By J.R. Miller
Although it is so little, enough is told us of the youth of Jesus Christ, to enable us to fill out a very beautiful picture. One of the charms of childhood, is its continual unfolding, as when a rosebud opens, little by little--until the full-blown rose delights us. The growth of Jesus was not abnormal--but natural. It was not in piety alone that He grew--but physically, as well. He "grew strong," and "advanced in stature." He also became "filled with wisdom," which means that He was a diligent learner. We are told also that "the grace of God was upon Him," and that He "advanced ... in favor with God and men." This means that His life grew more and more beautiful and lovable continually.
A single word gives us another glimpse of His youth--the "carpenter." He worked at a trade until He dropped His tools to begin His public ministry. It means a great deal to a tired man, as he reads the story, to be able to say,
"Yes, yes, a carpenter--same trade as mine,
It warms my heart as I read that line.
I can stand the hard work, I can stand the poor pay.
For I'll see that Carpenter at no distant day."
Another thing about the youth of Jesus, is that He found the sphere for His glorious life with all its powers, in life's common duties. We might think that being the Son of God, He would be exempt from the tasks of ordinary childhood. But He differed in no sense in this respect from other children. At His first visit to the temple, He seems to have become fully aware of His relation to the heavenly Father. But with this new glory in His heart, He went back to His peasant home with His mother and Joseph and was subject to them. He found His "Father's business" in the obediences, obligations and tasks of His lowly station.
The youth of Jesus teaches that the truest and divinest life, is the one that in its place, high or low, does best the will of God. Browning tells of an angel who took the place of a discontented boy, and did his lowly task-work.
"He did God's will--to Him all one,
If on the earth--or in the sun."
The labor of Jesus, teaches us that the life of the carpenter's apprentice, is as holy as the ministry of a radiant angel about God's throne.