This time of year we talk a lot about the birth of Jesus.
At Easter, we talk a lot about His death and resurrection.
What about the time in between His birth and death?
What about the rest of Jesus' life?
The Bible is remarkably silent on this matter.
Except for one small incident when Jesus was twelve years old.
It’s found in Luke 2:41-52.
Jesus was found in the Temple, sitting among religious leaders, listening and asking questions.
“All were amazed at his understanding and his answers.”
The passage ends with a rather cryptic and succinct sentence – “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God all the people.”
That’s it – until the Bible picks up with John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus.
Why mention this ONE incident only?
And what happened during those years between 12 and 30?
I’d like to share a few thoughts about the first question.
It seems important to establish that Jesus knew who He was at an early age. He knew He was the Son of God. He makes the distinction between His earthly father, Joseph, and His heavenly Father.
He undoubtedly knew that He was the Messiah – the long-awaited One, the Promised One, the Deliverer.
Did He also know that He was going to die?
At the time of the Passover, the greatest and wisest rabbis would assemble to teach and to discuss great truths. The coming Messiah would have been a popular discussion topic, for everyone was expecting Him soon.
The fact that these leaders, so versed in the Holy Scriptures, were astounded at the depth of Jesus’ wisdom, makes me believe that Jesus knew.
He evidently knew Scripture well, He understood all the prophecies about the Messiah, He knew He had a unique relationship with God – and He knew the mission of the Son of God.
Can you imagine your average 6th or 7th grader knowing this?
Of course, Jesus did not reveal anything. He obediently returned to Nazareth with his parents, and lived under their authority for another 18 years.
He was obedient – to His Father in heaven, and to His earthly parents.
But, to the second question…
What happened during those intervening years?
Jesus was undoubtedly learning and maturing. He was the oldest in a large family – He most likely assisted Joseph in his carpentry work. Perhaps Joseph died during this time, leaving Jesus to provide for the family.
Though the Bible is not clear on the details of these intervening years, a sure truth shines through.
Jesus was a man, a human – just like you and me.
He went through childhood and adolescence. He developed with the same progression we do. He related to other people in the “normality” of life. He worked, He played, He enjoyed family and friends – He gained a solid understanding of the joys, sorrows, frustrations, irritations, frailties of being a person – ALL the normal things encountered in daily living.
That’s why He understands everything about us.
He LIVED life.
“This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses…” (Hebrews 4:15)
What do you wonder about Jesus’s life before He started His ministry?
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