The Young Child Jesus

The child grew big and strong and full of wisdom; and God's favour was upon him. (Luke 2,40)

Jesus was the son, as people thought, of Josephs,...... (Luke 3, 23)


In the beginning of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke we find reports on all the events before, during and after the birth of the baby Jesus. Reflections on these reports you find in my various Advent Calendars of the past years.


At the end of these reports we read the verse quoted above. The child Jesus lived in the town Nazareth, and Maria and Joseph took care of him. It was generally assumed that Jesus would be the son of Joseph. But we here once again read that this was just assumed by the public but it was not the case as such. The authors of the Gospels and thus we readers as well know that Jesus came to live in Mary's womb through the Holy Spirit and not through Joseph. Thus we could at the most say that Jesus was the adopted child of Joseph or was simply brought up by Joseph because in reality he is the Son of God.


Joseph was well aware of the special case of this child. But obviously he did not talk much about this matter. Joseph took care of Jesus and brought him up as if he would have been his own son. Jesus also learned the same profession that Joseph had. He became a carpenter.


Perhaps the one or the other reader has children himself. Do these occasionally behave naughtily? Are they doing silly things, and do they have all kinds of nonsense in their minds? Do they not pay attention at school and even try to tease the teachers? At times it can be quite hard work bringing up a child.


Yet all this Jesus did NOT do. From reports later on we know that Jesus never in his life committed any single sin at all. All the parents and teachers among the readers and all those that regularly deal with children, can they imagine what this means? Try to think of this fact in normal every day life.


However, in those days bringing up children had in many respects been different to what it is today. Slogans like “the rights of a child” or even anti-authoritarian education did not exist. It was all over normal that children were the subjects of their parents and that they had to obey them the way a workman has to obey his boss. Children had to, were supposed to and were encouraged to learn, because once they would had grown up they were expected to earn enough to support their parents when these would have come of age.

This learning did not so much mean school education but rather the learning of a profession. In general sons learned the same profession that their fathers had because that was the easiest way. Thus at an early age already the child was able to help his father at work. The father at the same time was the teacher, and there were no additional costs for a special teacher. Only very rich parents could afford a special private teacher for their children.


Schools the way we have them everywhere nowadays were connected to the synagogue, There children as from about the age of 5 years were taught reading and writing. The goal was that thus later they were capable of reading the Holy Scriptures. However going to school was not generally obligatory. It was left up to the parents whether they sent their child to school or whether they preferred that he helped the father at work. For sure the child Jesus was sent to the synagogue for scholar education. We know from later reports that the Jesus was very well capable of reading and that he had good knowledge of the old scriptures.


The fact that the child Jesus never committed any sin did not at all mean that he was a boring, easy to go child. On the contrary, obviously he was physically strong and intelligent, and God's grace was upon him. As from early childhood onward he had the inward desire always to do the will of God.


May the child Jesus set an example for all children of the world, and may his parents who brought him up in loving care may set an example for all parents of this world.