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A Synopsis of Paper 128: Jesus' Early Manhood

By the time Jesus was twenty-one, he had learned to blend his two natures, the divine and the human. He studied, gained experience, and developed wisdom just as other people do. Not until after his baptism did Jesus tap into his divine powers; he wanted to live life as a normal mortal.

When Simon graduated from school, the family members agreed to diversify their trades. Simon began work as a stone mason with Jacob. James worked at the caravan repair shop, and Joseph did carpentry at the work bench at home. Jesus spent some time working in a metal shop in Sepphoris, where he had the chance to study the gentile way of life.

By patient planning, Jesus made his withdrawal from active participation in family affairs. He made James the acting head of the family before he left for Sepphoris. Jesus returned to Nazareth after six months, but he never again assumed leadership of the family.  

In 17 AD, Simon came of age and Jesus took him to Jerusalem for the Passover. Later that year, Jesus spent four months in Damascus as the guest of a merchant he had met in Philadephia. This merchant was interested in establishing a school of religious philosophy and wanted Jesus to tour the educational institutions of the world as preparation for becoming the head teacher of this new school. Another offer was extended by a company of Jews in Alexandria, who wanted Jesus to begin as assistant chazan in their main synagogue. He refused both positions.

In 18 AD, James and Miriam each approached Jesus about the possibility of their future marriages. It was decided that in two years time, if Joseph was ready to assume the leadership of the family and Martha could assume responsibilities of eldest daughter, that James could marry Esta, from Nazareth, and Miriam would wed Jacob, the stone mason.

The next year Jesus took Jude to Jerusalem for the Passover. There they witnessed a Roman guard making improper comments to a passing Jewish girl, and Jude expressed his resentment so directly that he was arrested and taken to prison. Jesus accompanied him. After two days in prison they were brought before a magistrate, and Jesus spoke on his brother's behalf. Hearing the circumstances of the arrest, the judge released Jude with a warning.

For years James had trouble with Jude, who didn't like to work and was not dependable in providing his share of the family's expenses. Jude was so prone to patriotic outbursts against the Romans that James and Joseph were inclined to cast him from the family. Jesus counseled patience, advising that Jude would learn a better way from observing their own wise behavior.

In 20 AD Miriam married Jacob and James married Esta. Jesus confided in James that he was preparing to leave home. The brothers signed a secret contract in which James accepted title to the repair shop in exchange for relieving Jesus from all future obligations for the finances of the family. Even so, Jesus continued to send home funds until his public ministry began.

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