By Minister Riley Nelson
Richmond Hill Church of Christ
Jesus was born in Bethlehem just as the prophet Micah had foretold (Micah 5:2). In the first chapter of Matthew, Joseph the earthly father of Jesus is told about the coming Messiah and that he should not fear taking Mary to wife even though she was going to have a baby (Matt. 1:25ff). The king at that time was Herod. He had asked the wisemen to tell him where the child was, but they were told not to go back to tell the king the where abouts of the child (Matt. 2:12). Herod realizing, he had been fooled by the wisemen started having all the babies killed (Matt. 2:16). Joseph took his family and fled to the land of Egypt. It was not until the death of Herod that Joseph was told by God to bring his family back out of Egypt (Matt. 2:19, 20). When they had returned to Israel Joseph learned that Herod’s son Archelaus was on the throne. God warned Joseph in a dream and Joseph went to Galilee (Matt. 2:22ff).
Little is known of the childhood of Christ. Luke wrote about an occasion when Jesus was a young person (Luke 2). Joseph and Mary had brought Jesus with them to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover (Lk. 2:42). When Joseph and Mary’s time in Jerusalem had come to an end, they began the journey back to Nazareth (Lk. 2:43). In this time large numbers of Jews would travel together in groups. Assuming that Jesus was with the other members of the family and friends would not have been uncommon. They had traveled a day’s journey before Joseph and Mary began looking for Jesus. When they realized that He was not with them they returned to Jerusalem to find Him (Lk. 2:45). Imagine the anxiousness they had to feel when they could not find him. When they got back to Jerusalem they found Him in the temple, “sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions” (Lk. 2:46). A parent would have to have mixed emotions at this point, one to grab and hug the child, to discipline the child and then pride that he was able to speak with those men. When they asked Him why He had not stayed with His family Jesus replied, “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Lk. 2:48). The attitude shown by Jesus is the one that more young people should have today.
Many young people see religion as something just for adults. They do not realize that there is work in the kingdom of God to be done by all and there is plenty of work that young people can do for the Lord. Young people can invite their friends to come to the worship service with them. Youth of today can set the proper example before their friends, helping them to make right choices. Showing the way by example and encouraging others to come to services can help spread the boarders of the Kingdom. Evangelism comes in many forms, and this is one that really works.
Young people can work for the Lord in other ways. One might be helping older members of the church and older members of the community do things around their homes that they might not be able to do as easily as they once could. The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith (Gal. 6:10). So many older people need help and would enjoy having the younger people around.
Jesus set a great example for young people by showing that putting emphasis on spiritual things is important. Youth today are many times thought of in evil ways, but Christian youth can change the way the world sees young people.