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Family Dynamics

Key References: Luke 2:51, 52; Isaiah 53:7-12; The Desire of Ages, chap. 7, pp. 68-74; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 7, pp. 63-73; Our Beliefs nos. 22, 4, 9

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“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).

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We honor God when we obey Him.

Take a careful look at a piece of furniture in your home, perhaps a chair you find comfortable. Examine how the different pieces fit together. What did the builder of this piece of furniture have to know? What tools do you think the builder used? Now imagine Jesus in the carpenter shop learning how to be the best carpenter possible.

The fragrance of green wood, like evergreen trees, was the first greeting a customer received at the local carpenter’s shop. The carpenter stood in the back corner, a piece of charcoal behind his ear. He measured carefully before skillfully fitting the top of a table to the legs, pounding wooden pegs into the holes to hold it together. With a low whistle, the man smiled and stood back to admire his work: smooth grain and perfectly matched, corners meeting exactly, all legs evenly balanced. Meanwhile, his youngest Son hurried forward with a smile of His own to greet a customer.

It was always that way in this shop. The owner was an honest man who built everything with the care he would take if it were for himself. If you asked for cedar, you got cedar, not some other wood the carpenter had found cheaper so he could make a profit on your ignorance.

Picture Jesus as a young man getting up early. The first thing He did when He woke up was to talk to His heavenly Father. In prayer He asked for strength to carry successfully the challenges of the new day. As Jesus arrived at Joseph’s carpentry shop, He got the tools ready for the day. He may have selected the wood they would be using. Maybe He talked to the first few customers who were standing in line in front of the shop.

Although the carpenter’s family belonged to the royal lineage of King David, they were not rich in material possessions. However, what Jesus’ parents offered their Son was far greater in value than what silver or gold could buy. These parents did everything they could to introduce Jesus to the spiritual treasures that are of eternal value. Joseph and Mary did not send Jesus to the schools of the rabbis. Instead, they offered their Son an education centered in God’s will for His life. Thus, Jesus became a person of integrity whose character was pleasing both to God as well as to everyone who knew Him.

Jesus’ mind was very receptive, soaking up everything His mother taught Him. Jesus faithfully attended the synagogue with His parents every Sabbath. Then, during the week he had the opportunity to discuss with His parents the stories of Creation, Noah and the Flood, Moses and the Passover angel, Abraham and Isaac, and many other captivating accounts about people of faith.

The Boy asked thought-provoking questions that His mother couldn’t always answer. Mary answered Him according to her understanding of the Scriptures. The great day would come when Jesus would turn 12. Then the family would travel to the Temple in Jerusalem, and Jesus could address His difficult questions to the religious teachers there.

Mary treasured in her heart the memory of the events that preceded and followed the miraculous birth of her Son. These stories included personal visits of angels and shepherds and rich kings following a star—evidence of God’s guidance in their lives.

Jesus’ mother told Him of His divine origins as announced to her by Angel Gabriel. As He read from the Scriptures the prophecies about the coming of the Messiah, Jesus must have paid special attention, thinking of how He Himself is the fulfillment of these prophecies.

Carefully this gentle mother did her best to raise the Son of God. She quietly cherished the knowledge that He was the Messiah everyone was looking for, the future King of kings and Lord of lords. But this truth was kept by Jesus’ family until just the right time. God would choose the time and the way to impress hearts about this great truth.

Until then, the best way for the Son of God to learn how to be a good king was to live like the common people did, so He could understand the challenges that everyone faced.

The Boy Jesus honored God and had a strong relationship with His heavenly Father. He was an obedient Son to His parents, a good student, and a kind young man to everyone He encountered. He not only had friends His own age, but even the grown-ups in the town loved Him. Can you guess why? Because He treated everyone with respect. He treated others as He would want to be treated— the same way His earthly father treated his customers in the carpenter shop.