ALL ABOUT CHRIST – Part 3 (By Janine Mick Wills)
THE CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH OF CHRIST
The Gospels are nearly silent regarding the childhood of Christ Jesus, and it is not directly mentioned by Mark or John. If God had wanted detail given, it would have been given. The main emphasis of the Gospels was the ministry of the adult Christ, the Savior of the world. But God’s silence is as significant as what He revealed, and we can learn some things about Christ’s childhood by studying the Scriptures.
Luke 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him (mentally, physically, spirituality socially). Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
According to J. Oswald Sanders in The Incomparable Christ: “The reason no amazing and extraordinary experiences are recorded is that apparently none happened. The silence of the inspired writers assures us that Jesus’ growth and development were those of a normal child. He knew no unnatural progress, although the absence of sin, would undoubtedly enable more rapid intellectual and moral growth and development. He grew in body. He waxed strong in spirit. He increased in the wisdom of mind and heart.”
The incarnation of Christ set “limitations” on the man-Jesus. Like all members of the human race, He was born, grew, and developed like every other earthly child (He cried, was hungry, slept, did chores, played with His brothers and sisters, “learned” about God, etc.). But Christ was also without sin. He was not weak in stature. This helped prepare Him for the physical strain of His future ministry. He walked everywhere. He endured emotional turmoil (in the Garden of Gethsemane) and physical turmoil (beating, beard plucked out, death on the cross). Jesus was not weak in wisdom, character, or social graces, nor did man or His heavenly Father find any area of His life that grieved Him. And Jesus surely was a good example for His brothers and sisters to follow.
In Summer days, like you and me
He played about the door,
Or gathered, when the father toiled,
The shavings from the floor.
Sometimes He lay upon the grass
The same as you and I,
And saw the hawks above Him pass
Like specks against the sky;
Or clinging to the gate, He watched
The stranger passing by. And when the sun at break of day
Crept in upon His hair,
I think it must have left a ray
Of unseen glory there —
A kiss of love on that little brow,
For the thorns that it must wear.
(A. B. Paine)
Let us not forget that though Jesus was born a perfect child, He still was a perfect child.
John 6:62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
John 14:2a In my Father’s house are many mansions…
In His first home, Christ had a Father but no mother; in the second (His earthly home) He had a mother but not a father after the flesh.
Jesus’ first earthly home was in Bethlehem, which is five miles south of Jerusalem (Luke 2:1-5).
Jesus was at Bethlehem because Joseph “was of the house and lineage of David” and was to be taxed (Luke 2:4). NOTE: King David’s hometown was also Bethlehem (1 Sam. 17:15).
Jesus was not a newborn when visited by the wise men as depicted in many nativity scenes (Matthew 2:11a And when they (the wise men) were come into the house…)
Jesus was not an infant when Herod wanted Him killed (Matthew 2:11, 13, 14, 16). Herod did not take any chances in age or locale (Note: Eastern women usually nursed their children for two years).
Joseph, Mary, and Jesus lived in Nazareth before fleeing to Egypt (Luke 2:39 And when they had performed all things (Mary’s purification) according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth).
Egypt has, in all ages, been the natural place of refuge for all who were driven from Palestine by distress or persecution.
Matthew 2:13-15 And when they (the wise men) were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
Matthew 2:16-23 – It is possible Joseph wanted to return to Bethlehem, but instead bypassed it (after confirmation from God) to settle back in Nazareth (Matthew 2:22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee).
Was the town in which Joseph and Mary lived (Luke 2:4a And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth…).
Christ living in Nazareth fulfilled prophecy (Matthew 2:23 And he (Joseph) came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene).
Nazareth was not known a respected town (John 1:46a And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?). That nothing good came from there was another example of Christ’s condescension (Kenosis) of His incarnation.
When I am tempted to repine that such a humble lot is mine, Within I hear a voice, which saith, “Mine were the street of Nazareth.”
More than likely the house Jesus lived in at Nazareth was crowded. It housed at least six other brothers and sisters (Matthew 13:55, 56 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us?). This refutes immaculate conception that Mary had no other children – no physical relationship w/ Joseph or perpetual virginity. According to “Scripture and tradition” the Catholic Church believes these “brethren were Joseph’s step children or Jesus’ cousins.
From His childhood in Nazareth, Jesus must have gathered many illustrations for His latter ministry. (i.e. hen and chicks – Luke 13:34; sheep and shepherds – Matthew 9:36; sower of seeds – Matthew 13:3-8; women kneading bread – Matthew 13:33; vineyards – Matthew 21:33, 34; fig trees – Matthew 24:32; children playing in a marketplace – Luke 7:32). Jesus probably was an inquisitive/observant child.
Caprenaum was a fishing village located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 4:12-16 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up).
It is assumed that Joseph had died, and now Jesus as the head of His home, moved His family (Matthew 2:12 After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days).
John 1:38, 39 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. This house was more than likely in Capernaum because as soon as “One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon… John 1:40, 41a. Bethsaida (their home – John 1:44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter) was only a mile or two from Capernaum.)
But in actuality, none of these places were really Jesus’ homes (Luke 9:58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head). He had His eye on the larger prize: returning to His heavenly home to once again be with the Father!
Joseph – His earthly father, a just man (Matthew 1:19a Then Joseph her husband, being a just man… Matthew 1:25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS (He was also obedient, calling the Child as he had been told).
A carpenter by occupation, who taught his “son” his trade (Mark 6:3a Is not this (Jesus) the carpenter…). This also gives some insight to what Jesus’ childhood had been like as He worked side-by-side with His earthly father.
Mary – His mother, a virgin (Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused (engaged-a marriage contract) to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost).
To the Jews the espousal was considered legal and binding on both sides (though the marriage had not been consummated), and hence a breach of this contract was considered as a case of adultery, and punished exactly in the same way. Nor could a contract of this kind, though there was no cohabitation, be broken but by a regular divorce (Consider Matthew 9:3-9).
Mary’s situation was not only humiliating, it was also most distressing. Her honor and reputation were at stake. Only her utmost faith in God and His word allowed her to bear her circumstances. We don’t know what conversations passed between her and Joseph upon this discovery, but the issue proved not satisfactory to him: nor could he consider still taking her as his wife. That was until God sent his angel to tell Joseph, “Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 1:20). Joseph could have used the Law ( Deuteronomy 22:23,24) and had Mary stoned to death (If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you).
But the Messiah had been promised for thousands of years. Every Jewish maiden desired to be His mother. And Mary was the chosen maiden. She was obviously of fine moral character or God wouldn’t have chosen her to bear His Son (Luke 1:30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God). She was obedient to God’s will (Luke 1:38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word). Plus, as we read in Luke 1:37 (And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour), Mary was humble and knew she needed salvation).
NOTE: The difference between Luke 1:13, 18-20 and Luke 1:34 was that Zacharias doubted/questioned God and Mary asked a simple question in faith.
John the Baptist – 2nd cousin (Luke 1:36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren).
NOTE: Both John and Jesus’ births were supernatural. Elizabeth because it was too late; Mary because it was too soon.
John was six months older than Jesus (Luke 1:36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren).
Jesus’ brothers (Matthew 13:55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?) NOTE: As the eldest child, Jesus surely became a natural leader.
Jesus’ brothers did not respect Him, at least until the latter part of His ministry (Matthew 12:2-5 Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world (sarcasm). For neither did his brethren believe in him. Matthew 13:57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. Matthew 28:10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me. Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren).
Jesus’ sisters (Matthew 13:56a And his sisters, are they not all with us?)
Continued at “All about Christ (Part 4)”.