Children in the Bible
Jesus A Young Carpenter
here are many years of the life of Jesus of which the Gospel story tells us nothing. He lived with Mary and Joseph in Nazareth, and was preparing for the great work for which He came. He learned easily all that other boys were taught in the synagogue school, and no doubt caused His teacher to wonder at such wisdom coming from a boy. He was so humble and teachable that no one could accuse Him of setting Himself above His companions, and so winning and unselfish that He was loved by all.
The school days ended, perhaps, when He was fourteen, and He was asked, as every Jewish boy was asked, to choose what trade He would learn, for every boy had to learn a trade. He chose to learn the trade of His father, and began to work with him making the many things that were then used by the people.
Few houses, if any, were made of wood, for the white limestone was then, as now, used in making the houses of Nazareth, but they were finished with wood, and wood was used not only for boats, tables, benches, yokes and carts, but also for plows, saddles, and many things we now make of other material. Can you make a picture in your mind of this tall, beautiful youth standing near His father ready to serve in any humble way in the work they were doing?
There was no service so small that He did not willingly do it, and no labor so rough and common that He did not make it noble and beautiful by the doing. But He was always thinking-thinking. The world around Him was full of pictures and stories through which heavenly truths shone, and they formed themselves in His mind, and when He began to teach He used them to help others with. We call them parables. Wherever He saw the flowers, the grape vines, the olive and the fig trees, the wheat fields, the shepherds and their flocks, the fishermen and their nets, He read high and holy lessons that were much more simple, and true, and beautiful than those taught by the Rabbis.
The more He thought about the teaching of the Rabbis, the more He saw how false and hard it was. The Law given by Moses was full of the good thoughts of God, but the Jewish teachers had only taught the outward form, and had not given the people the inward spirit. It was like bringing to the hungry a beautiful dish with no food in it, or to the thirsty a costly cup with no water in it.
As He grew older He would sit sometimes long into the night on some hillside watching the stars, and with his great heart going out beyond the hills to the people of the world in longing love and in desire for their salvation. He wanted to show them how God loved the world. He wanted to take the empty forms of the Law and fill them full of the Spirit-the real thought and love of God. He wanted to take away the burdens on the minds of the people, which were heavier than those that Pharoah laid upon their bodies long before, and give them the rest and peace of God. He wanted to take away their endless rules and give them one rule-to do by others as they would have others do to them. And He wanted to add a new Commandment to the Law-that they love one another.
In this way, by living with His mind in heaven and His body on earth He came to know that He was the Christ of God, and that He must go out from Nazareth to be a Teacher of Truth, and begin to build The Kingdom of Heaven among men. But His friends thought that He was fitted to be a Rabbi and teach in the Temple with the Doctors of the Law. He waited many years, caring for His mother and His younger brothers and sisters after the death of Joseph, and then He left Nazareth.