The Missing Years.
Luke 1:80; 2:39-52
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men.” – Luke 2:52 NIV
There is about a ten year gap between the time the wise men came to visit Jesus and the story recorded here of His adventure in the Temple. For whatever reason God has chosen to veil those years from us, as well as most of His childhood experiences. We are given only a brief glimpse into the formative years of Jesus’ life, and yet, what we see is enough to let us know that Jesus was no ordinary child. As He grew older, He became increasingly aware of His identity and His role.
There have always been those who have desired to know what was going on in Nazareth all those years. The result was a series of false gospels that attempted to put into story form the childhood of Jesus. They came to be known as the “Infancy Gospels” and contained fantastical stories in which Jesus, the boy, performed miracles and slights of hand, much to the amazement of His peers. Jesus is portrayed as a super-human child with miraculous powers that He uses in childish ways to impress His friends. In one account, Jesus slides down a sunbeam. In another He hangs His water pitcher on a sunbeam. In his carpenter shop, when Joseph encountered difficulty fitting two pieces of wood together, Jesus would simply “bless” them into place. There are even stories of Jesus turning other children into goats, simply for refusing to play with Him. He used His powers to wither local bullies, and there is even the story of Jesus striking blind a school teacher who dared to scold Him.
These stories are the creations of men and not the divinely inspired word of God. What we know of Jesus’ childhood is limited to these few passages. What we do know is that He was being raised in a traditional Jewish household, where adherence to the law of God was a high priority. As is recorded in this passage, Jesus and His family made the annual trip to Jerusalem for the Passover. They were devout, dedicated Jews. But in this story, we are given a brief glimpse into what was going on in the life of the Messiah. He was growing up. He was increasing in His awareness of unique role and coming responsibilities. He had a maturing sense of His true identity as the Son of God as expressed in His statement to Mary, “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49 NLT).
There would be another 18-year gap before we hear anything more from or about Jesus. All we can assume is that Jesus continued to grow physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. He was obviously raised like any normal Jewish child. He had brothers and sisters. He ate, drank, played, worked, did household chores, studied, attended the Synagogue, and lovingly obeyed Mary and Joseph. Little did anyone know who lived in Nazareth, that this young boy was their very own, long-awaited Messiah. God veiled these days in obscurity, waiting for just the right moment to introduce His Son to the world. And in the meantime, “Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people” (Luke 2:52 NLT). These were years of silence, but God was active. He was preparing His Son and setting the stage for the launch of His earthly ministry. Jesus would prove to be no ordinary boy or man. He was the Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah, and the Savior of the world.
Father, for whatever reason, You have chosen to hide the childhood years of Jesus from our eyes. Obviously, You have good reasons for doing so. His arrival as an infant was critical, because it reminds us of Jesus’ manhood. He was the God-man. But it would not be until He became a man, that Jesus’ earthly ministry would commence. You prepared Him and revealed Him at just the right time. You were working behind the scenes in ways we will never know, but it reminds us that You are always at work, and never truly silent. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men