|You have probably had someone say to you, “My, how you have grown!” Did it make you feel good that someone noticed you were getting taller?
Jesus grew from a baby to a child in the very same way babies grow today. He learned to walk and talk just as you did. At one time in His life He was just as tall as you are right now.
Jesus liked to be outdoors and loved the birds and animals. He did not attend the schools of the Jewish rabbis, or teachers. His mother, Mary, taught Him to read and write, to study God’s word and to sing songs about God’s love. On the Sabbath, the family always attended a church called a synagogue. Jesus listened carefully as the Bible was read and explained.
Joseph, Jesus’ father, had a carpenter shop in Nazareth and Jesus learned from him how to measure and cut the boards exactly right. He learned to build things well, so they would last a long time. Jesus was a kind and obedient son and worked hard helping his father earn a living because the family was very poor.
When a Jewish boy reached twelve years of age, he was no longer considered a child. Now he could join with the grownups in worship in the temple. Like all Jewish boys, Jesus had looked forward to the time when He’d be twelve. Besides attending regular worship services, He would now travel to Jerusalem, the capital city, to celebrate the Passover. Passover was one of the special services in Jerusalem. It was a time of celebration when they were to remember how God delivered their ancestors from slavery in Egypt.
No doubt, as the time for Passover drew near, Jesus helped Mary and Joseph prepare for the 75 mile journey to Jerusalem. They needed to carry food and blankets with them on the donkey that Mary rode. Their neighbors and others joined them along the way, so quite a large group traveled through the hills and valleys toward Jerusalem.
Along the way the travelers admired the springtime flowers and listened to the carols of the birds. The people often sang songs together as they walked along. When they came to places where God had worked miracles or where battles had been fought, or where angels had appeared to men, they told the children what had happened at this place long ago. Don’t you wish you could have been there with Jesus to hear these wonderful stories?
Finally, they came to the top of the last hill. They could see Jerusalem with its beautiful white temple gleaming in the sunshine. Everyone started singing and shouting for joy. Their long journey was ended.
The next day Jesus went to the special services with his parents. He heard the choirs singing and saw the white robed priest offering the sacrifice, a perfect lamb, on the altar. Clouds of incense filled the temple. With the other worshipers Jesus bowed in prayer.
As the days passed, Jesus began to understand who He was and what His Heavenly Father had sent Him to do. He saw that His life would be one of service to others and that He, too, would be a sacrifice.
There are times when something makes a young person grow much older in just a few days. This time came to Jesus during the week He spent in the temple.
When the services were over, the people started back to their homes. Mary and Joseph noticed that Jesus was not with them as they left Jerusalem. They didn’t worry, however, because they thought He was somewhere in the group. When they started setting up camp for the night, they looked for Him among their friends and relatives. But Jesus was nowhere to be found.
Hastily they returned to Jerusalem, asking everyone on the way if they had seen Jesus. They probably felt very guilty for not taking better care of God’s Son.
After three days they found Jesus talking with the official teachers in the temple school. He was listening to them teach and asking them questions. Everyone was astonished at how well Jesus answered questions. He seemed to understand God’s love and the mean¬ing of the temple services better than anyone else.
Mary and Joseph were very happy that Jesus was safe. His mother,
remembering how worried they had been, asked, “Son, why have you done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”
Jesus answered, “Why is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:48, 49.)
You might think Jesus was speaking disrespectfully to His parents, but in the language of His day He was just trying to help them understand that His Heavenly Father had a special work for Him to do.
The three of them journeyed home to Nazareth where Jesus continued to be an obedient and helpful son.