Prince of Peace: From the Cradle to the Crown and Beyond
Glimpses of Jesus' Early Life
Between Jesus' birth and the start of His ministry, the Bible only provides a few glimpses into Christ's life. Before He was conceived, the angel Gabriel appeared to a young virgin girl, Mary, with the declaration that God had chosen her to be the mother of His son, and His name was to be “Jesus” (see Luke 1: 26-38). While contemplating Jesus' birth, I was reminded that some parents face a controversial decision of having another child when they know their deathly-ill first child needs a life-saving genetic match, but none is available in the donors' bank (e.g., for bone marrow, tissue, or organs). As the pregnancy proceeds, the parents are focused on the hope for a successful genetic match. Mary's experience was similar, in that she knew her Son would provide the spiritual match to save God's dying children.
The next view we get of an important event in Jesus' early life is of Him at 8 days old, at the Temple in Jerusalem for His circumcision and to officially receive His Hebrew name. While there, Simeon, a devout Jew , thanked God for allowing him to see the Messiah before he died. Simeon also prophesied about Jesus, including telling Mary that a sword would pierce her soul (Lk. 2: 22-36).
Another glimpse of Jesus' early life is the account of the Magi, who arrived in Bethlehem when Jesus was about 2 years old. They presented gifts to the child King of the Jews, including myrrh, a spice that symbolized hardship and suffering, and that was used in embalming (Mat. 2: 1-12). Associated with the Magi's visit was the need for Joseph to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus, because their toddler's life was in danger; they remained in Egypt until God revealed that Herod had died and it was safe to return home to Israel (Mat. 2: 13-21).
The final snippet is of 12-year-old Jesus at the Synagogue with His parents for Passover. The celebration concluded; and the people left Jerusalem in groups, because it was safer for travel. Furthermore, travelling in this manner meant that it was a time to visit with kin and friends, which meant that individuals might not be with their immediate family. Three days into the trip, Joseph and Mary discovered that Jesus was not with them. They returned to Jerusalem, where they found Jesus in deep conversation with some religious teachers. In response to their questions about why Jesus had not been in the departing group of travellers, He responded that He was in His Father's house (they didn't understand) (Luke 2: 41-51).
Blessings & Peace
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer