The Youth’s Instructor


November 28, 1895

Child Life of Jesus—No. 2


It is written of Jesus in his childhood, “The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him.” Every year his parents went to the city of Jerusalem to attend the feast of the Passover, and in his twelfth year Jesus went with them to the city. When the feast was over, the parents, forgetting all about Jesus, started on their road home with some of their relations, and did not know that Jesus was not with them. They supposed that he was in the company, and went a whole day's journey before they found out that he was not there. Frightened as to what had become of him, they turned back to the city, and for three days they sought him with great anxiety. “And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions.” The doctors were very learned men, and yet they were astonished as they heard Jesus asking wonderful questions, and saw that he had a good understanding of the Scriptures. His parents also listened in amazement, as they heard his searching questions. Jesus knew that God had given him this opportunity to give light to those who were in darkness, and he sought to do all in his power to open the truth to the rabbis and teachers. He led these men to speak about different verses in the Bible telling about the Messiah whom they expected to come. They thought that Christ was to come to the world in great glory at this time, and make the Jewish nation the greatest nation on the earth. But Jesus asked them what the Scriptures meant when they spoke of the humble life, the suffering and sorrow, the rejection and death, of the Son of God. Though Christ seemed like a child that was seeking help from those who knew a great deal more than he did, he was bringing light to their minds in every word he spoke. He repeated the scripture in such a way as gave them clear light in regard to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. He made the truth shine out like a light in a darkened place. YI November 28, 1895, par. 1

While Christ was teaching others, he himself was receiving light and knowledge about his own work and mission in the world; for it is plainly stated that Christ “grew in knowledge.” What a lesson there is in this for all the youth of our day! They may be like Christ, and by studying the word of God, by receiving the light that the Holy Spirit can give them, they will be able to give light to others. As they teach others of the grace of God, God will give them new grace from heaven. The more they try to teach others about the riches of Christ, the better understanding will they have of the plan of salvation, and the more richly will the grace of God abide in their own hearts. If the youth will remain as humble as did the child Jesus, they will become light-bearers to the world. YI November 28, 1895, par. 2

The wise men were surprised at the questions that the child Jesus asked. They wanted to encourage him in studying the Bible, and they wanted to see how much he knew about the prophecies. This is why they asked him so many questions. Joseph and Mary were as much surprised at the wise answers of their son as were the wise men themselves. When there was a pause, Mary, the mother of Jesus, came up to her son, and asked, “Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.” Then a divine light shone from Jesus's face, as he lifted his hand and said, “How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.” They did not know what he really meant by these words, but they knew he was a true son, who would be submissive to their commands. Though he was the Son of God, he went down to Nazareth and was subject to his parents. Though his mother did not understand the meaning of his words, she did not forget them, but “kept all these sayings in her heart.” YI November 28, 1895, par. 3

At the age of twelve, the people saw that the Holy Spirit was resting upon Jesus. He felt something of the burden of the mission for which he had come to our world. His soul was stirred into action. As one who would learn, he asked such questions as would flash light into the minds of those with whom he was talking. He helped them to understand the true meaning of the prophets, and showed them what the mission and work of the Messiah would be. The Jewish people had wrong ideas about the Messiah and his work. They thought that when Christ came in their day, he would do grand and wonderful things, that he would set them above all other people. They were looking for the glory that will be seen when Christ comes the second time, and did not study the Bible so that they could know that he was to come the first time in a very lowly way. But Jesus asked questions about the scriptures that pointed to his first appearing, that flashed light into the minds of those who were willing to receive the truth. Before he had come to the earth, he had given these prophecies to his servants who had written them down, and now as he studied the Bible, the Holy Spirit brought these things to his mind, and showed him the great work that he was to do in the earth. As he grew in knowledge, he imparted knowledge to others. But though he was wiser than the learned men, he did not become proud, or feel that he was above doing the most humble toil. He took his share of the burden, with his father, mother, and brethren, and toiled to help support the family. Though the doctors had been amazed at his wisdom, he obeyed his parents, and worked with his own hands as any toiler would work. It is stated of Jesus that as he grew older he “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” YI November 28, 1895, par. 4

The understanding that he obtained from day to day, that showed him how wonderful should be his mission in the world, did not lead him to neglect the humblest duties. He cheerfully took up the work that children and youth who dwell in humble households are called upon to do; for he knew what it was to be pressed by poverty. He understands the temptations of children, for he bore their sorrows and trials. Firm and steadfast was his purpose to do the right; though others tried to lead him to do evil, he yet never did wrong, and would not turn away in the least from the path of truth and right. He always obeyed his parents, and did every duty that lay in his path. But his childhood and youth were anything but smooth and joyous. His spotless life aroused the envy and jealousy of his brethren; for they did not believe on him. They were annoyed because he did not act in all things as they did, and would not become one with them in doing evil. In his home-life he was cheerful but never boisterous. He ever seemed like one who was seeking to learn. He took great delight in nature, and God was his teacher. YI November 28, 1895, par. 5

Mrs. E. G. White