Christianity 101

Chapter III / Nazareth

Nazareth, about 55 miles from Jerusalem, was called “the White City” because all the buildings were made of white stone brought from nearby quarries. There were no trains or hyperloops, so travel to and from mostly consisted of your feet or your donkey.

Joseph was a rich man. Rich in the same sense that I tell our children we’re rich: “we’re wealthy because we have a deep love for one another and our lives are filled with a variety of experiences and service to others.”

As far as rich in the ‘having a lot of money’ sense, Joseph was not a rich man. What this meant was that he couldn’t afford to send his son Jesus to rich kid’s school in Jerusalem, where he could be educated by the super smart rabbis. Instead, he was educated at home. Along with learning about carpentry, he learned about his people’s history and beliefs and about the Commandments, prayer, the Sabbath, and the good Laws and customs that every Jew must follow.

Of course, Jesus was a kid, as every person must be at some point, which meant he was also good at doing things kids do, like play. Except...except he didn’t join in with the other children in their games as he grew up. He would hang out in the synagogue whenever he could and listen to the old men tell stories and discuss the Bible.

When Jesus turned twelve, it was time for him to be confirmed and instructed in the Law. Part of the confirmation process was a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to experience the Passover Feast. Many had camels or donkeys to make the trip. Jesus did not, so he walked the 55 miles with his parents on foot.

When you imagine going someplace you’ve never been before, you usually have a picture in your head of how it’s going to be and what it’s going to look like, and you’re usually wrong. That’s the way things go. But when Jesus entered the City of God, he had an especially crushing reality check: this was not the place he had grown up learning about and dreaming to visit. It was a place filled with Roman soldiers and noise and people from all over...and the Temple - the House of of God - was filled with livestock being offered for sale as sacrifices and money changers negotiating with pilgrims and…

...long and boring stories. Sorry, there’s no other way to say it effectively. The Temple, the great place where the great rabbis gathered to discuss the Law, had the rabbi present. They were there. But their explanations and stories were long and difficult to understand.

After returning to Nazareth, Jesus had a great deal to think about. He turned his focus to studying the Book of Daniel - and specifically, his focus on the coming of the Messiah and what it might mean.

Remember:

Nazareth, confirmation, pilgrimage, Passover, Jerusalem, book of Daniel

Notes

In the wonderful Roald Dahl book Matilda, the villainous Principal. Trunchbull has many extreme views on the idiocy of childhood that she screams to her young pupils:


''Small people should never be seen by anybody. They should be kept out of sight in boxes like hairpins and buttons. I cannot for the life of me see why children have to take so long to grow up. I think they do it on purpose.''

Thank goodness she wasn’t Jesus’ nanny.

read chapter 3 “Nazareth”