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Published by glennpease

By William W. Landrum, D. D.,

"Wist ye not that I should be in my Father's house." — Luke 2: 49.

By William W. Landrum, D. D.,

"Wist ye not that I should be in my Father's house." — Luke 2: 49.

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 08, 2013
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CONSECRATED CHILDHOODBy William W. Landrum, D. D.,"Wist ye not that I should be in my Father's house." — Luke 2: 49.DO you know, my friends, that these are the first recorded wordsof the Lord Jesus? How touching in their simplicity andhow profound in their spiritual depth! And these words camefrom a boy only twelve years old.At that age his parents took Jesus with them to the great feastof the Passover. The age of twelve years was a critical time for aJewish boy. It was the age, according to Jewish legend, whenMoses left the house of Pharaoh^s daughter; when Samuel heardthe voice which summoned him to the office of prophet ; when Solo-mon gave the judgment VA'hich first revealed his wisdom; whenJosiah first dreamed of his great reform. At this age every boywas obliged, by the injunction of the rabbis and the custom of thenation, to learn a trade for his own support; at this age he so fargained freedom from parental authority that they could no longersell him as a slave ; at this age he became what was called "a, son of the Lord," and was confirmed as a regular member of the congre-gation.Jesus as a boy in Jerusalem catches his first glimpse of thegreat outer world. Jerusalem is distant from Xazareth abouteighty miles, and the journey from the one to the other required alittle m.ore than three davs. Crowds bv the thousands, and even212 THE AMERICAN BAPTIST PULPIT..tens of thousands, flocked to the Passover. The city could not ac-commodate them. I^umbers of pilgrims dwelt in temporary boothsmade of mats and wicker work and interwoven leaves. The scene atthe Passover was not unlike the old-fashioned Southern "camp-meeting" which many of us remember. The feast lasted a week; itwas a glorious revival v/eek. When the meeting "broke up/' as we
say, the vast caravan, with their mules and horses and asses andcamels, would clear away their "tents" and start on the homeward journey. It was a glad time. The road was enlivened by mirth andmusic. There they move along, the veiled women and the statelyold men mounted, while the young men with long staffs in theirliands lead along the beasts of burden. The boys and girls some-times walk and play by the side of their parents, and sometimes,when tired, get a lift on the horse or mule. The slow travel wascheered by the sound of drums and timbrels. The pauses at noonwere picnics by the springing well or flowing stream. When Josephand Mary moved away from the city with the crowd the boy Jesus,absorbed in new and elevating emotions, remained behind. A daywent by before they discovered his loss. The next, in alarm andanguish, they retrace their steps. They went everywhere huntingfor the missing boy, and found him at last in the temple talkingto a group of old ministers on the kingdom of God. Mary hismother reproached him : "My child, why doth thou treat us thus ?See thy father and I were seeking thee with aching hearts." Andthen followed his answer, one of calm, respectful dignity : "Did yenot know that I must be in my Father's house ?"Memorable words those ! Do j^ou know that right then and theregleamed forth four revelations? There in the temple of Jehovahwas made a revelation of God to the boy, a revelation of the boy tohimself, a revelation of the boy to the ministers, and a revelation of the boy to his mother.In the first revelation God was disclosed to the boy. On his firstvisit to the temple of God, I say, Jesus caught his first sufficientview of God. I do not mean it was the first time Jesus worshippedJehovah. In the home of Joseph there was a family altar, as inevery pious Jewish home. In that home private prayer was theCOXSECRATED CHILDHOOD. 21.3privilege and duty of every member of the family morning, noon,and evening. I do not mean that it was the first time Jesn5 ''wentto church,'^ as we should say. Without doubt he regularly attended
the worship of the svnagogue at Xazareth. Eabbis believed childrenas young as five years of age should not only participate in divineservice, but be able to read the law. TN'hat I mean to say is this :Here in Jerusalem, when only twelve years of age, the boy Jesusc^me to a personal realization of the character of God and of theclaims which God had upon him. As it was springtime in the city,with buds bursting and flowers blooming everwhere, so there wasspringtime in the garden of Jesus' heart. The seeds of truthdropped into it in infancy and watered with tears of mother love,and warmed with the sunsliine of God's spirit, now come up andcome out to view in freshness and beauty. Then, for the first time,so far as we are informed by the Word, the soul of the boy awoke tosee and know God as he is known only to pure and loving hearts.God revealed himself to Jesus in the temple as ^'the Father." Thetemple became to Jesus ''My Fathers house."If you will study God's disclosures of himself to the ancientprophet* you will find it was gradual. The Old Testament showswhat is called a progressive development of the doctrine of God.God is first seen as the all-powerful. God is first discovered by achild as the maker of the universe, shining in the sun, roaring inthe storm, the sea and thunder, and whirling the world onward inits revolutions. God is next seen by the child as "all- justice." Heis the embodiment of law. God commands us to do certam thingsand not to do certain other things ; he rewards obedience and pun-ishes disobedience. Then God appears to the child as **all-holiness."He requires a clean heart: he looks witliin as weU as without; he judges disposition as well as conduct. All along there is theologicalprogress, but this is about as near as God ever gets to an unsavedsoul. When God is known merely as the all-powerful, aU-just, all-holy one, the feeling excited are not those of the saved. What canthey be but dread, awe, fear, or even repulsion and hatred ? Theremust be a fuller manifestation of the divine character. The aU-loving must appear. It is only when God comes to us as love or214 THE AMERICAN BAPTIST PULPIT.

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