twelve years had been enough to dull their memory of that extraordinary occurrence. Mary had taken the first steps on the path that twenty years after was to lead her and her family to feel that Jesus was mad, and to try to interfere with His ministry—and to earn the rebuke that the strangers around Him were nearer to Him in spirit than His own mother. How sad that amongst the women who followed Him from Galilee, and ministered to Him, the name of His own mother should not appear.
Can we measure the fight of faith in the young mind of Jesus, as against all discouragement around Him He held on to the Word of God? How dear to Him must have been Isaiah 9:6-7; 7:14; 49:1-3; and the words of Gabriel and of the shepherds! Jesus of Nazareth founded His life, as Jehoshaphat had done, upon faith in the words of the prophets. He built His life upon the rock. Mary kept many words in her heart, but out of the abundance of the heart the mouth should speak; and Mary's mouth spoke lies, which overwhelmed the truth within her heart and led her into unbelief. From henceforth to Mary, Jesus' father was Joseph; had she not said so in the very Temple of God before the priests of God? How necessary to Jesus was Isaiah 53:1-3! There He found the explanation not only of His own peculiar experience, but of His neighbours' blindness. He was to grow up without saying or doing anything to attract attention; to be deprived of all that man would look for in the Son of God. As He found Himself entering into the actual experience of rejection and unbelief, whilst His heart might be broken, His faith would be strengthened and His mind at rest. And so He returned to Nazareth to spend the next eighteen years in obscurity and the daily round of a tradesman's life!