The Youth’s Instructor


August 1, 1873

The Life of Christ—No. 8
Jesus Found Among the Doctors


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. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.” YI August 1, 1873, par. 1

While the parents of Christ were anxiously seeking their Son, they saw great numbers flocking to the temple. They pressed along with the crowd, when, as they were about to enter the temple, the voice of Jesus arrested their attention. Although they could not see him for the crowd, they well knew that no other voice was like his—peculiar with its solemn melody. The parents urged their way through the crowd, and there beheld their Son, sitting in the midst of grave and learned doctors of the law, plying them with questions of so grave and deep a character as to evidence superior knowledge in regard to the prophecies which revealed the errors and deception that had covered the minds of both priests and people. The Jewish rulers, priests, and doctors, were putting to Christ the most difficult questions, which to them were shrouded in mystery. With childlike simplicity, and yet with perfect clearness, Christ comprehended their questions, and, in his answers, brushes aside the cloud of darkness and reveals the true light, which gives such evidences of superior wisdom as to astonish the rulers of Israel. YI August 1, 1873, par. 2

Joseph is too much surprised to say a word. Jesus was informed that his parents desired to speak with him. Obedient to their wishes, he pressed through the crowd to their presence. When they were apart from the crowd by themselves, and Mary learned that her Son had not been detained against his will, and seemed so deeply interested and absorbed with the dignitaries of Israel as to forget his (as she thought) duties to his parents, she knew not how to account for his conduct, so unlike anything that had ever occurred in his life. This looked like indifference to their anxiety. Mary addressed Jesus, “Son, Why hast thou dealt thus with us? thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.” “And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?” YI August 1, 1873, par. 3

These words, innocently and artlessly spoken, implied a rebuke to his parents. He lays back the censure they had given him: “How is it that ye sought me?” While they had been neglectful of his presence for an entire day, he had been about his Heavenly Father's business. He does not acknowledge any neglect on his part, nor any indifference, or disrespect. He had a work to do. He was fulfilling the mission he came from Heaven to accomplish. YI August 1, 1873, par. 4

Joseph and Mary had been honored in a special manner in being intrusted with the responsible charge of the Redeemer of the world. Angels had heralded his birth to the shepherds on Bethlehem's plains, and wise men from the East had paid him special honors. God had directed the course of Joseph to preserve the life of the infant Saviour. But the confusion of much talk had led to the neglect of their sacred trust, and Jesus had been forgotten for an entire day. When Joseph and Mary were relieved in finding Jesus, they did not feel and acknowledge their own neglect of duty, but they reflected censure on Jesus. YI August 1, 1873, par. 5

We here have evidence that Jesus was not ignorant of his mission from Heaven to the earth, even in his childhood. Jesus virtually says to his mother, Mary, do you not understand my work and the nature of my mission? He here made known his peculiar relation to God for the first time. Mary well knew that Jesus did not refer to Joseph when he spoke of doing his Father's business. He here claimed that the sense of his obligation to God was above every earthly tie or relationship. YI August 1, 1873, par. 6

The first visit of Jesus to the temple aroused new impulses, and he was so deeply impressed with his relationship with God that all earthly bonds were forgotten. And, impelled by the high sense of his work and mission, he recognized and acknowledged himself as the Son of God, obedient to his will and engaged in his work. YI August 1, 1873, par. 7

“And they understood not the saying that he spake unto them.” As there had been nothing remarkable in the twelve years of the life of Christ, to give outward indications of his sonship with God, his own relatives did not discern the marks of his divine character. YI August 1, 1873, par. 8