The Jewish teachers made many rules for the people, and required them to do many things that God had not commanded. Even the children had to learn and obey these rules. But Jesus did not try to learn what the rabbis taught. He was careful not to speak disrespectfully of these teachers, but He studied the Scriptures, and obeyed the laws of God.
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Often He was reproved for not obeying what others did. Then He showed from the Bible what was the right way.
Jesus was always trying to make others happy. Because He was so kind and gentle, the rabbis hoped to make Him do as they did. But they could not. When urged to obey their rules He asked what the Bible taught. Whatever that said, He would do.
This made the rabbis angry. They knew that their rules were contrary to the Bible, and yet they were displeased with Jesus for refusing to obey them.
They complained of Him to His parents. Joseph and
Mary thought the rabbis good men, and Jesus suffered blame, which was hard to bear.
The brothers of Jesus took sides with the rabbis. The words of these teachers, they said, should be heeded as the word of God. They reproved Jesus for setting Himself above the leaders of the people.
The rabbis thought themselves better than other men, and they would not associate with the common people. The poor and ignorant they despised. Even the sick and suffering they left without hope or comfort.
Jesus showed a loving interest in all men. Every suffering one whom He met, He tried to help. He had little money to give, but He often denied Himself of food in order to help others.
When His brothers spoke harshly to poor, wretched beings, Jesus would go to these very ones and speak words of kindness and encouragement.
To those who were hungry and thirsty, He would bring a cup of cold water, and often would give them the food intended for His own meal.
All this displeased His brothers. They threatened and tried to terrify Him, but He kept right on, doing as God had said.
Many were the trials and temptations that Jesus had to meet. Satan was always watching to overcome Him.
If Jesus could have been led to do one wrong act, or to speak one impatient word, He could not have been our Saviour, and the whole world would have been lost. Satan knew this, and it was for this reason that he tried so hard to lead Jesus into sin.
The Saviour was always guarded by heavenly angels,
yet His life was one long struggle against the powers of darkness. Not one of us will ever have to meet such fierce temptations as He did.
But to every temptation He had one answer: "It is written." The wrongdoing of His brothers He did not often rebuke, but He told them what God had said.
Nazareth was a wicked town, and the children and youth tried to have Jesus follow their evil ways. He was bright and cheerful, and they liked His company.
But His godly principles roused their anger. Often for refusing to join in some forbidden act, He was called a coward. Often He was sneered at, as being altogether too particular about little things. To all this His answer was: "It is written." "The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding." Job 28:28. To love evil is to love death, for "the wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23.
Jesus did not contend for His rights. When roughly used, He bore it patiently. Because He was so willing and uncomplaining, His work was often made needlessly hard. Yet He was not discouraged for He knew that God smiled upon Him.
His happiest hours were found when alone with nature and with God. When His work was done, He loved to go into the fields, to meditate in the green valleys, to pray to God on the mountainside, or amid the trees of the forest.
He listened to the lark carolling forth music to its Creator, and His voice joined the song of joyful praise and thanksgiving.
With the voice of singing He welcomed the morning light. The break of day often found Him in some quiet
place, thinking about God, studying the Bible, or in prayer.
From these peaceful hours He would return to His home to take up His duties again, and to give an example of patient toil. Wherever He was, His presence seemed to bring the angels near. The influence of His pure, holy life was felt by all classes of people.
Harmless and undefiled, He walked among the thoughtless, the rude, the uncourteous; amid the unjust taxgatherers, the reckless prodigals, the unrighteous Samaritans, the heathen soldiers, and the rough peasants.
He spoke a word of sympathy here, and a word there, as He saw men weary, yet compelled to bear heavy burdens. He shared their burdens, and repeated to them the lessons He had learned from nature, of the love, the kindness, the goodness of God.
He taught them to look upon themselves as having precious talents, which if rightly used would gain for them eternal riches. By His own example He taught that every moment of time is of value, and should be put to some good use.
He passed by no human being as worthless, but tried to encourage the roughest and most unpromising. He told them that God loved them as His children, and that they might become like Him in character.
So in a quiet way
Jesus from His very childhood worked for others. This work none of the learned
teachers, nor even His own brothers, could make Him give up. With an earnest
purpose He carried out the design of His life, for He was to be the light of