Jesus came to this world as its light. “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” He says of himself, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
The example of Jesus is a light to the young, as well as to those of mature years; for his was a representative childhood and youth. From his earliest years his example was perfect. In both his physical and his spiritual nature he followed the divine order of growth illustrated by the plant, as he wishes all youth to do. Although he was the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, he became a babe in Bethlehem, and for a time represented the helpless infant in its mother’s care. In childhood he did the works of an obedient child. He spoke and acted with the wisdom of a child, and not of a man, honoring his parents, and carrying out their wishes in helpful ways, according to the ability of a child. But at each stage of his development he was perfect, with the simple, natural grace of a sinless life. The sacred record says of his childhood, “The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.” And of his youth it is recorded, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
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The life of Christ, from his earliest years, was a life of earnest activity. He lived not to please himself. He was the Son of the infinite God, yet he worked at the carpenter’s trade with his father Joseph. His trade was significant. He had come into the world as the character builder, and as such all his work was perfect. Into all his secular labor he brought the same perfection as into the characters he was transforming by his divine power.
He is our pattern. By many children and youth, time is wasted that might be spent in carrying home burdens, and thus showing a loving interest in father and mother. The youth might take upon their strong young shoulders many responsibilities which some one must bear.
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Don’t Let Amusements Consume Your Life
Jesus did not, like many youth, devote his time to amusement. He applied himself diligently to a study of the Scriptures; for he knew them to be full of precious instruction to all who will make them the man of their counsel. He was faithful in the discharge of his home duties; and the early morning hours, instead of being wasted in bed, often found him in a retired place, meditating and searching the Scriptures, and in prayer. Every prophecy concerning his work and mediation was familiar to him, especially those having reference to his humiliation, atonement, and intercession. In childhood and youth the object of his life was ever before him, an inducement for his undertaking the work in behalf of fallen man. He would sow seed which would prolong their days, and the gracious purpose of the Lord should prosper in his hands.
Jesus studied the Word until he became familiar with its sayings. Even in his childhood, he was skillful in their use. When his parents lost him in Jerusalem, he was found sitting among the wise men of the nation, both hearing them and asking them questions. He inquired as one who wished to learn; but in his questions there were gems of light that not only pleased his hearers, but flashed into the Scriptures concerning the Messiah a meaning which these teachers of the law had never before seen. “All that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.”
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Honoring Your Parents While Honoring God
When his mother said to him, “Son, why hast thou dealt thus with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing,” he answered, “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” And when they understood not his words, he pointed upward. Although a child, he was engaged in the work that he came to do. He was revealing God, showing the meaning of his word to those leaders in Israel, giving a new significance to their sacrifices and services.
There is here a lesson for all children and youth on the duty of honor and obedience to parents; for the record continues, “He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them.” From Jerusalem he returned home with them, and aided them in their life of toil. He hid in his own heart the mystery of his mission, waiting submissively for the appointed time for him to enter upon his work. For eighteen years after he had recognized that he was the Son of God, he acknowledged the tie that bound him to the home at Nazareth, and performed the duties of a son, a brother, a friend, and a citizen.
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Being a Blessing
Jesus carried into his labor cheerfulness and tact. It requires much patience and spirituality to bring Bible religion into the home life and into the workshop, to bear the strain of worldly business, and yet keep the eye single to the glory of God. This is where Christ was a helper. He was never so full of worldly care as to have no time or thought for heavenly things. Often he expressed the gladness of his heart by singing psalms and heavenly songs. Often the dwellers in Nazareth heard his voice raised in praise and thanksgiving to God. He held communion with heaven in song; and as his companions complained of weariness from labor, they were cheered by the sweet melody from his lips. His praise seemed to banish the evil angels, and like incense, filled the place with fragrance. The minds of his hearers were carried away from their earthly exile, to the heavenly home.
Jesus was the fountain of healing mercy for the world; and through all those secluded years at Nazareth, his life flowed out in currents of sympathy and tenderness. The aged, the sorrowing, and the sin-burdened, the children at play in their innocent joy, the little creatures of the groves, the patient beasts of burden,—all were happier for his presence. He whose word of power upheld the worlds, would stoop to relieve a wounded bird. There was nothing beneath his notice, nothing to which he disdained to minister.
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Thus as he grew in wisdom and stature, Jesus increased in favor with God and man. He drew the sympathy of all hearts by showing himself capable of sympathizing with all. The atmosphere of hope and courage that surrounded him made him a blessing in every home. And often in the synagogue on the Sabbath day he was called upon to read the lesson from the prophets, and the hearts of the hearers thrilled as a new light shone out from the familiar words of the sacred text.
Jesus is our example. There are many who dwell with interest upon the period of his public ministry, while they pass unnoticed the teachings of his early years. But it is in his home life that he is the pattern for all children and youth. The Saviour condescended to poverty, that he might teach how closely we in a humble lot may walk with God. He lived to please, honor, and glorify his Father in the common things of life. His work began in consecrating the lowly trade of the craftsmen who toil for their daily bread. He was doing God’s service just as much when laboring at the carpenter’s bench as when working miracles for the multitude. And every youth who follows Christ’s example of faithfulness and obedience in his lowly home, may claim those words spoken of him by the Father through the Holy Spirit, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth.”