  There would be no books and education consisted chiefly of repeating words so learning the facts by heart.  Every Sabbath, He would attend the synagogue for worship.  And when He grew up, He would read aloud the scriptures there as would Joseph and all the other boys and their fathers.

Jesus on the Jerusalem

In his free time, He probably wandered about the countryside, where many of the things He saw, he remembered and used later in His teaching when He grew up and told people stories or parables about the familiar things of life---cornfield, sowers, vineyards, sheep and shepherds.  His own knowledge made the stories very real and appealing to His listeners and helped them to see how the stories made sense in their own lives and dealt with their common problems.

Every year, Mary and Joseph used to journey to Jerusalem to join with hundreds of other pilgrims who flocked there from all over Palestine to celebrate the Passover.

When a Jewish boy as twelve years of age, he had to undergo preparation to become an adult in the religious community in order to take his full part in the religious life of the village.  He would then become what was known as a “son of the law” and be expected to obey its rules.  From that time onward, he would no longer be looked upon as a child but would be considered as a full member of the Jewish church.

So, when Jesus was twelve, Mary and Joseph decided that the time had come for Him to go with them on their visit to the festival at Jerusalem.  Because of all that it meant, it would be like very special visit for Jesus.

Jesus with the rabbi

People from the same town or village would often make the journey together, walking along the rough highways and sleeping out at nights on the way.  They traveled in groups for safety for there were robbers and other possible dangers.  It was a long journey and they would be on the road for several days.  The young boys would find it a very exciting adventure and would be thrilled when they saw Jerusalem for the first time.  They would then take part in ceremonies which they would remember all their lives.

When the festival was over, the people started to walk back home again.  But on this particular occasion, Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem and did not set off back with His parents, although they did not realize this.  No doubt, they thought He was somewhere in the great company of people walking back---perhaps with relatives or friends or with other boys of His own age, racing on ahead or stopping to explore.

After they had been walking for a day, they made an evening halt and it was then that Mary and Joseph found that Jesus was nowhere to be seen in the company.  Where could my son Jesus be?  Anxiously, they asked around among the other travelers, but no one could recall seeing Him that day.  Mary and Joseph became very worried and decided that the best thing to do was to retrace their steps to Jerusalem, in the hope that they would find him on the way.

Jesus with the Scribes

The next day, they set off back to the city, asking everyone they met whether they had seen Jesus, but no one could help them.  At last, they reached Jerusalem itself and began looking in the city.  It was now three days since they had started out on the homeward journey.  After much worried searching, they finally found Jesus in the temple itself.  He was sitting with a group of Jewish teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.  The teachers were amazed at Jesus’ understanding and at His intelligent questions and answers.
and Joseph, too, were astonished when they discovered where Jesus was and what He was doing.  Mary said to Him, “My son, why did you stay behind like this?  Why is it that you have treated us this so?  We have been most worried trying to find you.”

Jesus was surprised---not that they had come back for Him, but at their not knowing where He would be.  He had thought they would have known He would be in the temple.  “Why did you need to look for me?” He asked.  “Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house and about My Father’s business?”

By His “Father”, He meant God; for even at the early age, He understood His special relationship with God the Father.

Mary and Joseph did not fully understand His answer, but Jesus then went back to Nazareth with them, and was obedient to them, thus showing His love and respect for them both.

Mary thought deeply about what had happened.  She remembered the words of the Angel Gabriel before Jesus was born, that her child was to be the Son of God; and also how the aged Simeon in the temple had called Jesus “the Savior”.  She must have wondered what the future God had in store to Jesus.

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