To strengthen the children’s desire to be like Jesus Christ by increasing their knowledge of Jesus’ childhood.
Use paper and sticks to make a scroll as shown in picture 2-12, A Biblical School, and described in the lesson. Write on the scroll the words in Luke 2:52.
Prepare to sing or say the words to both verses of
“Jesus Once Was a Little Child” (Children’s Songbook, p. 55). If possible, ask the Primary music leader to help the children practice this song in singing time the week before and the week of this lesson.
Baby items such as a bottle, blanket, and rattle.
CTR chart (see lesson 1).
Picture 2-10, Biblical Family Life; picture 2-11, Childhood of Jesus Christ (Gospel Art Picture Kit 206; 62124); picture 2-12, A Biblical School; picture 2-13, Boy Jesus in the Temple (Gospel Art Picture Kit 205; 62500).
Make the necessary preparations for any enrichment activities you want to use.
Suggested Lesson Development
Invite a child to give the opening prayer.
Follow up with the children if you encouraged them to do something during the week.
Jesus Was Once a Child
Pass around the baby items and let the children look at and hold them. Explain what the items are used for. Point out that Jesus Christ was once a baby.
Do you think Jesus used items like these?
Point out that some of the things Jesus had when he was a baby were very similar to things the children used when they were babies. Some of the things were very different. Explain that in this lesson the children will learn about Jesus’ life when he was a child.
Jesus Had a Home
Display picture 2-10, Biblical Family Life. Tell the children that this is the kind of home that the people of Nazareth lived in. Nazareth is the town where Jesus grew up (see Matthew 2:23), and Jesus may have lived in a home like this one. Let the children study the picture, talk about it, and ask questions. If the children do not have questions, you may want to ask some like the following:
Where do you think the family slept? (Point out the mat the woman is putting away and the closet behind her that seems to hold other rolled mats. Explain that the roofs of the houses were flat, and steps on the outside of each house led up to the roof. Perhaps the children sometimes slept on the roof.)
Where did the baby in this home sleep? (Point out the cradle. Explain that Joseph was a carpenter and might have made a cradle like this one for the baby Jesus.)
What do you think the big jars were used for? (Some held water. All the water the family used was carried from the well in the village because there was no running water in the homes. A well is a deep hole in the ground with clean water in it.)
What is the woman who is sitting on the floor doing? (Grinding grain to make into bread.)
Since there was no electricity, how could they light this home? (They used oil lamps. Point out the lamp on the stool behind the woman grinding grain. Perhaps some of the jars held oil for the lamps.)
Display picture 2-11, Childhood of Jesus Christ.
Who are the people in this picture? (Jesus and Joseph.)
What are they doing?
Explain that Jesus probably helped Joseph with his work, and Joseph may have taught Jesus to be a carpenter like himself (see Mark 6:3).
What else do you think Jesus learned in his home?
Emphasize that in his home Jesus was told stories about the prophets, like the stories we read in the Bible. He was also taught to pray and to choose to do the right just as we are taught by our parents. Mary and Joseph believed in Heavenly Father just as we do.
Jesus Did Many Things as a Boy
Have the children hold out their hands. Mention different foods that they might eat. Tell the children to turn their palms up if they think Jesus ate that food and turn their palms down if they think he didn’t eat that food. Be sure to mention any foods the children eat that Jesus may have eaten, such as bread, fish, lamb, honey, grapes, figs, dates, and milk.
How do you think your childhood is different from Jesus’ childhood?
How do you think your childhood is similar to Jesus’ childhood?
Have the children discuss things they do that Jesus Christ may have done as a boy. For example, they may run errands, help their parents, go to school, take care of a baby, sing songs, play games, run races, or ride horses. Suggest that Jesus probably did these or similar things (for example, Jesus may never have ridden a horse, but he probably rode a donkey).
Jesus Studied the Scriptures
Show picture 2-12, A Biblical School. Explain that the young boys of Nazareth went to school at the synagogue, or church. The schoolteacher was head of the village synagogue. He was called a rabbi.
Have the children say rabbi together.
Explain that besides being taught at home, Jesus may have gone to a school like this one.
How is this school different from your school? (Answers might include the way the boys dressed, where they sat, and the tablets they wrote on.)
Explain that at this time little girls did not go to school. They were taught at home by their mothers.
Point out that the school does not have any books. In Jesus’ time, boys learned to read from scrolls. Have the children repeat the word scroll.
Show the children the scroll you have made. Explain that a scroll is a long strip of paper-like material with writing on it, fastened at each end to a stick. As one end is unrolled, the other is rolled up so a piece about the size of a page is visible. Demonstrate this with the scroll you have made. Then set the scroll aside until later in the lesson.
Explain that the scrolls the boys studied at school contained the teachings of the prophets who had lived before Jesus Christ was born. Show the part of the Bible that is the Old Testament. Tell the children that this part of the Bible contains some writings and stories that were on some of the scrolls.
Have a child point out the scroll the rabbi in the picture is holding and the scrolls in the box at his side. Explain that the boys learned to read and write from the scrolls. This could be compared to us learning to read and write from the Bible.
Show picture 2-13, Boy Jesus in the Temple, and tell the story found in Luke 2:41–50.
Help the children understand how worried and frightened Mary and Joseph were at the end of the first day’s travel when they could not find Jesus anywhere. They hurriedly returned to Jerusalem and looked for three days before they finally found him.
Where did Mary and Joseph find Jesus?
What was Jesus doing in the temple? (See Luke 2:46.)
Explain that Jesus was talking with men who had studied the scriptures a great deal. These men were surprised that Jesus knew so much. Read aloud Luke 2:47. Explain that astonished means surprised.
We Can Become More like Jesus Christ
Explain that Jesus returned to Nazareth with Mary and Joseph and grew up there. Pick up the scroll that you have made, and from it read Luke 2:52. Explain that increased means grew.
What does this scripture mean when it says Jesus grew in wisdom?
Explain to the children that each of them is also growing in wisdom, because they are learning to choose the right. Give several examples of how they are wiser now than they were a few months ago.
What does the last part of the verse mean when it says that Jesus increased “in favour with God”? (Heavenly Father was pleased because Jesus always did what Heavenly Father wanted him to do.)
How can you grow in favor with Heavenly Father?
Explain that Heavenly Father is pleased when we become more like Jesus. Jesus always chose the right.
How do you think Jesus would treat a child that others made fun of?
Have the children ask themselves, “How do I treat a child others make fun of?”
When young Jesus was playing and his mother or Joseph asked him to do something, what do you think he did?
Have the children ask themselves, “What do I do if I am playing and my mother or father asks me to do something?”
Explain that Jesus also “grew in favour” with other people (see Luke 2:52). They liked to be around him.
Would you have liked to have Jesus for your friend when he was a boy?
Display the CTR chart and have the children repeat the words on it: “I will choose the right.” Remind them that they become more like Jesus Christ when they choose the right.
With the children, sing or say the words to both verses of “Jesus Once Was a Little Child.” Explain any words the children are unfamiliar with. For example, vexed means upset. Jesus didn’t get upset when things didn’t go his way.
Testify that choosing the right and becoming like Jesus Christ will make us happy. Tell the children how thankful you are to have Jesus’ life as an example of how we should live.
Suggest to the children that Jesus’ childhood was probably in some ways much like their own. Encourage them to always choose the right, as Jesus did.
Invite a child to give the closing prayer.
Choose from the following activities those that will work best for the children in your class. You can use them in the lesson itself or as a review or summary. For additional guidance, see “Class Time” in “Helps for the Teacher.”
Measure the height of each child with string or yarn. Cut a piece of string or yarn to match each child’s height and let the child keep it. Remind the children that as their bodies grow, they should also grow in favor with God. They can do this by making good choices, as Jesus Christ did.
Help the children repeat Luke 2:52 with you a few times. Discuss specific choices they can make to enable them to grow in favor with Heavenly Father.
Bring a food that Jesus Christ probably ate, such as figs, grapes, dates, cheese, bread, nuts, or olives, and let the children taste it. Check with the children’s parents beforehand to make sure no child is allergic to the food you bring. (Do not bring food if you are teaching this lesson on fast Sunday.)
Discuss the things babies can do and compare them to what the children can do now. Ask questions such as the following:
Can a baby walk? Can you walk?
Can a baby talk? Can you talk?
Explain that as the children grow so does their ability to be more like the Savior by choosing the right.
Give each child a piece of salt dough (see recipe below) and let him or her construct a small bowl, vase, or other item that might have been used when Jesus Christ was a boy.
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 tablespoon oil
food coloring (optional)
Directions: Combine salt and flour. Add oil and enough water to give the mixture a claylike consistency. Add more water a little at a time until the mixture is pliable but not sticky. Knead slightly. If you wish to color dough, add food coloring to the water before adding the water to the salt and flour. Keep the dough in an airtight container.