Greetings MOL Family!
Welcome back to our study on the home training plan. I want us to look at the lessons we can learn from the life of Jesus, first as a child and youth in the home at Nazareth; and then second, in the type of training He shared with His disciples…
In the Home of Christ
Let’s look at this home that Jesus was in. You might not think of it as a training home such as we have, but the more you look at it, the more you’ll see at least some of the problems and opportunities in our homes were those He had.
Let’s turn to Mark 6:3. From this verse, I want to get a picture of the members of the home. Suppose you had a photograph of all the people in the home that Jesus was a member of, how many people would there be? Count them up here; those that are mentioned and those that you know other than that. How many people would there be in that home that Jesus was a member of.
Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. – Mark 6:3
We’ll start with Joseph, he’s the oldest; and then Mary. How many brothers? — Four. That would be six. How many sisters? — At least two. We do not know how many more. That would make eight. And then Jesus, that’s nine.
In order that each one would have the greatest opportunity, each one had a room of his own, didn’t they? We’re going to read something, in the book Christ’s Object Lessons, in the chapter on the lost sheep and the lost coin. It’s called “This Man Receiveth Sinners”:
In the East the houses of the poor usually consisted of but one room, often windowless and dark. – Christ’s Object Lessons, pg. 192
Sister White is commenting on that parable of the lost piece of silver, how the woman had to light the candle and sweep the floor diligently. What was the social status, the economic status of Joseph and Mary? Were they rich or poor? They were poor. They’re called peasants. Well, let’s put all this together. Here is a poor home, perhaps only one room. We can’t guarantee that, but that’s the probability. And how many people in there? — At least nine. You can see at least one more reason than is usually thought of why Christ went out under a tree to have His private devotions, can’t you?
Now, let’s look at some other things. Who were James and Joses and these other boys? What relation were they to Jesus? They weren’t half brothers; they were step brothers. They were older. If you don’t know the proof on that, you’ll find it in Desire of Ages. You read those chapters on the child life of Jesus, and you’ll find that it plainly says that they were older. They were the sons of Joseph by a previous marriage.
Did they take a special interest in making life easy for Jesus? No. He had some difficulties living in that home. And let me say this to you, dear friends, sometimes we think if we’re not careful, that if the food were a little more expensive, and the carpet a little thicker, and the rooms a bit more spacious, and there weren’t so many people, that it would be better. Well, maybe so; maybe not.
Don’t forget that Jesus is the only Person who ever lived in this world that had the opportunity to pick out, before He came, the place in which He would be born and live. Is that right? Would you’ve picked out a home like He picked out? Why on earth did He do it? He was to make a demonstration. But, I want you to notice this statement here in Desire of Ages:
The parents of Jesus were poor, and dependent upon their daily toil. – The Desire of Ages, pg. 72
What does it mean they were “dependent upon their daily toil?” Well, if they didn’t work they didn’t eat. This was before the days of the new deal and the great society and a few more schemes that keep people from learning practical lessons.
The parents of Jesus were poor and dependent upon their daily toil. He was familiar with poverty, self-denial, and privation. – Ibid
What does privation mean? — Doing without. Oh friends, sometimes when I think of it, literally millions of our children and our young people today have never known what it means to be without something, never known. But Jesus did.
This experience was a safeguard to Him. In His industrious life there were no idle moments to invite temptation. No aimless hours opened the way for corrupting associations. …
Christ was the only sinless one who ever dwelt on earth; yet for nearly thirty years He lived among the wicked inhabitants of Nazareth. This fact is a rebuke to those who think themselves dependent upon place, fortune, or prosperity, in order to live a blameless life. Temptation, poverty, adversity, is the very discipline needed to develop purity and firmness. – Ibid
Now, this doesn’t mean that we need to get our children off their beds and down on the floor. I doubt if any of us would do that. But, dear friends, I emphasize this because unless we’re careful we get the idea that it would be desirable if we had more money or the things that money can buy. And ofttimes God is leading those who would be willing to be led in the opposite direction. He did with His Son. Let’s read on:
Jesus lived in a peasant’s home, and faithfully and cheerfully acted His part in bearing the burdens of the household. – Ibid
He bore what? — The burdens of the household.
He had been the Commander of heaven, and angels had delighted to fulfill His word; now He was a willing servant, a loving, obedient son. He learned a trade, and with His own hands worked in the carpenter’s shop with Joseph. In the simple garb of a common laborer He walked the streets of the little town, going to and returning from His humble work. – Ibid
Oh, what a picture, Jesus going to and from His work. Let’s take Ministry of Healing, and let’s see what He got in this home. What did Jesus get in this home? He got His education.
Jesus secured His education in the home. – Ministry of Healing, pg. 399
Interestingly enough, most people today would consider that He was underprivileged. The physical surroundings, the size of the library in the school, the qualifications of the teacher, all would be suspect. The relative amount of time spent with books and with work wouldn’t be looked upon favorably. Am I correct? But Jesus got what? He got His education.
Now, there are two results. I want to stop right here. We’ll come back to this statement. Turn over please to the gospel of John and we want to see an interesting statement here in John 7. This is speaking of Jesus, of course, after He was grown and entered upon His work:
Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. – John 7:14
What was Jesus doing? — Teaching. Teaching where? Off in some hillbilly school? Off in the sticks somewhere where people that didn’t know better would listen to Him? Where was He teaching? — In the temple. What was the temple educationally? It was the center of learning for the Jewish people, as well as the center of religion for the Jewish church. And here Jesus is doing what? — teaching.
And the Jews marveled saying, How knows this man letters, having never learned? – John 7:15
What was their reaction? They marveled. They were amazed. I suppose some of them were amazed at His daring to set Himself forth as a teacher when He had never what? — Never learned. Now, this doesn’t mean that He didn’t know how to read and write. You know He did. It just means that He hadn’t been to their schools. He had never come up through the conventional system.
It’s amazing to me how so many people can read this and make no application of it to the present at all. It’s just some bit of history. But the lessons for you and me are tremendous.
Now, I want to ask you something. If God has given you the responsibility either with your own children or with the children and youth of other homes, do you want to give them the type of training that Jesus received that prepared Him for His ministry? Do you? The Lord grant it. But I want to tell you something. You’ll never do it trying to tack it onto the conventional system. You’ll never accomplish it.
In the days of Christ the town or city that did not provide for the religious instruction of the young was regarded as under the curse of God. – The Desire of Ages, pg. 69
Did they have schools back there? Oh, yes. Do you know what those schools were? They were the lineal descendants of the schools of the prophets. That’s right. If you would take the teachers who were teaching in those schools, you’d find that most of them had been taught by somebody who was taught by somebody, who was taught by somebody, who was taught by somebody, and on back to Elisha, and Elijah, and Samuel. They had a goodly heritage. The next word is “yet.”
Yet the teaching had become formal. Tradition had in a great degree supplanted the Scriptures. – Ibid
What does supplanted mean? — Took the place of it. But I want to tell you something: even with all that, the Jewish child got three times as much Bible as most of our children ever get. The Jewish child, by the time he was 12 years old, knew by memory Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Do you know any child that knows even half that amount of Bible from Genesis to Revelation? Do you? So, if you’d ask a Jewish child, “What about Genesis? What about Exodus? What about anything in the Old Testament?” They could have told you. They weren’t ignorant of the Bible.
Tradition had in a great degree supplanted the Scriptures. – Ibid
What’s tradition? — Human ideas, human teaching. And so along with the Bible they taught what Rabbi So and So had said that this text means.
Tradition had in a great degree supplanted the Scriptures. – Ibid
I want to speak of something, and I do it freely for I don’t know what you do in your home. And if I tread on a corn, I was going to say, you’ll forgive me, won’t you? But we have come to a day when in thousands of Adventist homes, family worship consists in reading a formal, uninspired comment on the text of Scripture; morning, after morning, after morning. Do you know what I’m talking about? We have our devotional books, and I say, thousands of Seventh-day Adventists morning by morning open some devotional book, and read the text for the day, and the comment from Elder So and So, or Elder So and So.
Well, you say, “What’s wrong about that, Brother?” I will not say it’s wrong. I will not say it’s better than nothing. I will say, folks, that what we need is fresh manna from Heaven. We need inspired words to inspire us and our families. That’s it. And if this disturbs our mind, let it be as the plow disturbs the ground. Why does the plow disturb the ground? Well, what’s the purpose of it? — To get something to grow.
Yet the teaching had become formal. Tradition had in a great degree supplanted the Scriptures. True education would lead the youth to ‘seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him.’ Acts 17:27. But the Jewish teachers gave their attention to matters of ceremony. The mind was crowded with material that was worthless to the learner, and that would not be recognized in the higher school of the courts above. – Ibid
Are your students ever exposed to the slur, the innuendo, or the questions over the fact that the education they’re getting won’t be recognized? Do they have that to meet? Yes, lift their vision. Get their eyes on something so far above that, that that kind of talk will never worry them. The reason Jesus didn’t go to the established schools of His time is simply this: a lot of what they were studying wouldn’t be recognized in the higher school — the school of Heaven. That was what He was interested in.
Are you and your family climbing for higher heights? Admission has already been paid; enroll in the school of Christ, today!
Until next week – Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.