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days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors of the law, both hearing them and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and his answers; and when they perceived how young he was, they were amazed. Then his mother said to him, "Son, why hast thou dealt thus with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing." And he said unto them, "How is it that ye have been seeking me? Did ye not know that I must be at my Father's house?" But they understood not what he said to them.
Then he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them; but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man.
THE PREACHING OF JOHN, AND THE BAPTISM OF JESUS.
(Matt. iii. 1-17; Mark i. 1-11; Luke iii. 1-22; John i. 19-34, iii. 28.)
JOHN, the son of Zacharias and Elizabeth, is commonly called John the Baptist; for when he was grown up a man, he went through the country on the banks of the river Jordan, preaching to the people that they should repent and be baptized, for the remission of their sins.
Great multitudes went out, and, upon confessing their sins, were baptized by him in the river Jordan. And he exhorted them to abstain from all violence and injustice, and to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance; that is, to lead such holy lives as would shew that they had sincerely repented of all their sins.
As the people were in doubt whether John was the Messiah whom they were expecting or not, he declared that he was not the Messiah, but only his forerunner.
"I indeed baptize you with water," said he; "but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose; he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
The next day John saw Jesus coming to him, and said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world." Jesus came to be baptized by John, but John forbade him, saying, "I have need to be baptized by thee, and comest thou to me?" And Jesus answering, said unto him, "Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness," that is," to comply with every appointment of God." Then John suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water, and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him; and lo, a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."
THE MARRIAGE-FEAST AT CANA.
(John ii. 1-11.)
OUR Lord Jesus Christ was about thirty years of age when he was baptized by John. In a few weeks after that time he began to preach the holy doctrines which had been taught him by God, and to try to turn men from the error of their ways. In order to prove that he had authority from God to preach to mankind, he performed many miracles, that is, such wonderful works as he could not have performed without divine aid. The first of these was wrought at Cana in Galilee. There was a marriage-feast, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also and his disciples were invited to the feast. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, "They have no wine." Jesus saith unto her, "Woman, what hast thou to do with me? My
Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the Jewish custom of purifying, (Matt. xv. 2,) containing two or three firkins a-piece. Jesus saith unto them, "Fill the water-pots with water." And they filled them up to the brim. Then he saith unto them, "Draw out now, and bear to the governor of the feast." And they bare it.
When the governor of the feast had
Our Lord here gently reproves his mother for urging him to work a miracle before the proper time was come. The word which is translated woman, is a term of respect and esteem. Jesus used it when he saw his mother in great distress at the foot of the cross, and wished to comfort her, which he did by saying, "Woman, behold thy son !"
When many guests were expected, a governor of the feast was appointed, to take the trouble of entertaining them off the hands of the bridegroom.