THE BOY IN HIS FATHER'S HOUSE
Luke ii: 40 to 52.
ESUS was brought to Nazareth when he was a little
child, not more than three years old; there he grew up
as a boy and a young man; and there he lived until he
was thirty years of age. We should like to know many
things about his boyhood, but the Bible tells us very
little. As Joseph was a workingman, it is likely that
he lived in a house with only one room, with no floor
except the earth, no window except a hole in the wall,
no pictures upon the walls, and neither bedstead, nor
cushions; they slept upon rolls of matting; and their
meals were taken from a low table, not much larger than
Jesus may have learned to read at the village school,
which was generally held in the house used for worship,
called the "synagogue." The lessons were from rolls on
which were written parts of the Old Testament; but
Jesus never had a Bible of his own. From the time when
he was a child he went with Joseph to the worship in
 the synagogue twice every week. There they sat on the
floor, and heard the Old Testament read and explained;
while Mary and the younger sisters of Jesus listened
from a gallery behind a lattice-screen. The Jewish
boys of that time were taught to know almost the whole
of the Old Testament by heart.
It was the custom for the Jews from all parts of the
land to go up to Jerusalem to worship at least once
every year at the feast of the Passover, which was held
in the spring. Some families also stayed to the feast
of Pentecost, which was fifty days after Passover; and
some went again in the fall to the feast of
Tabernacles, when for a week all the families slept out
of doors under roofs made of green twigs and bushes.
(See Stories 23 and 28.)
When Jesus was a boy twelve years old he was
taken up to the feast of the Passover, and then for the
first time he saw the holy city Jerusalem and the
Temple of the Lord on Mount Moriah. Young as he was,
his soul was stirred as he walked among the courts of
the Temple, and saw the altar with its smoking
sacrifice, the priests in their white robes, and the
Levites with their silver trumpets. Though a boy,
Jesus began to feel that he was the son of God and that
this was his Father's house.
THE BOY IN THE TEMPLE
His heart was so filled with the worship of the Temple,
with the words of the scribes or teachers whom he heard
in the courts, and with his own thoughts, that when it
was time to go home to Nazareth he stayed behind, held
fast by his love for the house of the Lord. The
company of people who were travelling together was
large, and at first he was not missed. But when night
came and the boy Jesus
 could not be found, his mother
was alarmed. The next day Joseph and Mary left their
company and hastened back to Jerusalem. They did not
at first think to go to the Temple. They sought him
among their friends and kindred who were living in the
city, but could not find him.
On the third day they went up to the Temple with heavy
hearts, still looking for their boy. And there they
found him, sitting in a company of the teachers of the law,
listening to their words and asking them questions.
Everybody who stood near was surprised to find how deep
was the knowledge of this boy in the word of the Lord.
His mother spoke to him a little sharply, for she felt
that her son had not been thoughtful of his duty. She
"Child, why have you treated us in this way? Do you
not know that your father and I have been looking for
you with troubled hearts?"
"Why did you seek for me?" said Jesus. "Did you not
know that I must be in my Father's house?"
 They did not understand these words, but Mary thought
often about them afterward, for she felt that her son
was no common child and that his words had a deep
meaning. Though Jesus was wise beyond his years, he
obeyed Joseph and his mother in all things. He went
with them to Nazareth, and lived contented with the
plain life of their country home.
As the years went on Jesus grew from a boy to a young
man. He grew, too, in knowledge, and in wisdom, and in
the favor of God. He won the love of all who knew him,
for there was something in his nature that drew all
hearts, both young and old.
JESUS AS A BOY AT THE HOUSE OF HIS FATHER AND MOTHER
Jesus learned the trade of a carpenter or worker in
wood with Joseph; and when Joseph died, while Jesus was
still a young man, Jesus, as the oldest son, took up the
care of his mother and his younger brothers and
sisters. And so in the work of the carpenter's shop
and the quiet life of a country village, and the
worship of the synagogue, the years passed until Jesus
was thirty years of age.