Infancy: Jesus and the Schoolmaster

This story is part of the Infancy Gospels unit. Story source: The Lost Books of the Bible, edited by Rutherford H. Platt, Jr. (1926): The First Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ.

Jesus and the Schoolmaster

THERE was also at Jerusalem one named Zaccheus who was a schoolmaster. And he said to Joseph, "Joseph, why dost thou not send Jesus to me that he may learn his letters?"

Joseph agreed and told St. Mary. so they brought him to that master, who, as soon as he saw him, wrote out an alphabet for him. And he bade him say "Aleph" and when he had said "Aleph," the master bade him pronounce "Beth."

Then the Lord Jesus said to him, "Tell me first the meaning of the letter Aleph, and then I will pronounce Beth."

And when the master threatened to whip him, the Lord Jesus explained to him the meaning of the letters Aleph and Beth; also which were the straight figures of the letters, which the oblique, and what letters had double figures, which had points, and which had none, why one letter went before another; and many other things he began to tell him and explain of which the master himself had never heard, nor read in any book.

The Lord Jesus farther said to the master, "Take notice how I say to thee;" then he began clearly and distinctly to say Aleph, Beth, Gimel, Daleth, and so on to the end of the alphabet.

At this the master was so surprised that he said, "I believe this boy was born before Noah." And turning to Joseph, he said, "Thou hast brought a boy to me to be taught who is more learned than any master." He said also unto St. Mary, "This your son has no need of any learning."

They brought him then to a more learned master, who, when he saw him, said, "Say Aleph." And when he had said "Aleph," the master bade him pronounce "Beth," to which the Lord Jesus replied, "Tell me first the meaning of the letter Aleph, and then I will pronounce Beth."

But this master, when he lift up his hand to whip him, had his hand presently withered, and he died. Then said Joseph to St. Mary, "Henceforth we will not allow him to go out of the house for everyone who displeases him is killed."

AND when he was twelve years old, they brought him to Jerusalem to the feast, and when the feast was over, they returned. But the Lord Jesus continued behind in the temple among the doctors and elders and learned men of Israel to whom he proposed several questions of learning, and also gave them answers.

For he said to them, "Whose son is the Messiah?"

They answered, "The son of David."

"Why then," said he, "does he in the spirit call him 'Lord' when he saith, 'The Lord said to my Lord, sit thou at my right hand till I have made thine enemies thy footstool.'"

Then a certain principal Rabbi asked him, "Hast thou read books?"

Jesus answered he had read both books and the things which were contained in books. And he explained to them the books of the law, and precepts, and statutes: and the mysteries which are contained in the books of the prophets, things which the mind of no creature could reach.

Then said that Rabbi, "I never yet have seen or heard of such knowledge! What do you think that boy will be!"

(600 words)

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