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Matthew 2 & Luke 2:41-52

09.28.2010

Let’s explore Jesus’ childhood, shall we?

Matt 2:13 | One of the themes that Matthew explores is that Jesus’ life in many ways parallels the history of Israel.  This underlines His role as the promised Messiah and culmination of their national journey.  In this instance, Jesus’ parents flee with Him to Egypt to escape Herod’s persecution.  Jesus thus spends His early days in Egypt, as did the Hebrews.

Luke 2:46 | How do Jesus’ disappearance from the caravan and the grief it gave His parents not constitute disobedience?  Can it be disobedience in this case without being sinful?  Clearly, I think the answer is no; I just have no idea why.

Luke 2:52 | How can Jesus increase in wisdom and favor with God?  To increase means that He had less and then more.  When would there have been a time when God was less favorably disposed towards Jesus?  I’ve become comfortable with the concept that Jesus learned as He grew and developed like any other human child.  But I don’t see how He can increase in favor with God without the implication that He was at one time out of favor (relatively) with God.  I can understand the idea that He was out of favor with God at the crucifixion, where He suffered separation from God and was ‘forsaken’ by God for our sins.  But that’s different than what’s at issue here.

In general, the Bible is strangely silent about Jesus’ life between the ages of 0 and 30 (for the most part).  You’d think that if you were going to craft a backstory for the Messiah, you’d have Him coming out of the womb speaking all tongues fluently, killing Him a b’ar when He was only three, and just being an all-around wunderkind.  Instead, He lived a life of quiet obscurity, learning, likely plying His trade as a carpenter, and being a loyal son (and Son, presumably).

There is an odd tradition that maintains Jesus spent His 20s in India, where He got the idea for the resurrection and others of the more Bhuddist-inspired elements of His teachings.  I suppose we have no concrete evidence that He didn’t go to India sometime during these 30-or-so years, but I’m inclined to rule it out for the simple reason that it’s bat-sh_t crazy.  It’s wholly inconsistent with the role of King of the Jews that Jesus is fulfilling.  I also reiterate my favored descriptions of other religions as containing segments and pieces of the metaphysical truth wholly captured in the Incarnation and Resurrection of Jesus.  So we’re left with Jesus as devoted carpenter’s son, not globe-trotting trust funder doing the prequel of Eat, Pray, Love.

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One Comment
  1. Christen permalink

    Interesting points. Jesus’ childhood is one of those subjects that definitely intrigues me. Did he go to school? I think I heard somewhere that he must have done some rabbi training – but being that he’s God and everything, did he have to ‘try’ to memorize stuff or did he just KNOW it. Did he ever try to cook a meal and have it not turn out? if he was playing a game, did he always win? random things like that – it just makes you wonder!

    As for the growing in favor with God, that’s something I’d never thought of. I’ll have to think more on that.

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