Tuesday, August 2, 2011

JESUS: FROM 12 UNTIL 30 YEARS OLD

John 21:25 says, "Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." 

I imagine some of the things that would be written down about Jesus would be concerning the time frame Scripture is mostly silent about.  This period of time is between His twelfth year of life and His thirtieth year of life.  According to Scripture the twelfth year of Jesus' life sees Him at the Temple with His parents observing the Passover (Luke 2:41-52).  According to scholars and their calculations, Jesus was about 30 years old when He started His ministry.  Again, it is the in between years that we have not heard much about, but that I would like to address here with the limited knowledge we all have in Scripture.

Just take a look at the adult life of Jesus and you will see a reflection of His upbringing and youth.  Joseph and Mary did their part to "help" Jesus "grow in wisdom".  For one might think, how do you assist God-in-the-flesh with growing in wisdom?  However, [Jesus] "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:6-8)  I envision God the Father filled in any gaps left from a failed earthly parenting attempt.

Jesus was an obedient son.  Scripture says, "Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them." (Luke 2:51)  He must have been a great listener and applicator because the very next verse, Luke 2:52, says, "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."  I see Jesus as polite, courteous, friendly, helpful, compassionate, containing all the fruits of the Spirit.  There was a scholar side to Jesus too.  He could have been taught by God the Father and/or his earthly parents or both the words and terms of the times in which the scholars would use.  We see later in His ministry how effective He was with His teaching - using parables and not using parables.  We also can observe His skill at debate and sensing a trap enough to turn the tables on the trapper.  Jesus knew good, honest hard work.  He was a carpenter, a villager who knew poverty.  He had the lowliest of beginnings - a manger.  Now, as a boy, He must help out Joseph with the livelihood of the family - carpentry.  Just one way Jesus suffered, because the Bible speaks to Him being "familiar with suffering" (Isaiah 53:3).  For all his awesome personality and spiritual traits the Word of God does say, "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him." (Isaiah 53:2)  And "we esteemed him not".  I imagine that applies to His youth years as well as His adult years.

How can one say that Jesus had a life "like" our own?  I believe he experienced the same worries, the same troubles, challenges, and temptations, but He just handled them differently - He dealt with them perfectly.  "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin." (Hebrews 4:15)  And I believe this is what He was doing during these years - living.  Experiencing life, living it perfectly and loving people.

One thing is for sure, He was prepared for His ministry.  For God the Father to desire His Son to stay with Mary and Joseph for this length of time really emphasizes to me God's heart toward family.  All that happened from twelve years of age until thirty was for a purpose.  That purpose was to show God as Love and Jesus was the ultimate expression of that Love.  God, sending His Son as a human, now calls us Friend - for "greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)  Love was the reason why!

This is not a definitive stand on the absent years of Christ, however, it is my educated and supported view of this time period with much room to grow.  It will be a great and wonderful time, someday in the future, when I will get to sit down with my Lord (along with many others I'm sure) and ask Him about those years.