Story Four

THE BOY IN HIS FATHER'S HOUSE
JESUS was brought to Năź a-rĕth when he was a little child not more than three years old there he grew up as a boy and a young man; and there he lived until he was thirty years of age. We should like to know many things about his boyhood, but the Bible tells us very little. As Jṓ s̝eph was a workingman, it is likely that he lived in a house with only one room, with no floor except the earth, no' window except a hole in the wall, no pictures upon the walls, and neither bedstead, nor chair, nor looking-glass. They sat upon the floor, or upon cushions; they slept upon rolls of matting; and their meals were taken from a low table, not much larger than a stool.
Jesus may have learned to read at the village school, which was generally held in the house used for worship, called the "synagogue." The lessons were from rolls on which were written parts of the Old Testament; but Je'sus never had a Bible of his own. From the time when he was a child he went with Joseph to the worship in the synagogue twice every week. There they sat on the floor, and heard the Old Testament read and explained; while Mā́ ry̆ and the younger sisters of Jesus listened from a gallery behind a lattice-screen. The Jeẃ ĭsh boys of that time were taught to know almost the whole of the Old Testament by heart.
It was the custom for the Jews from all parts of the land to go up to Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm to worship at least once every year at the feast of the Passover, which was held in the spring. Some families also stayed to the feast of Pentecost, which was fifty days after Passover; and some went again in the fall to the feast of Tabernacles, when for a week all the families slept out of doors under roofs made of green twigs and bushes. When Jesus was a boy twelve years old he was taken up to the feast of the Passover, and then for the first time he saw the holy city Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm and the Temple of the Lord on Mount Mō̇-rī́ ah. Young as he was, his soul was stirred as he walked among the courts of the Temple, and saw the altar with its smoking sacrifice, the priests in their white robes, and the Lḗ vītes with their silver trumpets. Though a boy, Jesus began to feel that he was the Son of God, and that this was his Father's house.
His heart was so filled with the worship of the Temple, with the words of the scribes or teachers whom he heard in the courts, and with his own thoughts, that when it was time to go home to Năź a-rĕth he stayed behind, held fast by his love for the house of the Lord. The company of people who were traveling together was large, and at first he was not missed. But when night came and the boy Jesus could not be found, his mother was alarmed.
The next day Jṓ s̝eph and Mā́ ry̆ left their company and hastened back to Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lem. They did not at first think to go to the Temple. They sought him among their friends' and kindred who were living in the city, but could not find him.
On the third day they went up to the Temple with heavy hearts, still looking for their boy. And there they found him, sitting in a company of the teachers of the law, listening to their words and asking them questions. Everybody who stood near was surprised to find how deep was the knowledge of this boy in the word of the Lord.
His mother spoke to him a little sharply, for she felt that her son had not been thoughtful of his duty. She said:
"Child, why have you treated us in this way? Do you not know that your father and I have been looking for you with troubled hearts?”
"Why did you seek for me?" said Jesus. "Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?”
They did not understand these words, but Mā́ ry̆ thought often about them afterward, for she felt that her son was no common child and that his words had a deep meaning. Though Jesus was wise beyond his years, he obeyed Jṓ s̝eph and his mother in all things. He went with them to Năź a-rĕth, and lived contented with the plain life of their country home.
As the years went on Jesus grew from a boy to a young man. He grew, too, in knowledge, and in wisdom, and in the favor of God. He won the love of all who knew him, for there was something in his nature that drew all hearts, both young and old.
Jesus learned the trade of a carpenter or worker in wood with Jṓ s̝eph; and when Jō̝ s̝eph died, while Jesus was still a young man, Jesus, as the oldest son, took up the care of his mother and his younger brothers and sisters. And so in the work of the carpenter's shop and the quiet life of a country village, and the worship of the synagogue, the years passed until Jesus was thirty years of age.
Lesson 4. The Boy Jesus.
(Tell Story 4 in Part Sixth.)
1. Where did Je'sus live while he was a boy? In Nazareth.
2. To what city was he taken when twelve years old? To Jerusalem.
3. What place did the boy Jesus visit in Jerusalem? The Temple.
4. What did Je'sus do when Joseph and Mary left Jerusalem to go home to Nazareth? He stayed in Jerusalem.
5. How long was it before Mary and Joseph found the boy Jesus? Three days.
6. Where did they find him? In the Temple.
7. What was Jesus doing in the Temple? Talking with the teachers of the Bible.
8. What is said of Jesus as a boy? He was wise, and good, and loved by all.
9. How long did Jesus live in Nazareth? Until he was thirty years old.
10. At what trade did Jesus work when he became a man? As a carpenter.