Skip to content

Skip to table of contents

Teach Your Children

Jesus Learned to Be Obedient

Jesus Learned to Be Obedient

DO YOU sometimes find it hard to be obedient?— * It is not surprising if you do. Everyone at times finds it hard to obey. Did you know that even Jesus had to learn to be obedient?—

Do you know whom all young ones should obey?— Yes, our father and mother. “Be obedient to your parents in union with the Lord,” the Bible says. (Ephesians 6:1) Who is Jesus’ father?— Jehovah God, and he is our Father too. (Matthew 6:9, 10) But if you said that Joseph was Jesus’ father and Mary was his mother, you would also be right. Do you know how they became his parents?—

The angel Gabriel told Mary how she would become a mother even though she had had no sexual intercourse with a man. Jehovah made this pregnancy possible by performing a great miracle. Gabriel explained to Mary: “Power of the Most High will overshadow you. For that reason also what is born will be called holy, God’s Son.”​—Luke 1:30-35.

God took the life of his Son in heaven and put it inside Mary. Then that life grew inside her just as other babies do inside their mothers. About nine months later, Jesus was born. In the meantime, Joseph married Mary, and most people assumed that Joseph was Jesus’ real father. Actually, Joseph was his adoptive father. So, in a way, Jesus had two fathers!

When Jesus was only 12, he did something that showed how much he loved his heavenly Father, Jehovah. At that time, Jesus’ family, as was their custom, made the long trip to Jerusalem for the Passover. Afterward, on the way home to Nazareth, Joseph and Mary failed to notice that Jesus was not with them. Do you wonder how they could have forgotten him?—

Well, by then Joseph and Mary had other children. (Matthew 13:55, 56) They probably also had relatives traveling with them, such as James and John along with their father, Zebedee, and mother, Salome, who may have been Mary’s sister. So Mary may have assumed that Jesus was with other relatives in the group.​—Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40; John 19:25.

When Joseph and Mary realized that Jesus was missing, they rushed back to Jerusalem. They searched frantically for their son. On the third day, they found him in the temple. Mary said to him: “Why did you treat us this way? Here your father and I in mental distress have been looking for you.” But Jesus replied: “Why did you have to go looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in the house of my Father?”​—Luke 2:45-50.

Why do you think that Joseph and Mary should first have looked for Jesus in the temple?

Do you think it was wrong for Jesus to answer his mother that way?— Well, his parents knew that he loved to worship at God’s house. (Psalm 122:1) So wasn’t it right for Jesus to think that God’s temple would be the first place they would look for him?— Later, Mary kept thinking about what Jesus had said.

What was Jesus’ attitude toward Joseph and Mary?— The Bible says: “[Jesus] went down with them and came to Nazareth, and he continued subject to them.” (Luke 2:51, 52) What can we learn from Jesus’ example?— Yes, we too need to be obedient to our parents.

Yet, it wasn’t always easy for Jesus to obey​—even his heavenly Father.

The night before he died, Jesus asked Jehovah if He would change His mind regarding what He wanted him to do. (Luke 22:42) But Jesus obeyed God even though it was not easy. The Bible says that “he learned obedience from the things he suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8) Do you think that we too can learn that lesson?—

^ par. 3 If you are reading with a child, the dash provides a reminder to pause and encourage the child to express himself.