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Christ’s Example in His Youth

By Mormon.org
Christ as a boy teaching in the temple

Life’s Mission

The story of young Jesus teaching in the temple is special in many ways. It is the only story we have about the Savior beyond His infancy and before His adulthood. It helps us see that even when He was as young as 12, He had an understanding of His life’s mission.

Like Jesus, we all have a mission and are an important thread in the fabric of humanity. By going to our Heavenly Father in prayer, we can gain an understanding of what He would have us do with our lives. Always, our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ would have us use our unique talents and abilities to serve and lift one another. We only need to ask Them how we should do it. When we discover what They would have us do, it has the potential to fill our lives with purpose and bring us happiness we haven’t known before.

Understanding Our Father’s Business

When Mary, after searching for Jesus for three days, found Him in the temple, she asked Him why He had left her and Joseph and caused them to worry about His whereabouts. His answer was simple and profound. He gently returned her question, asking her why she was looking for Him. He then explained that He had been about His Father’s business.

When we put forth our best efforts to love and serve one another, we can also be about our Heavenly Father’s business, which is us—all of us. We are His business. Everything about us matters to Him, and He wants us to feel His love and reach our potential. When we are engaged in God’s business, we are helping one another grow and feel loved and valued. When we serve each other, we are simultaneously showing Heavenly Father we love Him and we understand what He wants us to do with our lives.

Teaching with Questions

In the account of 12-year-old Christ teaching in the temple, we learn that Mary and Joseph found Him “sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.” Have you ever wondered if Christ was asking questions to learn or if He was asking questions to teach? In the next scriptural passage it says, “All that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.” This suggests the likelihood that Christ already had the answers and was using thought-provoking questions to teach and guide the learned men to discover more truth for themselves.

Even at a young age, Christ was a master teacher. It is said that as He grew, He “waxed strong in spirit,” was “filled with wisdom,” and that “the grace of God was upon him.” At his young age in the temple, He provided us with a wise example of how to teach.

Thought-provoking questions are very effective for teaching—even with small children. When those we teach think carefully through a question on their own, they are given the opportunity to obtain a stronger personal connection with principles of truth.

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Getting More from the Scriptures

When we study the life of the Savior, there are always deeper lessons and rich meaning to be found beneath the surface of the words in the scriptures. By reading accounts of the Savior’s life—no matter His age—and by asking ourselves questions about what we read, we can discover for ourselves the beautiful truths He shared throughout His life.