The Youth’s Instructor


December 5, 1895

Child Life of Jesus—No. 3


Even in his childhood Jesus saw that the people did not live in the way that the Bible pointed out as the way for them to live. He studied the Bible, and followed the simple habits and ways that the word of God directs; and when people found fault with him because he was so lowly and simple, he pointed them to the word of God. His brothers told him that he thought himself much better than they were, and reproved him for setting himself up above the priests and rulers of the people. Jesus knew that if he obeyed the word of God, he would not find rest and peace in the home circle. YI December 5, 1895, par. 1

As he grew in knowledge, he knew that great errors were increasing among men, and that because the people followed the commands of men instead of obeying the commands of God, simplicity and truth and true piety were becoming lost in the earth. He saw the people going through forms and ceremonies in their worship of God, and passing by the sacred truths that made their service of value. He knew that their faithless services could not do them any good, and would not bring them peace or rest. They could not know what it was to have freedom of spirit when they did not serve God in truth. YI December 5, 1895, par. 2

Jesus did not always silently look upon these worthless services, but sometimes told the people where they were going wrong. Because he was so quick to see what was false and what was true, his brethren were greatly annoyed at him; for they said that whatever the priest taught ought to be considered as sacred as a command of God. But Jesus taught both by his words and by his example that men ought to worship God just as he has directed them to worship him, and not follow the ceremonies that men have said ought to be followed. His brethren were greatly put out because Jesus would not do as the priests directed, but followed the word of God rather than the traditions of men. YI December 5, 1895, par. 3

The priests and the Pharisees also were annoyed because this child would not accept their human inventions, maxims, and traditions. They thought that he showed great disrespect to their religion, and to the rabbis who had commanded these services. He told them that he would heed every word that came from the mouth of God, and that they must show him from the Bible where he was in error. He pointed out to them the fact that they were placing the word of men above the word of God, and causing men to show disrespect to God through obeying the commands of men. The rabbis knew that there was nothing in the Scriptures that would uphold them in forcing him to obey their traditions. They knew that he was far in advance of them in spiritual understanding, and that he lived a blameless life; yet they were angry with him because he would not violate his conscience by obeying their dictates. Failing to convince him that he ought to look upon human tradition as sacred, they came to Joseph and Mary, and complained that Jesus was taking a wrong course in regard to their customs and traditions. Jesus knew what it was to have his family divided against him on account of his religious faith. He loved peace; he craved the love and confidence of the members of his family; but he knew what it was to have them withdraw their affection from him. He suffered rebuke and censure because he took a straightforward course, and would not do evil because others did evil, but was true to the commandments of Jehovah. His brethren rebuked him because he stood aloof from the ceremonies that were taught by the rabbis; for they regarded the word of man more highly than the word of God, because they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. YI December 5, 1895, par. 4

Jesus made the Scriptures his constant study; and when the scribes and Pharisees tried to make him do as they did, and accept their doctrines, they found him ready to meet them with the word of God, and they could do nothing to convince him that they were right. He seemed to know the Scriptures from beginning to end, and repeated them in such a way that their true meaning shone out. They were ashamed because this little child knew more than they did. They claimed that he ought to obey them, and not go contrary to the teachings of the church. They said it was their business to explain the Scriptures, and that it was his place to accept what they said. They were angry that this child should dare to question their word, when it was their calling to study and explain the Scriptures. YI December 5, 1895, par. 5

The scribes, rabbis, and Pharisees could not force Jesus to turn from the word of God, and follow the traditions of men; but they could influence his brethren in such a way that his life might become a very bitter one. His brethren threatened him, and sought to compel him to take a wrong course; but he passed on, making the Scriptures his guide. From the time his parents found him in the temple, asking and answering questions among the doctors, they could not understand his course of action. Quiet and gentle, he seemed as one who was set apart. Whenever he could, he went out alone into the fields and on the mountain sides to commune with the God of nature. When his work was done, he wandered by the lakeside, among the trees of the forest, and in the green valleys where he could think about God, and lift his soul to heaven in prayer. After a season thus spent, he would return to his home to take up again the humble duties of his life, and to give to all an example of patient labor. YI December 5, 1895, par. 6

Mrs. E. G. White