Jesus in Nazareth by Tony Burnham


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The bible tells us very little about Jesus’ formative years. There’s a gap in his life between his parents taking him to the Temple in Jerusalem as a 12 year old and the start of his ministry 18 years later. These short stories explore how he might have grown into the person later described in the Gospels. They tell of the development of Jesus as a young person, emerging into adulthood. There are clues about how he might first have met Peter, Andrew and others who became his followers and how he learned from his friend the shepherd, who had a side line as the village barber. Reasons are suggested for his not marrying, there is an account of his first sailing trip and a possible source of the story of the prodigal son is explored. 

Jesus’ home life in a big family and his work as a carpenter and builder are pictured, as well as his relationships with women and men. The old men of the village, meeting in their parliament under the ancient olive tree, act as a kind of Greek Chorus, commenting on the other characters and events, and provide flashes of humour. 

Though the sixteen stories are a work of imagination, they take seriously the likelihood that Jesus spent his first 30 years in the village of Nazareth and the region of Galilee. While they draw on research about this area and period of history, the stories picture a lively young man, growing up and believing God was calling him; but to do what?

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