Monday, December 20, 2010


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?

It’s mind-boggling.

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?

BLOG = “Blessedly Leaning On God!”


  1. Hi Sharon -

    Thank you for this.

    Very compelling piece! Indeed it made me wonder - I like how you mentioned about Jesus being the oldest and assisting Joseph...yes, I can picture them together...and Jesus with His family...

    You expressed, "...He gained a solid understanding..." That is so true. Sometimes we forget that, I believe...

    Also, Hebrews 5:8 - KJV
    Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

  2. Hi -

    It's me again

    Have you visited this blog If not, you may be interested... I may suggest it on my blog...
    what I read there so far definitely compels me to return...

  3. Such truth! Whenever I feel like God is far away, I always imagine Jesus' feet walking a desert road. This reminds me that God walked this earth. Jesus is fully Spirit and flesh like I am. This thought gives me much comfort.

    I also believe that God does a good work in each of us, like He did in Jesus to prepare Him for ministry. This work is inside of us and others will not see or understand it.

  4. I think what I wonder about Jesus is how His relationships were with his mother, Joseph and the rest of his family and his buddies. Interesting to think about Him growin up. I always wondered about that gap, too!

  5. Sandra - I agree with you - we tend to forget that Jesus was well acquainted with all the in's and out's of being human. He became wise in His understanding by LIVING...
    (I'll have to check out that blog tomorrow - I'm exhausted tonight...
    Also, I'll be over to your blog tomorrow. Thanks for understanding.)

    Alisa - I gain a great deal of comfort from these kinds of thoughts, too. Jesus, He was truly one of us...

    I liked what you said about God's work within us. I'd never really thought before that it is a work done beyond what others can see or know. It is God "behind the scenes" - and very individual and very intimate. A PERSONAL relationship - just God and us - I like that!

    Mary - I've thought about that, too. The Bible says that his brothers didn't believe in Him. I can almost imagine them looking at each other, and saying with disbelief, "OK, so our big brother is the Son of GOD?? Yeah, right." It does my heart good to know that they ended up believing in Him after His resurrection. I thought it was very kind of Jesus to take the time to appear to his brother, James. And whatever occurred in that meeting changed James forever.

    GOD BLESS - and thank you so much for stopping by!!

  6. Hi Sharon!
    Thanks for this thought-provoking piece. I believe, with you, that He knew that He was to die. Certainly He knew later on, as it says in Scripture. I wonder what it was like to live with a perfect older brother. And, I have noticed, that even though He was perfect, He still managed to cause His earthly mother and father some consternation (as when His mother finally found Him after three days of looking, and said, "Why have you treated us this way?") Makes one wonder. Are there times when my children weren't necessarily "sinning" and yet there was some frustration?? Perhaps. I wonder: was her response without sin? In heaven, where there's no sin, will we still have "situations"?? Perhaps miscommunication? Hmmm.
    I want to wish you and yours a very, very Merry Christmas, Sharon! (In case the week gets busy, and I don't get another chance:) It's been so good to get to know you this year.

  7. Hi Sharon,

    "What do you wonder about Jesus’s life before He started His ministry? What I think about is how difficult it must have been for his parents to truely comprehend who Jesus is. He wasn't just the son of Joseph and Mary, and yet, the passage of scripture you cite, implies that that is how they viewed Him. It seems to me that over the years, they began to put aside what was revealed to them and what they witnessed with their own eyes: the appearance of the angel Gabriel, the warning to go into Egypt and flee Herod, the witness of the shepherds, the worship of the wise men, and even this moment of Him teaching in the temple.

    "And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart." (Luke 2:46-51, KJV)

    This is what leads me to think that they put the things concerning Jesus Christ aside because they didn't fully understand. Verse 51 ends with the same statement as verse 19 of this chapter. Mary kept them in her heart, but she didn't understand it.

    I think that we Christians face this dilemma as well. There are things which we may not understand regarding our relationship with Christ. As a result, I put it aside, instead of seeking wisdom from God. The bible says, "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." (James 1:5, NASB) Perhaps instead of remaining silent about the things I don't understand, I should ask God.

    Thank you for sharing a post which provoked much thought in me. I also want to say that you have really blessed me this year. Your fellowship, friendship and encouragement have been invaluable to me. I appreciate your honesty and candor, but most of all I appreciate your witness and passion for our Lord.

    Blessings and peace.


  8. Wendy - You've come up with some other interesting questions. I'm not thinking that there are going to be "situations" in Heaven. At least not ones that trouble us. Many of these types of moments in this life cause us grief or worry or sadness. Thankfully, God is going to wipe all that away! I have the same thought about miscommunication. In this life, not communicating effectively leads to misunderstandings - hurts, jealousies, anger, bitterness, etc - and those will have no place in a perfect eternity. Will we have perfect knowledge? Hmmm... To the extent that we are not hindered by sin anymore, I think we will think more clearly and fully. However, I think there will always be something new to learn about God - because only He will be omniscient - and every new insight into His character will make us glorify and love Him even more. These are just my opinions - but they make me hopeful indeed! It's been wonderful getting to know you, too - hope you and yours have a very WONDER-full Christmas!!

    MTJ - Let me just start by saying how much I appreciate YOU. Your thought-FULL posts have blessed me, encouraged me, convicted me, and provoked me to examine my faith. Thank you for that. You have been a friend, and a faithful witness and testimony to the Lord. Isn't it wonderful how God uses this "blogging" for purposes far beyond what it was probably intended for? I look forward to 2011 - learning from you, and sharing our journeys.
    This comment was so "meaty" - seriously, it was a well-written post in itself. I think you make a very good point. It does sound like Mary and Joseph might have been a little "clueless" at times. I can understand how difficult it must have been to "wrap" your mind around the fact that your son was The Messiah. And yet, I'm thinking part of the reason is that they LOVED Jesus AS their son. They grew attached to him, just as we do to our own children. They felt responsible for him. I'm not excusing them - just trying to understand. And yet, you make a VERY good lesson out of their "forgetfulness." I think we all tend to put aside those things which might require a little "faith work" on our parts. If WE don't understand, well, then we tend to "shelf it", as you said. I am reminded of the verse, "Lean not unto thine own understanding..." When we lean on something, we expect it to hold us up, to support us. Our understanding will NEVER do that. We are to trust, and seek God's wisdom - and THAT is something to "ponder in our hearts."

    GOD BLESS - thanks for stopping by!

  9. Hi Sharon,

    I like your comment; it comes from the heart of a mother. "...they LOVED Jesus AS their son." -- I think as a man, I was looking at this from one dimension only: analytically. These are not just words on a screen, the words refer to the lives of three people; father, mother and son.

    Any parent who has lost a child (even momentarily) can identify with the fear and panic Joseph and Mary must have experienced.

    Your question and this passage of scripture helped me see not so much a critical flaw in Mary and Joseph but something we all are guilty of (I know I am). I too, am reminded of the same verse but I find myself asking, "Am I trusting in the Lord with all my heart? How often do the decisions I make usurp my faith, hope, and trust in God?"

    What your post/comment has asked me to do is weigh my thoughts on the scale of God's word. I do want and desire to trust Him, so that I'm not deceiving myself into patterns of behavior that run counter to faith.

    May the Lord bless our friendship and fellowship even more in 2011.

    Blessings and peace to you and family during the celebration of our Lord's birth.


  10. MTJ - Thanks for coming back to respond. I'm with you - I also want and desire to TRUST Him - and to not deceive myself. I want my faith to grow, kinda like Jesus did, "in wisdom and stature and in favor with God..." Interestingly enough, one of the MOST difficult areas for me to trust God is with my children (even thought they're all grown up). I tend to view them as MINE - and it's hard for me to emotionally YIELD them to their Father. I'm working on it -

    Blessings for a Christmas full of the Lord's presence, and the joy of family.



"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)