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ing of his purpose and fled with his family to Egypt, immediately after the wise men left.
If you see a bright star near the horizon and go towards it, it seems to recede from you, and when you stop, it seems to stop also.
We are told by astronomers that there was about that time a conjunction of the three planets Jupiter, Saturn and Mars—that is, they came so nearly the same point in the heavens, from our view point, that they seemed to be one star. Kepler says it occurred again in 1604. This might have been what the wise men saw.
In 1901 a very bright star appeared in the sky that faded away in about one year. Such occurrences are not uncommon. The wise men may have seen one of these.
We are told by Tacitus, Suetonius and Josephus that there prevailed throughout the East about this time an intense conviction that a powerful monarch would be born in Judea. Virgil, the Latin poet, who lived a short time before Jesus' time, says in his 4th Eclogue that “a child from heaven was looked for, who should restore the gold-age and take away sin.”
Jesus was called, in Hebrew, The Messiah; in Greek, The Christ. Both words mean the anointed one.
That is, he was endowed with power and authority. He was remarkable for three things especially: unselfishness, gentleness and devotion to Truth. Such a life as he led can never fade away, but must ever grow brighter and stronger in its influence.
1. Who were the wise men?
7. How was he a savior?
Lesson III.- Jan. 21.
LESSON KEY-NOTE:—“And Jesus advanced in wisdon, and in manliness, and in favor with God and men.”
Time:- Jesus went with his parents from Nazareth to Jerusalem to attend the feast of the Passover when he was in his 13th year, about March or April, A. D. 9.
Places:-Nazareth and Jerusalem.
Our New Testament gives very little of the life of Jesus-in fact, almost nothing—from the time of his birth until he was twelve years of age, and from that time until he came to be baptized by John when about thirty years old. But we have in the Apocryphal New Testament, the books that were rejected by the church councils when they made up our Bible, a full account of his life.
40. The grace of God and wisdom began to be-come apparent in his conduct and nature at an early day.
41, 42. The feast of the passover was to celebrate the anniversary of the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. At this time each family or gathering ate the paschal lamb, with bitter herbs. The lamb was roasted in the house and none of it must be left. But this was only part of the ceremonies of the festival. It all lasted seven days.
43, 44, 45. There was a caravan of them and Mary had many neighbors and kinsfolk along, with children. So Mary thought Jesus was with some of these children in the company. But when they camped the first night, she was alarmed to find he had been left behind. So they went back to try to find him.
46, 47. It took them a day to reach Jerusalem: again.. Then they searched the city over with the aid of the police for three days before they found him. Mary was almost distracted; but Joseph was sort of stolid about it. He said it wasn't his kid, anyhow. They found him in the temple, with his fresh inspiration from the Infinite, confusing the old priests so with his questions and answers that they did not know “'where they were at.”
48, 49, 50. His mother rebuked the boy and called Joseph his father. His answer, as translated by Wilson, was:
"Why did you seek me? Did you not know that I must be in the (courts) of my Father?" The fact is, there is no word in the original following "in the.” There is a similar ellipsis at Mark 5:35 and Acts 16:40.
They did not understand at all what he meant. Neither did the priests.
51, 52, This brief statement is all we have in our New Testament about Jesus from that time until he was over thirty years of age. This portion of his history was simply cut out by the church councils. It was all written, and by writers just as ancient and authentic as those who wrote the four gospels.
1. What was the passover?
4. What did his answer mean, when Mary rebuked him?
5. Why did she keep all his sayings in her heart?
Lesson IV.-Jan. 28.
LESSON KEY-NOTE:-"Prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only."
Time :- About the summer of A. D. 26. Jesus about 30 years of age.
Place:- Near Bethabora, at the fords of the Jordan.
John the Baptist was Jesus' cousin, about six months older than he. John had been preaching in the wilderness for a short time to a crowd of discontented people about a new dispensation that was about to begin. He had as a sign of their conversion to his teaching, immersion in water. So they called him The Baptist.
He seems to have worked entirely under inspiration, not knowing that his cousin was the Christ, until he came to him to be baptized; then this inspiration told him that Jesus was the Christ, and he said to his disciples, "Follow him now; my work is finished. I only prepared the way for him.”
1-8. John was a sort of wild man of the wilderness. The corrupt social and religious systems of the time had driven him away from civilization. He was clothed in undressed skins and ate grass-hoppers and wild honey.
He said, “I prepare the way for the Messiah, who comes to redeem the world. I am only a forerunner. I am not even worth tie on his sandals. I immerse you in water; he will baptize you in Spirit. Repent of your sins, become cleansed now, to get ready for that baptism. Come out from among the corrupt classes."
9, 10, 11. Here is Wilson's rendering of these three verses:
"And it occurred in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was immersed by John in the Jordan. And ascending from the water, instantly saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens saying: “Thou art my Son the beloved;
Continued on page 34.
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