- Joseph and Mary go to be taxed
- Birth of Jesus
- In America
- Annunciation to the shepherds
- Naming of Jesus
- Presentation in the temple
- Mary’s Pondering
- Visit of the wise men
- Slaughter of the infants
- Flight to Egypt
- Return From Egypt
- Visit to the temple (Passover)
- The Childhood and Boyhood of Jesus
Joseph and Mary go to be taxed
Location: From Nazareth to Bethlehem
The Lord knows the beginning from the end, and he uses men to accomplish his purposes. The decree by Caesar Augustus that “all the world should be taxed” provided the impetus for Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem.
I wonder if they didn’t want to go? Do you think perhaps they knew the prophecies about where the Savior would be born, and wondered if they should go before they heard of the decree?
I wonder if not everyone went? I wonder if some stayed in their homes and were enrolled in the city in which they lived, especially those that were expecting or sick. Perhaps Joseph and Mary knew that they should go, even though she was expecting.
When we are living as we should live, the Lord can provide many different ways of guiding our lives. It might come from unexpected sources, but if we have the gift of the Holy Ghost, we can know what are the right things to do.
Birth of Jesus
The description of the birth of Jesus is very simple:
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:6 – 7)
Elder James E. Talmage has written the following:
In vivid contrast with the simplicity and brevity of the scriptural account and of its paucity of incidental details, is the mass of circumstance supplied by the imagination of men, much of which is wholly unsupported by authoritative record and in many respects is plainly inconsistent and untrue. It is the part of prudence and wisdom to segregate and keep distinctly separate the authenticated statements of fact, in so momentous a matter, from the fanciful commentaries of historians, theologians, and writers of fiction, as also from the emotional rhapsodies of poets and artistic extravaganzas wrought by chisel or brush. (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, Ch.8, p.93)
But we can add some to these descriptions by using references from the Harmony of the Gospels to other references in the scriptures. These wonderfully simple but profound verses confirm the message in Luke.
18 And he [an angel] said unto me [Nephi]: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.
19 And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!
20 And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms. (1 Ne. 11:18 – 20)
10 And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God. (Alma 7:10)
The description of the events at the Savior’s birth are perhaps very similar in some ways to His second coming.
4 And it came to pass that in the commencement of the ninety and second year, behold, the prophecies of the prophets began to be fulfilled more fully; for there began to be greater signs and greater miracles wrought among the people.
There are tremendous signs given pointing to the Savior’s second coming.
5 But there were some who began to say that the time was past for the words to be fulfilled, which were spoken by Samuel, the Lamanite.
6 And they began to rejoice over their brethren, saying: Behold the time is past, and the words of Samuel are not fulfilled; therefore, your joy and your faith concerning this thing hath been vain.
There are those that do not believe the Savior will come again, that the time is past, and the world has become too knowledgeable to expect such foolish things to occur.
7 And it came to pass that they did make a great uproar throughout the land; and the people who believed began to be very sorrowful, lest by any means those things which had been spoken might not come to pass.
8 But behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if there were no night, that they might know that their faith had not been vain.
Some who are “believers” particularly among other Christian denominations have come to wonder themselves. But others continue to believe, in spite of all the opposition.
9 Now it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the unbelievers, that all those who believed in those traditions should be put to death except the sign should come to pass, which had been given by Samuel the prophet.
I wonder if there won’t be such a day, when believers will have to stand up and be counted.
10 Now it came to pass that when Nephi, the son of Nephi, saw this wickedness of his people, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful.
11 And it came to pass that he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers.
12 And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying:
13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.
14 Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.
I believe the prophet will pray in behalf of the saints.
15 And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came.
16 And there were many, who had not believed the words of the prophets, who fell to the earth and became as if they were dead, for they knew that the great plan of destruction which they had laid for those who believed in the words of the prophets had been frustrated; for the sign which had been given was already at hand.
17 And they began to know that the Son of God must shortly appear; yea, in fine, all the people upon the face of the whole earth from the west to the east, both in the land north and in the land south, were so exceedingly astonished that they fell to the earth.
18 For they knew that the prophets had testified of these things for many years, and that the sign which had been given was already at hand; and they began to fear because of their iniquity and their unbelief.
19 And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid–day. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given.
20 And it had come to pass, yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets.
21 And it came to pass also that a new star did appear, according to the word.
22 And it came to pass that from this time forth there began to be lyings sent forth among the people, by Satan, to harden their hearts, to the intent that they might not believe in those signs and wonders which they had seen; but notwithstanding these lyings and deceivings the more part of the people did believe, and were converted unto the Lord. (3 Ne. 1:4 – 22)
This describes the Savior’s coming pretty well. It is similar to the following:
26 For as the light of the morning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, and covereth the whole earth, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. (JS-M 1:26)
Annunciation to the shepherds
We are all aware of the story of the shepherd, and the poem about why shepherds, because the Savior was a shepherd too. Certainly this is an aspect of this story that is very rich with symbolism. But perhaps there are other messages and symbols in this story.
Let’s consider this story in light of the doctrine of witnesses.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Most witnesses are called from seemingly ordinary tasks, and ordinary duties. They are ordinary people. David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and Martin Harris were not well known individuals in their day. When they were called to be the three witnesses they were mostly involved in ordinary responsibilities of farming, and teaching school. They were doing their duties.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
People that are called as witnesses often have a time when they are afraid about what that means. They are often given courage to perform their function as witnesses, regardless of what others think.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
This is the key message; here is what they are to witness.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Here is the sign, given to strengthen their faith and resolve.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
They did as they were commanded. They kept the commandments. Thus they had something about which to be witnesses.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
Everything that happened up to this point was preparing for this. Here, after all that had happened, is when they act as witnesses to others. And what is the result?
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
Those that heard the shepherds are forced to contemplate their message. If we do not act as witnesses, we deprive others of their chance to challenge what they think they know.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
Mary is a prime example of the impact a witness can have on someone. There were some among the people the shepherds talk to, that contemplated the message deeply.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. (Luke 2:8 – 20)
Naming of Jesus
The angel of the Lord specifically directed the Savior’s mortal name.
21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:21)
Perhaps it is interesting that Matthew speaks of Joseph naming him Jesus. Mary was told what his name should be, as was Joseph.
25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. (Matt. 1:25)
Why would there be so much concern about his name? Certainly names have tremendous meaning, and are thus important. But there is perhaps even a more practical reason: The name of the Savior had been known for years, centuries even millennia (see Moses 6:44) before his birth.
19 For according to the words of the prophets, the Messiah cometh in six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem; and according to the words of the prophets, and also the word of the angel of God, his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (2 Ne. 25:19)
God wanted to make sure there was no misunderstanding who the Savior was.
51 And he called upon our father Adam by his own voice, saying: I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh.
52 And he also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you.(Moses 6:51 – 52)
Presentation in the temple
The Blessing of a Child
What a wonderful occasion the blessing of a baby can be.
22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
The ordinances of the gospel are intended to bring families together, including bringing us back to our Heavenly Parents.
It is a wonderful thing when Grandparents can attend the blessing of a new child. They can be very insightful about the implications of a new child.
25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
Enduring to the End
Contemplate what a tremendous blessing was given to Simeon and to Anna. They were among the first to bear testimony about the divinity of the Savior, particularly in public. And isn’t it amazing that they happen to be at the temple on the right day at the right time in the right place. The Temple lot is very large, and was perhaps the busiest place in Jerusalem, and thus in the country. But Simeon “came by the Spirit into the Temple.” He was led there to fulfill the prophecy which he had been given.
Do you think he might have ever doubted the prophecy, as he began to age? Do you think perhaps he wondered if he had been mistaken?
And then there is sweet Anna.
36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. (Luke 2:22 – 39)
She was indeed “of a great age” having been a widow for over 84 years! And before that she had been married for 7 years, so if she were married after age 9, she was over 100 years old. Do you think she wondered why she was still alive? 84 years she had lived without her husband.
But she too “coming in that instant” was led by the spirit to be in the temple at that spot on that day. Perhaps she had remained all those years for these 10 minutes, to see the Savior, to testify to those there, that this was the Savior of the world.
The scriptures make a point of the numerous times Mary wondered upon the things that she saw and heard.
- After the visit of the shepherds: “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)
- After the Presentation in the Temple: “And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34 – 35)
- After the Temple Visit when Jesus is twelve: “And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.” (Luke 2:51)
Elder Talmage says the following of Mary’s ponderings:
What marvelous and sacred secrets were treasured in that mother’s heart; and what new surprises and grave problems were added day after day in the manifestations of unfolding wisdom displayed by her more than mortal Son! Though she could never have wholly forgotten, at times she seemingly lost sight of, her Son’s exalted personality. That such conditions should exist was perhaps divinely appointed. There could scarcely have been a full measure of truly human experience in the relationship between Jesus and His mother, or between Him and Joseph, had the fact of His divinity been always dominant or even prominently apparent. Mary appears never to have fully understood her Son; at every new evidence of His uniqueness she marveled and pondered anew. He was hers, and yet in a very real sense not wholly hers. There was about their relation to each other a mystery, awful yet sublime, a holy secret which that chosen and blessed mother hesitated even to tell over to herself. Fear must have contended with joy within her soul because of Him. The memory of Gabriel’s glorious promises, the testimony of the rejoicing shepherds, and the adoration of the magi must have struggled with that of Simeon’s portentous prophecy, directed to herself in person: “Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also.” (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, Ch.9, p.116 – p.117)
Visit of the wise men
Wise Men From the East
I think the story of the wise men is fascinating story, particularly for members of the church. Why? Because it hints of corroboration with the message of the Book of Mormon.
1 NOW when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
There were other prophets that foretold of the coming of a new star, as a sign of the coming of the King of Kings, the Son of God.
5 And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you. (Hel. 14:5)
And, as noted above, their words were fulfilled.
And it came to pass also that a new star did appear, according to the word. (3 Ne. 1:21)
How would these “wise men” have known? Nephi hints that the Lord has prophets among more people than just the Nephites and the Jews.
12 For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it. (2 Ne. 29:12 – 13)
The “wise men” were obviously in tune with the spirit of the Lord.
9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 ¶ And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. (Matt. 2:9 – 11)
Why else would they have been warned in a dream, through revelation, that they should go home by another way? They had no desire but to worship the Son of God. They were true Christians, in every sense of the word.
It is reasonable, therefore, to suppose that they had revelation of the similar kind to that given by Samuel in the new world. As dispersed children of Israel, similar to the Lehites, they received a similar witness. However, they happen to be upon the same continent, and were able to travel to Jerusalem to worship the Lord.
Slaughter of the infants
King Herod is an example of how unsuccessful intrigue can be.
3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judæa: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. (Matt. 2:3 – 8)
Of course, the Lord is smarter than any intrigue man can design. He warned the wise me to return another way.
12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. (Matt. 2:12)
The Lord foiled Herod’s plan.
16 ¶ Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. (Matt. 2:16)
Was this an isolated occurrence with King Herod? No. This quote from the Bible Dictionary about Herod is interesting.
His reign was disgraced by many acts of cruelty. In a fit of jealousy he had his wife, whom he dearly loved, put to death; later on he had her two sons, Alexander and Aristobulus, also murdered. In the same year in which he gave the order for the massacre of the infants at Bethlehem, he had Antipater, another of his own sons, put to death. A few months later Herod himself died. (BD Herod)
Not only did the Lord foil Herod’s destruction of God’s own son, The Lord took away the one thing Herod was trying to protect—the kingship.
IX.B Weeping and Great Mourning
Matthew finds in the slaughter of the children a fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy.
17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,
18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.(Matt. 2:17-18)
16 ¶ And they [Israel and his family] journeyed from Beth-el; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour.
17 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also.
18 And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Ben-oni: [son of my sorrow or distress] but his father called him Benjamin [Son at the right hand].
19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Beth-lehem.
20 And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day. (Gen. 35:16 – 20)
Rachel typified the ultimate sacrifice of a mother, giving her life in birth for the child. Think of those mothers in Bethlehem during the Savior’s day, their sacrifices in bringing those children into the world.
The Bible Dictionary gives this description of this verse, under the subheading of Rachel.
Rachel. Ewe. …Jeremiah, in a very beautiful passage, pictures Rachel as weeping in Ramah for her children, the descendants of Benjamin, Ramah being the place at which the exiles were assembled before their departure for Babylon (Jer. 31:15). Matthew quotes the passage in his description of the mourning at Bethlehem (where Rachel’s grave was) after the murder of the children (Matt. 2:18). (BD Rachel)
Similar to the children of Israel, who were gathered together at Ramah before being carried away captive into Babylon, those small children were gathered together before being ushered into the next world.
Perhaps the Savior was speaking of the great King Herod, the most powerful man in the Land at the time of His birth, when he answered the disciple’s question.
1 AT the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
7 ¶ Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! (Matt. 18:1 – 7)
When Herod’s edict went forth to destroy the young children, John was about six months older than Jesus, and came under this hellish edict, and Zacharias caused his mother to take him into the mountains, where he was raised on locusts and wild honey. When his father refused to disclose his hiding place, and being the officiating high priest at the Temple that year, was slain by Herod’s order, between the porch and the altar, as Jesus said (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Five 1842–43, p.261)
Flight to Egypt
Location: Bethlehem to Egypt
The Savior followed ancient Israel, in going down to and returning from Egypt.
13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. (Matt. 2:13 – 15)
This prophecy is found in Hosea 11:1
WHEN Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. (Hosea 11:1)
Why would this be important? I think perhaps our Heavenly Father was trying to teach us something about the nature of this earth. Perhaps it is that He was reminding us that many of us will be called to leave his or her home for a time to journey in a foreign land.
In fact, universally, we are all called to do so. We are all called to leave our heavenly home for a time, to journey in a foreign land. Perhaps here is the real message. That the God of the Old Testament, even Jehovah, would leave his throne on high, and condescend to dwell on earth, in a “foreign land” it might be said.
Return From Egypt
Location: Egypt to Nazareth
Joseph may not have known of the prophecy that the Savior would be called a Nazarene. However, the Lord warned him of going to Judea, thus enabling the fulfillment of the prophecy.
19 ¶ But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.
21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judæa in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:
23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene. (Matt. 2:19 – 23)
It is interesting that Matthew finds fulfillment of a prophesy in the fact that he came from Nazareth. We do not have this prophesy in our bible. But it is not improbable that the Lord would reveal this to someone prior to the Savior’s birth. In fact, as Latter-day Saints, we have another reason to believe this was prophesied. Nephi was shown the following in vision:
13 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white. (1 Ne. 11:13)
It is certainly believable that the place where the Savior would be raised would be known.
But other in the scriptures did not find in his “home town” of Nazareth any fulfillment of scripture. The chief priests and Pharisees said to one defending Jesus:
52 They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. (John 7:52)
Here is the same fact, where Jesus grew up, viewed with an eye of faith on the one hand, and with an eye of contempt on the other.
(See also Luke 2:39)
Visit to the temple (Passover)
48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:41 – 50)
Elder Talmage in “Jesus the Christ” beautifully analyzes this passage of scripture.
Let us not say that there was unkind rebuke or unfilial reproof in the answer of this most dutiful of sons to His mother. His reply was to Mary a reminder of what she seems to have forgotten for the moment — the facts in the matter of her Son’s paternity. She had used the words “thy father and I”; and her Son’s response had brought anew to her mind the truth that Joseph was not the Boy’s father. She appears to have been astonished that One so young should so thoroughly understand His position with respect to herself. He had made plain to her the inadvertent inaccuracy of her words; His Father had not been seeking Him; for was He not even at that moment in His Father’s house, and particularly engaged in His Father’s business, the very work to which His Father had appointed Him?
He had in no wise intimated a doubt as to Mary’s maternal relationship to Himself; though He had indisputably shown that He recognized as His Father, not Joseph of Nazareth, but the God of Heaven. Both Mary and Joseph failed to comprehend the full import of His words. Though He understood the superior claim of duty based on His divine Sonship, and had shown to Mary that her authority as earthly mother was subordinate to that of His Immortal and divine Father, nevertheless He obeyed her. (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, Ch.9, p.115)
Who would Luke have learned this story from? Mary? Perhaps not.
49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?
50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. (Luke 2:49 – 50)
Unless Mary came later to realize the meaning of his response, Luke must have learned it from either the Savior himself or someone the Savior related the story to; for it was only the Savior that understood his response.
The Childhood and Boyhood of Jesus
Well Rounded Development
The following scripture lays out the major areas of our lives that are involved in our growth as young people.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. (Luke 2:52)
We should increase in:
- Favor with God
- Favor with Man
These might be called the following
- Wisdom > Mentally
- Stature > Physically
- Favor with God > Spiritually
- Favor with Man > Emotional/Socially
The perfect one, our perfect example, grew in all the ways we are to grow.
Grace for Grace
Not only did he grow in all the areas wherein we are to grow, but he also grew. Even though he was the Son of God.
40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. (Luke 2:40)
This word “grace” is important. Listen to the following verse.
11 And I, John, bear record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us.
12 And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace;
13 And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;
14 And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first. (D&C 93:11 – 14)
The Bible Dictionary tells us that
… Grace is an enabling power.
It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. BD Grace.
The Savior grew in the same way we grow, in his capacity to follow the commandments. But he never took a step backwards. He never sinned. His progression was perfect. But he understands our needs and experiences because he grew in the same way we are to grow.
Subject Unto His Parents
Isn’t it interesting that the Savior of the world was subject to his parents?
And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them…(Luke 2:51)
- And it came to pass that Jesus grew up with his brethren, and waxed strong, and waited upon the Lord for the time of his ministry to come.
- And he served under his father, and he spake not as other men, neither could he be taught; for he needed not that any man should teach him.
- And after many years, the hour of his ministry drew nigh. (JST Matt. 3:24-26)
There are a few other scriptures that talk about the Savior, and this concept of subjecting himself to other powers. Jacob taught that the Savior subjected himself to man in the flesh, that all men become subject unto him:
Yea, I know that ye know that in the body he shall show himself unto those at Jerusalem, from whence we came; for it is expedient that it should be among them; for it behooveth the great Creator that he suffereth himself to become subject unto man in the flesh, and die for all men, that all men might become subject unto him. (2 Ne. 9:5)
Why would that be? Why would subjecting himself to men in the flesh create a condition where all men would then subject themselves unto Christ? Perhaps it is because they choose to. Perhaps, because of the power of his great atonement, the choice he made to freely sacrifice himself, that power will be something that all men eventually wish to be subject to.
Listen to what Paul says about this:
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Cor. 15:22 – 28)
Cleon Skousen (sp?) has taught that the only way to “rule” over something that has free will is for that thing to willingly submit to authority. In this scripture I can imagine that what the Savior is doing is patiently waiting until we willingly submit to his authority, and give away those things that we grasp to instead of him.
Again, the point made here by Luke is that the Savior willing submitted to righteous authority. He is our perfect example:
1 AND now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people.
2 And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son—
3 The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son—
4 And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.
5 And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.
6 And after all this, after working many mighty miracles among the children of men, he shall be led, yea, even as Isaiah said, as a sheep before the shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.
7 Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.
8 And thus God breaketh the bands of death, having gained the victory over death; giving the Son power to make intercession for the children of men—
9 Having ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and satisfied the demands of justice. (Mosiah 15:1 – 9)
Every living things has agency. Every particle of the earth has agency. It is “is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.” (D&C 93:30) The great plan is that our bodies choose to be subject unto God.