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LUKE: GOSPEL OF CERTIFYING THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
Part VIII: Christianity's Validity Via The Childhood Perfection Of Jesus Of Nazareth
Lesson: (1) The Christian faith is credible for, as a child, Jesus gave so much evidence of human brilliance and perfect righteousness that the Father had to HIDE Him for 18 years lest His perfection overload Israel and lead to His crucifixion ahea d of schedule! (2) Christ's being hidden for most of His life reveals the principle that God may prepare us as believers to be useful to Him well in advance of when He actually uses us, and that because (a) our light may shine too bright for the group w e are to illumine to be able to stand just yet, or (b) for purposes of our having the greatest long-term impact!
- All of us in Christ have desires to have our lives really count for God's glory. We long to see scores of people won to Christ through our ministries, to see many people influenced to grow in Him.
- However, it often seems as though the advances of real achievement are few and far between.
- Well, for the 53.7% of Christ's earthly life, for eighteen of His earthly sojourn, Jesus lived in obscurity in Nazareth. Yet, as we will see from viewing Luke 2:39-52, He had the tools to have started his ministry at His bar mitzvah as would have other young men at age 13 years. Yet, He didn't start His ministry then, and that fact has a deep application for us in our seeming unproductive "dry" spells of life :
- Christianity's Validity Via The Childhood Perfection Of Jesus Of Nazareth, Luke 2:39-52:
- Luke's Gospel was written to give credibility to the Christian faith according to Luke 1:4.
- Well, if Jesus is the Messiah, the God incarnate, there should have been some evidence of that fact even before He reached full manhood. Accordingly, Luke pulls back the cover of the home life of Jesus to give us evidence of His unusu al brilliance when still seen as a child, before Jesus' bar mitzvah at age 13:
- When Hebrew boys of Christ's era prepared for their coming-of-age presentation at their bar mitzvahs, it was the practice of families to take their young sons several years before the ir bar mitzvah to the Jewish temple. There these boys could settle any problems or questions they had about Judaism or about the Law so that when they were made adults at age 13, they could function in adult life with ease, Edersh eim, The Life and Times of Jesus, The Messiah, v. 1, p. 246-247; Ryr. St. Bib.: KJV, ftn., 2:42.
- The doctors of the Law would gather in the broad expanse of the temple Court of Appeal between the morning and evening sacrifices on Sabbaths and Feast Days to hear and answer questions of any kind from the ge neral populace, Ibid., Edersheim, p. 247. It was at such a meeting that Jesus stayed to ask questions as reported in Luke 2:41-43 in clearing up questions prior to his bar mitzvah at age 12.
- In the process, he had the doctors of the law thoroughly engrossed, and eventually was expounding the Scriptures to them, Luke 2:47. This revealed the unusual brilliance of Jesus at age 12 years.
- However, when Mary and Joseph discovered Jesus after worrying about him for three days, and Mary asked Jesus why He had been missing, Jesus reported His need to be about His heavenly Father's business, Luke 2:48-49. This revealed that Jesus, before His bar mitzvah, was aware of His identity and mission. Theoretically, He could have started His ministry at the usually considered adult age of 13.
- Nevertheless, Jesus returned to Nazareth with his mother and earthly father, submitting to them in spite of all of his brilliance and ability, and in spite of their lack of the understanding that now belonged to Him. This fact revealed that He had a perfect righteousness as a child, Luke 2:50-51a.
- Meanwhile, for the next 18 years, Jesus continued to increase in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man, Luke 2:52. The word, "increase" is used of pioneers cutting a way through the forest, and pi ctures the application of ability to handle the responsibilities of life as an adult as Jesus faced problems and needs just like any other young adult, cf. G. Campbell Morgan, Luke, p. 46.
- However, these silent years were not wasted, but reveal Christ's perfection and the validity of Christianity:
- Between Jesus' temple appearance as a boy and His baptism, He was hidden by the Father, Isa. 49:1-6.
- The reason for His being hidden was due to the spiritually sharpened, righteous words of Messiah: like a sharp arrow, the Father had to keep Him hidden in the quiver of Nazareth until the right time so that He wouldn't arouse wrath and be crucified ahead of the Father's sch edule!
- Thus, these "silent years" reveal the perfection of Christ's righteousness due to the effect of His words!