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A Synopsis of Paper 123: The Early Childhood of Jesus

When Jesus was just over three years old, Joseph and Mary returned to their Nazareth home.  Joseph built a workshop close to the village spring. He made yokes and plows and worked with leather, rope, and canvas. Jesus' brother James was born in April, 3 BC. His sister Miriam was born in July, 2 BC.

Jesus' Thought Adjuster, which had previously served with Machiventa Melchizedek, arrived when Jesus was four and a half years old. When Jesus turned five, Joseph assumed responsibility for his son's education and started teaching Jesus from a Greek copy of the Hebrew scriptures.       

In the summer of 1 BC, Zacharias and Elizabeth brought John to visit Nazareth. Meeting his cousin prompted Jesus to become interested in the history of Israel and the Jewish rites and feasts. About this time Joseph began his career as a builder, working in Cana, Bethlehem, Magdala, Nain, Sepphoris, Capernaum, Endor and Nazareth. Jesus often accompanied Joseph in his work.

During this year, Joseph and Mary started to have concerns about how Jesus said his prayers. Jesus insisted on talking to his heavenly Father in the same way that he talked to Joseph. Since Jesus knew that this departure from reverent prayer was disconcerting to Mary, the boy would first say his prayers as he was taught, and then have "a little talk" with his Father. He learned to adjust his feelings and impulses to the demands of home and family. Joseph explained the reasons for curtailment of personal desires in deference to the welfare of the family, and when Jesus understood the situation he always willingly cooperated.

Jesus was a normal but inquisitive child. He liked to look at flowers and plants and stars. Jesus enjoyed playing with other children with wooden blocks and wood shavings in the carpentry shop. He administered a charity fund from the proceeds of a dovecote that Mary kept. Jesus was not immune from accidents. When he was seven, his fall from an outdoor staircase during a sandstorm caused Mary great anxiety.

His brother Joseph was born in March, 1 AD. In August Jesus entered formal school where he spent the next six years learning to read, write, and speak Hebrew. It was customary for a child to choose a birthday text at the onset of the school career. The passage Jesus chose was from Isaiah: "The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the meek, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and to set the spiritual prisoners free."

Joseph and Jesus enjoyed going for walks on Sabbath afternoons. When he was eight, Jesus learned to milk the cow, make cheese, and operate a loom. He enjoyed playing with clay at the potter's shop with his friend Jacob. Jesus did his school work so well that he was given a week off every month, which he usually spent either at an uncle's farm or on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. He developed a keen sense of numbers, distances, and proportions. Jesus liked music, and arranged to trade dairy products for lessons on the harp. In school he asked many questions, particularly about geography and astronomy.

A third brother, Simon, was born in April of 2 AD.

Nahor, a rabbi from Jerusalem, advised Joseph and Mary to send Jesus to Jerusalem for his education. Mary supported the plan, but Joseph hesitated. When Jesus was asked his opinion of the matter, he told Nahor that he felt he should remain at home with his parents because they loved him and could guide him more safely than strangers.

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