The Childhood of Jesus
There is no evidence to assume that Jesus did not live a normal life like any other child. There are quite a number of writings, notably the Gospel of Thomas, that have painted fanciful pictures of the childhood of Jesus in their attempts to make Him appear great. There have been reports of Him moulding images of birds from clay and these images spontaneously coming to life. These are obviously the writings of very imaginative individuals who instead of enhancing the allure of Jesus do damage to it. These people obviously meant well and it was done in an attempt to win more adherents to Christianity at that time.
As mentioned before when discussing His birth, it is safe to assume that Joseph went back with his family to Israel when Jesus was still a child and that he went to Nazareth which was his hometown and where obviously he was already established as a carpenter. Obviously here Jesus must have undergone instructions like children of His age in any one of the schools because we know that He was quite educated in the laws as attested to by His numerous quotations from them.
We also know that Joseph, His father was a very religious man and he made several trips to the temple in Jerusalem at least once a year probably for the most important Jewish festival which is the feast of the paschal lamb. When Jesus reached maturity, which was about the age of twelve, He was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem, during the time of the high priest Annas. We must emphasise that His going to the temple at this age is the custom in Israel at that time. All children, when they reach this age were taken to Jerusalem for a kind of a rite of passage.
It is to be assumed that He probably joined His father Joseph after some time to learn the trade of carpentry and for many years was assistant to him until the latter’s death. It is also safe to assume that upon Joseph’s death, Jesus assumed the master carpenter’s role. This He continued to do until He heard that John was baptising at the river Jordan and He felt an urge within Himself to find him.
Jesus therefore led a normal development like any other child showing nothing extraordinary. This is how it always is because there is actually no need for the extraordinary. Jesus could only fulfil His Mission if He grew up without any distractions that unnecessary attentions would have brought about. He therefore experienced everything as more real and genuine and this helped in His maturing towards His Mission.