Jesus and the Rabbis
As a little boy, Jesus loved to watch Joseph work and to play with the shavings that fell from his bench. Of course Jesus liked to run and play outdoors with his friends too.
Nazareth, Jesus' home town, was nearly seventy miles from Jerusalem. The people could not go every week to worship God at the
temple in Jerusalem. Instead they built a synagogue in Nazareth. Here they heard the reading of books written by Moses and the
When Jesus was old enough to go to school, Mary and-Joseph sent him to the synagogue. It was here Jewish boys learned to read and
write They studied the psalms and the writings of Moses and the prophets. Like other Jewish boys, Jesus learned many Scripture verses by memory, for no one had a Bible of his own.
One spring morning a company of Jews left Nazareth for the Feast of the Passover at Jerusalem. Joseph and Mary had gone to this feast every year since their return from Egypt. But the feast would be different for them this year. They were taking Jesus for the first time. Now that Jesus was twelve, he would be going every year.
As the company moved slowly down the road, people from other cities and villages joined them. At Jerusalem they met people from every part of the land. What an exciting time this was! How wide Jesus' eyes must have been when he saw the beautiful temple!
Each day at the temple he listened to the chief priests and scribes and asked them questions.
After the feast the people from Nazareth started home. Mary did not see Jesus, but she thought he was with their friends and
Evening came and still Mary did not see Jesus. Joseph and she began to search for him. All through the company they asked, "Have you seen Jesus?" Always the answer was the same. No one had seen him that day.
Now Mary and Joseph were very worried. They turned back to Jerusalem, hunting for Jesus.
On the third day they found him. He was not playing with other boys in the streets or learning to swim in the Pool of Siloam. Jesus was at the temple with the wise teachers, listening to them and asking
How surprised Mary was to find Jesus there! She said, "Son, why did you stay here when we were starting for home? Your father and I have been so worried! We've looked everywhere for you.
Jesus answered, "Why did you look for me? Didn't you know that I would be at my Father's house?"
Mary did not understand. What did Jesus mean?
Jesus had surprised the teachers in the temple. He asked questions they could not answer.
As the years passed Jesus grew to be a noble young man. He learned to explain the Scriptures and to talk with God. By helping
Joseph with his work, Jesus also became a carpenter. When Joseph died, Jesus worked to care for Mary and for his brothers and sisters.
His kind, thoughtful ways won him many friends. Jesus lived in his Nazareth home until he was about thirty years old.