DAILY LIFE DURING THE TIME OF JESUS
The sun slowly rises in the east, as women awake from their slumber to prepare for another day. They meet at the well early in the morning to gather the daily supply of water – water which will cleanse them and their household and with the help of some lentils and vegetables, provide a nice meal for supper. The men tend their livestock. They fork hay into the feeding trough and begin the process of gathering fresh milk from the cows and goats. The children stay nestled tightly in their beds for a while, but soon they also will be called upon to help with the daily chores. They eat a small breakfast and pack a lunch to take with them as they go about their many jobs. Those who tended the flocks of sheep, stayed with the flocks all the time – only returning home for supplies from time to time – and maybe a much-needed bath.
A spinning wheel and loom sits in the open space of the house. Wool from the sheep will be spun into cloth which will keep them all warm during the colder weather. Fresh bread is already baking in the oven. The smells of morning are everywhere. Even in a town of such insignificance, life goes on.
The town of Nazareth was in the province of Galilee and held no more than 2000 people. The only merit to it was the fact that it was located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, so it was situated to provide overland passage to Egypt – a fair stop-over for those who were taking their wares to market. There were a few craftsmen – carpenters, cloth dyers, tailors and each had a way of exhibiting their occupation. Carpenters would wear wood chips behind their ears. Dyers of cloth would wear colorful clothes. Tailors would pin needles to their clothing. None of these was worn on the Sabbath, because they didn’t work on that day.
Here in this little “nothing good ever came from it,” town, Mary and Joseph settled with her firstborn Son, Jesus. There would be other children, fathered by Joseph, but there was something different about Jesus – the perfect child. His dad was God, Almighty. Can you imagine what His siblings thought of Him? The boy could do nothing wrong – it wasn’t in His nature, yet He was fully human. How could that be? It isn’t surprising that they didn’t believe in His divinity when He was living under their roof. Did Jesus know He was divine at that time? He lived as they did, yet never once sinned.
Jesus was a loving son. He worked hard. His hands were calloused and sore from shaving wood and crafting small cooking utensils or pieces of furniture. He played the games children played at the time – a form of hopscotch – twirling tops – board games that resembled checkers. His real devotion, however, was in studying the Scriptures.
I wonder how children related to each other in those days. Were there bullies who would taunt others and make them look foolish? Was Jesus the object of such ridicule? In our world today, there’s no question that children can be hateful and mean. Was it the same then? We are told that Jesus grew in favor of God and man, so He certainly had a degree of popularity, but that would eventually change.
His life in Nazareth was ordinary. He ate, played, worked, slept, studied and did all the same things every other child did. There was no money for furthering an education, so they made do with what they had. There were stories handed down from one generation to another – tales from far off lands regarding what was happening in the world – the Holy Scriptures of God, which told them what was expected of them in this life. There was no world-wide web nor instant news. In all of it, Jesus offered exemplary behavior and respect for those in authority.
The perfect child was the “good” that came from Nazareth – the Son of God and Mary’s boy – lived an uneventful life until He began His ministry – which would change the world forever.