Lent, Day 5, March 5th , 2017
Life and Times of Male Children During Jesus' Lifetime
While the Bible does not record much of Jesus' childhood nor early adult years, there are other writings, including secular ones, that provide some basic information about what His life would have been like during these years. Jesus grew up in Nazareth, which was a small and poor town. His education, at His local synagogue, would have included learning about the Scriptures (Old Testament writings, such as the Torah, the books of the prophets), and He would have learned his father, Joseph's carpenter trade. As the firstborn son, Jesus would have also been responsible for his mother's care after Joseph died. Jesus was not an only child, though, so it's likely that his other brothers took over that responsibility when Jesus began His ministry (Joseph, Judas, Simon, and, several daughters, Matt. 13:55).
The Romans had a practice of crucifying prisoners at Passover time each year. As a goodwill gesture, they would allow the people to choose one prisoner to be set free. (Mark 15: 1-15). The crosses would be erected along the road leading into Jerusalem, and the bodies hanging on them were meant to be a deterrent to keep others from engaging in activities that were punishable by death. I wonder what Mary thought as she viewed these poignant images each year as her family travelled to Jerusalem to observe the Passover? I wonder if, during the many years of following this road to the Holy City, if Jesus had any foreshadowing about His pending death and the format it would take (i.e., crucifixion)?
After we see the glimpses of Jesus' early childhood in the NT, and discover a little of what His life was like from secular accounts, the Apostle Luke provides a summation statement, “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man,” (Lk. 2: 52, NIV). Many people have wondered why the Bible does not provide more details about Jesus' early life. As I pondered this question, I remembered that the Apostle John noted that “Jesus did many other things as well. If everyone of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written,” (Jn. 21:25, NIV). The Apostles chose to bring the focuse to Jesus' identity and divinity, His ministry, and His sacrifice that opened the way for individuals to be reconciled to God (Rom. 5: 10-11).
Blessings & Peace
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)