And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem…
The life of the child is threefold. It is lived not in the world; it is the life of home, and church, and school. Think of Jesus in His child-life as a pattern for Christian children.
I. HOME LIFE.
1. Obedience to parents. This is a prime principle in home life — the germ of all other obedience, social and national A habit of life which is needful, in order that we may be led to obedience to Christ.
2. Subjection to home authority. Too much self-will now-a-days in children; they are impatient of restraint, want to be their own masters, to strike out walks of life when very young. Our Lord probably wrought at His reputed father's trade. Anyhow, He was subject to His parents, i.e.
(1) Never gainsaid their authority.
(2) Never crossed their wishes.
(3) Never questioned their right to His time.
(4) Never murmured or rebelled against them in word or deed.
II. CHURCH LIFE.
1. Religion is for children as well as for those grown up. Children are members of Christ's Church, and should be trained as such.
2. Like the Jews, let us early teach children Holy Scripture. We are more favoured than they, in having the gospel to impart to our little ones.
3. Child-life is passed, as it were, between the font and the holy table. With confirmation child-life, strictly speaking, ends.
4. Let the child ever be taught to look forward with longing and hope to the time when he may go up to the great Christian feast, Holy Communion.
5. Let religious duties be made a custom, so that, as with Jesus, they may be instinctively kept up in later years of manhood.
III. SCHOOL LIFE.. Education a question of the day. Religious education the only legitimate form for a Christian child. But the child's part is in accepting and seeking knowledge.
1. Children must be content to learn. Teaching is necessary. Even Jesus received instruction.
2. Children should be encouraged to inquire into things.
(Thos. H. Barnett.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.