In something more than a year after the return to Nazareth the boy Jesus arrived at the age of his first personal and wholehearted moral decision; and there came to abide with him an Indwelling Spirit, a divine gift of the Paradise Father (detailed in the Urantia Book), which had aforetime served with Machiventa Melchizedek, thus gaining the experience of functioning in connection with the incarnation- of a super-mortal being living in the likeness of mortal flesh. This event occurred on February 11, 2 B.C. Jesus was no more aware of the coming of the divine Monitor than are the millions upon millions of other children who, before and since that day, have likewise received these indwelling Spirits to _indwell their minds and work for the ultimate spiritualization of these minds and the eternal survival of their evolving immortal souls.
On this day in February the direct and personal supervision of the Universe Rulers, as it was related to the integrity of the childlike incarnation of Michael, terminated. From that time on throughout the human unfolding of “`the incarnation, the guardianship of Jesus was destined to rest in the keeping of this Indwelling Spirit and the associated seraphic guardians, supplemented from time to time by the ministry of midway creatures assigned for the performance of certain definite duties in accordance with the instruction of their planetary superiors.
Jesus was five years old in August of this year, and we will, therefore, refer to this as his fifth (calendar) year of life. In this year, 2 B.C., a little more than one month before his fifth birthday anniversary, Jesus was made very happy by the coming of his sister Miriam, who was born on the night of July 11. During the evening of the following day Jesus had a long talk with his father concerning the manner in which various groups of living things are born into the world as separate individuals. The most valuable part of Jesus’ early education was secured from his parents in answer to his thoughtful and searching inquiries. Joseph never failed to do his full duty in taking pains and spending time answering the boy’s numerous questions. From the time Jesus was five years old until he was ten, he was one continuous question mark. While Joseph and Mary could not always answer his questions, they never failed fully to discuss his inquiries and in every other possible way to assist him in his efforts to reach a satisfactory solution of the problem which his alert mind had suggested.
Since returning to Nazareth, theirs had been a busy household, and Joseph had been unusually occupied building his new shop and getting his business started again. So fully was he occupied that he had found no time to build a cradle for James, but this was corrected long before Miriam came, so that she had a very comfortable crib in which to nestle while the family admired her. And the child Jesus heartily entered into all these natural and normal home experiences. He greatly enjoyed his little brother and his baby sister and was of great help to Mary in their care.
There were few homes in the gentile world of those days that could give a child a better intellectual, moral, and religious training than the Jewish homes of Galilee. These Jews had a systematic program for rearing and educating their children. They divided a child’s life into seven stages:
- The newborn child, the first to the eighth day.
- The suckling child.
- The weaned child.
- The period of dependence on the mother, lasting up to the end of the fifth year.
- The beginning independence of the child and, with sons, the father assuming responsibility for their education.
- The adolescent youths and maidens.
- The young men and the young women.
It was the custom of the Galilean Jews for the mother to bear the responsibility for a child’s training until the fifth birthday, and then, if the child were a boy, to hold the father responsible for the lad’s education from that time on. This year, therefore, Jesus entered upon the fifth stage of a Galilean Jewish child’s career, and accordingly on August 21, 2 B.C., Mary formally turned him over to Joseph for further instruction.
Though Joseph was now assuming the direct responsibility for Jesus’ intellectual and religious education, his mother still interested herself in his home training. She taught him to know and care for the vines and flowers growing about the garden walls which completely surrounded the home plot. She also provided on the roof of the house (the summer bedroom) shallow boxes of sand in which Jesus worked out maps and did much of his early practice at writing Aramaic, Greek, and later on, Hebrew, for in time he learned to read, write, and speak, fluently, all three languages.
Jesus appeared to be a well-nigh perfect child physically and continued to make normal progress mentally and emotionally. He experienced a mild digestive upset, his first minor illness, in the latter part of this, his fifth (calendar) year.
Though Joseph and Mary often talked about the future of their eldest child, had you been there, you would only have observed the growing up of a normal, healthy, carefree, but exceedingly inquisitive child of that time and place.
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