October 8, 2021
Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and people. Luke 2:52 NLT
Did you ever wonder if Jesus went to school? I’ve always had a brain that is wired with a great deal of curiosity, and I’ve wondered about that starting back when I was in grade school myself. Since the Bible doesn’t say whether He went to school or not, I did some research on it. (This is a good place to say that if you primarily consider the Bible the “Answer Book,” a history book, a science book, a parenting manual—any of those things and more—you’re going to be disappointed. It was never intended to be those things. It was and is a conversation led by the Spirit between God and people to develop intimacy with our Creator and Savior. I so love to talk about that!) Scholars believe that Jesus likely followed the pattern of the Jewish culture of the day.
When Jesus was probably about six years old, like every other six-year-old Jewish boy, He would have gone to the local synagogue school called Bet Sefer. Only boys went—girls were not permitted. They attended school for five or six days a week. The teacher taught students the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, along with some other general education. On the first day of school, the rabbi would give each boy a taste of honey and say, “May the words of God be sweet to your taste, sweeter than honey to your mouth” (Psalm 119:103). When He was 10 to 14 years old, Jesus would have learned the rest of the Old Testament Scriptures all the way to Malachi. He was obviously a very capable and engaged student. Remember when Jesus was in the Temple and His parents thought He was lost? They found Him as a twelve-year-old, dialoguing with the teachers, asking questions and listening. When He was around 14 to 15 years old, if He wanted and His family agreed, He could have found a respected and knowledgeable rabbi to teach Him. He would have studied with this rabbi until age 30, the age of beginning rabbis. Jesus was 30 years old when He started His ministry, according to biblical records. He is called rabbi 13 times in the New Testament and teacher 41 times, which also means rabbi.
That very well could have been the path Jesus followed. We aren’t told. But we know that His most significant learning came at home with His parents, mother Mary and stepfather Joseph. Luke 5:51-52 tells us, “Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And His mother stored all these things in her heart. Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.” He grew in wisdom: intellectual growth; He grew in stature:
physical growth: He grew in favor with God: spiritual growth; and in favor with man: social growth. His parents, two ordinary, humble inexperienced people, in a sleepy, disrespected town named Nazareth, were His primary teachers—He listened and obeyed. No matter what other education you enable your children to get, they will never get anything more significant than what you teach them with your own lives in your own home.
- Father, what a privilege is mine! Help me be teacher of the year to my own kids!