One of the more marvelous things about The Urantia Book (among so many) is the more or less replete account of the childhood of Joshua Ben Joseph, Jesus of Nazareth. Case in point, Jesus’ ninth year, (A.D. 3). By the time Jesus was eight years old, he was a “favored pupil,” not unusual, but diligent— and brilliant— despite the fact he asked many embarrassing questions concerning both science and religion, particularly regarding geography and astronomy. He was especially interested in finding out why there was a dry season and a rainy season in Palestine. He got no satisfactory answers.
The reward for doing his schoolwork so well was a week away from school each month; awesome. He often spent this time off with his fisherman uncle near Magdala, or on the farm of another uncle about five miles south of Nazareth. But it was in late winter at school this year when Jesus came in direct conflict with the chazan over the teaching that all images, pictures, and drawings were idolatrous in nature.
Jesus and a neighbor boy named Jacob had become great friends with Nathan the potter, who worked near the flowing spring; he would often give the boys a lump of clay and encouraged them to make various objects and animals. So when Jesus so forgot the strictures of his culture by executing a charcoal drawing of the chazan on the schoolroom floor, an impromptu parent-whole frackin’ gaggle of elders conference was called at the lad’s house. We now join the lawlessness already in progress:
[Although] . . .this was not the first time complaints had come to Joseph and Mary about the doings of their versatile and aggressive child, this was the most serious of all the accusations which had thus far been lodged against him. Jesus listened to the indictment of his artistic efforts for some time, being seated on a large stone just outside the back door. He resented their blaming his father for his alleged misdeeds; so in he marched, fearlessly confronting his accusers. The elders were thrown into confusion. Some were inclined to view the episode humorously, while one or two seemed to think the boy was sacrilegious if not blasphemous. Joseph was nonplused, Mary indignant, but Jesus insisted on being heard. He had his say, courageously defended his viewpoint, and with consummate self-control announced that he would abide by the decision of his father in this as in all other matters controversial. And the committee of elders departed in silence.
Mary endeavored to influence Joseph to permit Jesus to model in clay at home, provided he promised not to carry on any of these questionable activities at school, but Joseph felt impelled to rule that the rabbinical interpretation of the second commandment should prevail. And so Jesus no more drew or modeled the likeness of anything from that day as long as he lived in his father’s house. But he was unconvinced of the wrong of what he had done, and to give up such a favorite pastime constituted one of the great trials of his young life.
And there you have it; the Creator of the Universe, the Son of God, was a frustrated artist, like so many of the rest of us. Not namin’ names.
Just sayin’. 😉
*Original image from the film, Jesus of Nazareth, Franco Zeffirelli