I am begining a new semester here at BYU-Idaho. I am taking a class studying the New Testament, something I’m very excited about. I had the option of creating a blog to ‘record’ my progress, or add to an existing one. I figured it would be a good way to get me blogging again. Here goes!
Being the first week of New Testament, we are studying the birth and childhood of the Savior. I have always found that thinking about Christ as a child seems to produce some interesting questions. I wondered if he ever got into trouble as a child. Did Joseph and Mary have to deal with the ‘terrible two’s?’ At what point did Christ realize his spiritual identity as the Son of God? Lots of questions!
We learn from Jesus the Christ the the Savior, in an act of humility and subservience to God, subjected himself to the veil. He came to the earth under the same circumstances that all of us come, naked and without prior knowledge. The institute manual has an appropriate quote from President Joseph Fielding Smith:
“Without a doubt, Jesus came into the world subject to the same condition as was required of each of us-he forgot everything, and he had to grow from grace to grace. His forgetting, or having his former knowledge taken away, would be requisite just as it is in the case of each of us, to complete the present temporal existence.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 1: 33. Italics added.)
From what little information is available about the Savior as a child, we learn that he quickly grew into a spiritual young man. We learn in the Doctrine and Covenants that John testifies that the savior received “not of the fullness at the first, but he received grace for grace, until he received a fullness.” (D&C 93:13) The savior went through a learning process, obtaining knowledge as any of us would.
The Savior was baptized, and received of the Holy Ghost. In very plain language we learn these things, that we now understand to be the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel; and the Savior was example of them all.
We learn that the Savior, from an early age, sought inspiration from his Father. In the inspired version of the Bible, we read that “Jesus grew up with his brethren, and waxed strong, and waited upon the Lord for the time of his ministry to come… And he served under his father, and he spake not as other men, neither could he be taught; for he needed not that any man should teach him.”
The institute manual points out a thought that I’ve had in the past. There is a strong possibility that the Savior sought learning from the Jewish Rabbi’s of his area at an early age. Luke, chapter 2 details the account of Christ’s earthly parents loosing sight of him for several days, at which point they find him in the temple teaching and ministering to the ‘doctors’ and rabbi’s “both hearing them, and asking them questions.”
I love reading about the Savior in his earliest years. It strengthens my testimony of his divine mission knowing that he from such a young age was aware of his calling in life. He was a perfect example; of which I am eternally grateful.