“Jesus returned to Nazareth with them [his mother and father], submitting to their authority. As the years passed, he grew physically and spiritually enjoying the favor with God and the people” (Eyewitness Luke 2:51-52).
Eyewitness: pp. 29,30
In Your Bible: Luke 2:25-52
Little is written about Jesus’ life between his birth and his ministry. Only a few lines of Scripture give us clues about his growing up.
Jesus Did Grow Up Differently
He had greater understanding in his human soul from the start – whereas other children are weak and have little understanding early on.
He was strong in the Spirit of God.
He was filled with wisdom – whereas most children concentrate on play.
Everything he did was wise and wisely said (beyond his years) – whereas other children put themselves at the center of attention.
He was obedient to his parents and worked with his father in the carpentry trade.
His mother did not fully understand his sayings, but kept them in her heart (for later understanding as the Spirit would show her).
Gospel Writer Luke Wants us to Know*
Jesus was not a God who lived up in the sky, looking down on human beings, not wanting to get his hands dirty. Through Jesus Christ, God lives among us.
Even when he was a child, many who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his knowledge of spiritual things.
Imagine his excitement about going to the Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus was so intent at learning and asking questions in the Temple, that he didn’t worry about time or being away from his parents. When Mary and Joseph found him three days later, lost from the caravan going home, they were extremely upset. Rightfully so.
However, Jesus didn’t understand their rebuke. “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house” (Luke 2:49)? Note that he said: In his Father’s house – wasn’t that in Nazareth? No, it was here in the Temple in Jerusalem, with his Heavenly Father.
We know Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, was living when Jesus was in the Temple on this occasion. However, once Jesus grew up, Joseph had disappeared. Many Bible scholars believe Joseph probably died when Jesus was between the age of 12 to 30.
The shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept” occurs after Lazarus died. Jesus understood loss – he experienced the death of his father. In many ways, Jesus was just like us.
Jesus came in the flesh not only to show us the Father, but to experience every emotion or temptation we experience.
Overview of Jesus Early Life**
Birth – probably BC 6 or 5
Carried to Egypt – probably 5 BC
Brought to Nazareth – probably 4 BC
Childhood in Nazareth – probably 4 BC to 7 AD
As a boy visits Jerusalem at the Feast of the Passover – probably 7 AD or 8 AD
The 18 adult years in Nazareth – probably 4 BC to 7 AD – 15 AD or 26 AD
Application: What was Jesus like when growing up? I came up with these answers:
He was seeming like us, as a baby but with angels declaring his birth.
He was obedient and dedicated to his parents and to God.
Those who encountered him were amazed at his character and wisdom.
He started doing the work of the Heavenly Father earlier than we realize.
Question for you: What comes to your mind about Jesus when he was growing up?
Prayer: Father, thank you for sending Jesus. The more we know of him, the more we see you face to face.
*Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, In One Volume, Matthew Henry, Regency Reference Library, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1960, pp1419-1420.
**A Harmony of the Gospels, A.T. Robertson, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, Evanston and London, 1922, 1950, pp.9-14.