The Great Myths #32: The Childhood of Jesus (Christian)

The Infancy Gospel of Thomas 2:1-6:

When this boy, Jesus, was five years old, he was playing at the ford of a rushing stream. He was collecting the flowing water into ponds and made the water instantly pure. He did this with a single command. He then made soft clay and shaped it into twelve sparrows. He did this on the sabbath day, and many other boys were playing with him.

But when a Jew saw what Jesus was doing while playing on the sabbath day, he immediately went off and told Joseph, Jesus’ father: “See here, your boy is at the ford and has taken mud and fashioned twelve birds with it, and so has violated the sabbath.”

So Joseph went there, and as soon as he spotted him he shouted, “Why are you doing what’s not permitted on the sabbath?”

But Jesus simply clapped his hands and shouted to the sparrows: “Be off, fly away, and remember me, you who are now alive!” And the sparrows took off and flew away noisily.


The Infancy Gospel of Thomas 5:4-6, 6:1-8

When Joseph saw that Jesus had done [other things], he got angry and grabbed his ear and pulled very hard. The boy became infuriated with him and replied, “It’s one thing for you to seek and not find; it’s quite another for you to act this unwisely. Don’t you know that I don’t really belong to you? Don’t make me upset.”

A teacher by the name of Zacchaeus was listening to everything Jesus was saying to Joseph, and was astonished, saying to himself, “He is just a child, and saying this!” And so he summoned Joseph and said to him, “You have a bright child, and he has a good mind. Hand him over to me so he can learn his letters. I’ll teach him everything he needs to know so as not to be unruly.”

Joseph replied, “No one is able to rule this child except God alone. Don’t consider him to be a small cross, brother.”

When Jesus heard Joseph saying this he laughed and said to Zacchaeus, “Believe me, teacher, what my father told you is true. I am the Lord of these people and I’m present with you and have been born among you and am with you. I know where you’ve come from and how many years you’ll live. I swear to you, teacher, I existed when you were born. If you wish to be a perfect teacher, listen to me and I’ll teach you a wisdom that no one else knows except for me and the one who sent me to you. It’s you who happens to be my student, and I know how old you are and how long you have to live. When you see the cross that my father mentioned, then you’ll believe that everything I’ve told you is true.”


Luke 2:41-52:

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man


Luke excerpt from the New International Version; Infancy Gospel of Thomas excerpt from The Complete Gospels, ed. Robert J. Miller, 1994 edition

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