The Youth’s Instructor


July 1, 1873

The Life of Christ—No. 7
Christ in Jerusalem


The seven days of the feast of the Passover were ended, and the large company from Galilee, which Joseph and Mary had joined, commenced their homeward journey. In the excitement of travel and visiting with their friends and relatives, Joseph and Mary had not observed the absence of Jesus; but when they stopped to rest from the fatigue of travel for the night, they missed the ever-ready help of their obedient Son. His conduct had not cost them a moment's anxiety. They had trusted him implicitly. They ever expected, as a matter of course, that he would be ready to help them when they needed him, anticipating their wants as he ever had done. They had not had the least solicitude in reference to him. They had not felt that they must guard his course of action; for his principles were so pure and faultless, and his judgment so discreet, that he was above suspicion. The words of inspiration have told us in regard to the childhood of Christ, that the child grew, waxed strong in spirit, was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. YI July 1, 1873, par. 1

But the question which agitated the hearts of Joseph and Mary was, Where is our Son? They searched anxiously for him among their relatives and neighbors. Disappointed in their expectations of finding Jesus, they could proceed no farther. They conjectured that he might not have joined their company at all, but remained behind at Jerusalem. Suggestions arose in their minds, the most painful. “Is our Son detained in Jerusalem against his will? Is it possible any one designed to harm him? Can any one in Jerusalem be acquainted with the circumstances of his birth, and premeditated death by Herod?” They thought they had kept all this a profound secret. “Can any one be acquainted with the special providence of God in providing him an asylum in Egypt, in his infancy, among heathen, for the preservation of his life?” YI July 1, 1873, par. 2

Fearful forebodings agitated their hearts. They returned, sorrowing, to Jerusalem, lest some one might have secretly contemplated taking his life. They feared that some had remembered his presentation in the temple, in his infancy, and now had watched their opportunity to accomplish their terrible purpose. They passed a sleepless night, anxiously waiting for the morning, to renew their search. YI July 1, 1873, par. 3

On the way back to Jerusalem, with heavy hearts they journeyed, reproaching themselves for their neglect of the precious charge that God had committed to them. Their search commenced in earnest in Jerusalem, and continued through the entire second day. Another sleepless night of suspense was passed in tears and prayers to their Heavenly Father. The third day their search was renewed, they making inquiries among their acquaintances, and in the streets of the city, without success. Another night was about to close upon them, when their efforts were rewarded by finding their Son, in an apartment of the temple used as a school of the prophets. They saw their lost Son among the rabbis. He was listening to their conversation, and asking them questions. YI July 1, 1873, par. 4

Jesus has raised questions in reference to the prophecies relating to the Coming One, the long-expected Messiah, as to the manner of his coming, and the nature of his kingdom. He was seated reverentially and humbly at the feet of those grave, stern, wise men, asking them questions, as though receiving information in regard to the coming Messiah, while at the same time he was imparting to those doctors knowledge of the events which were transpiring, which had been clearly foretold by prophecy should take place when Christ should make his advent to this world. He knew that the minds of these men of learning were perverted by tradition, and that pride had darkened their understanding, that they could not discern the signs of the times, and that prophecies were meeting their fulfillment. He wished to awaken in them a more close and attentive search of prophecies, which would bring them to a more correct knowledge of his mission, and prepare them to receive him when his ministry should commence. YI July 1, 1873, par. 5

The rabbis discerned in this Galilean youth mature judgment. His wisdom, penetration of thought, and close reasoning, astonished them. They knew that he had not been instructed in the schools of the prophets, and yet his intelligence, and understanding of prophecy were far ahead of their own, although they had devoted their lives to study. These learned men were not only astonished at the intelligence of this youthful stranger, but they were charmed. Their hearts opened to him in love. They decided that this thoughtful Galilean boy had no ordinary ability. They were desirous to gain him as a scholar, that he might be qualified for a prominent position and for an exalted work as a teacher. Never had these men of learning listened to such clear arguments upon prophecy presented in the form of questions, which swept away their false theories in regard to the work and mission of Christ, and the true object of his coming. YI July 1, 1873, par. 6

The Passover scene was dwelt upon with peculiar interest, for in their blindness their minds had become confused and their doctrines so perverted by traditions that they had nearly lost sight of the true object of the Passover, which they had just been celebrating with great display. Christ knew that they were wholly unprepared to receive him, and he was carefully preparing their minds for his mission and his work when his public ministry should commence. As he had celebrated the Passover with solemn interest, his divine nature was stirred as never before, as he witnessed the altar of sacrifice, the bleeding lamb, the rising incense, the ministering priests, himself the foundation of the entire system of these ceremonies. YI July 1, 1873, par. 7

No wonder the rabbis marveled at the understanding of this calm yet solemn looking youth, who was handling in so childlike and humble a manner weighty and elevating prophetic facts in reference to the mission of the Messiah, while he was apparently drinking knowledge from these wise and learned doctors of the law. No wonder their hearts were stirred as no lofty oratory or studied eloquence had ever moved them. As they looked upon him, their eyes could only discern a humble Galilean, a youth with human weakness, while upon their ears fell words of pure, elevated truth, sweeping away the dark mysteries of traditions, which had perverted the objects of the most sacred ceremonies prefiguring momentous events upon which hung the destiny of the world. These wise men did not discern in this youth, sitting at their feet, the living and divine interpreter of the prophecies. If they had once conceived the idea that Christ was instructing them, they would have disdained to give him attention. But they were flattering themselves that they were imparting knowledge to an intelligent youth, who held them as listeners to receive instruction, while they thought themselves teachers. YI July 1, 1873, par. 8

They had lost sight of the manner in which prophecy represented that the Messiah should come. They were looking for a monarch, who would come with kingly honors, and with great display of armies, as a mighty conqueror to execute judgment against those who had oppressed them. They were more anxious to be relieved from bondage to Caesar than to be released from the bondage of sin and delivered from the power of Satan. They coveted riches and worldly splendor above the favor of God, that they might receive honor of men, and be exalted above their oppressors. They were convicted that their expectations in regard to the object and manner of Christ's appearing was not in accordance with prophecy; but they were not willing to give up the theories which had met their minds and called forth their proud boast to their enemies of the riches and glory of their coming King. They were not willing to admit that they had been deceived. Pride and unbelief led them to refuse to accept the light which convicted their understanding. The inquiry passed from one to the other of the rabbis, How hath this youth this great knowledge, having never learned? The wonder of these wise men did not result in faith. Light was shining upon them, but they did not cherish it, because it did not accord with their feelings. YI July 1, 1873, par. 9

These Jewish teachers did not remember the prophecy that a child should be born, a Son given, whose name should be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Prince of Peace. Although Christ was not yet manifested to the world, yet from Nazareth had already been realized a power in the interview with the doctors which would increase until it was felt through the length and breadth of the world. YI July 1, 1873, par. 10