March 15, 2016

The Young Messiah’s Only Words

by Jordan Standridge

“Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” Luke 2:49

young messiahThose are Jesus’ only recorded words in Scripture before the age of thirty. Nothing else. In fact we don’t have anything in Scripture about Jesus between the age of two and the age of thirty. Niente. Zilch. Nada.

Other than informing us about an escape to Egypt, The Sovereign God of the universe that gave us Scripture chose before the foundation of the world to only give us one story about Jesus’ life between his birth and the start of his ministry. It is only right for us to ask ourselves why is it so? Why in the world do we have only one story of a young Jesus?

Hollywood can make a two-hour long movie about Jesus in this time period, but I can already tell you without having watched it that the movie will disappoint any Bible believing Christian. I believe that there is a reason why God gives us only one recorded statement of Jesus.

Having had the recent privilege of preaching through Luke 2:41-52, I had to ask myself why Luke gives us only one sentence from Jesus. I’m sure he knew about stories of Jesus’s childhood. He must have, and yet he did not think Theophilus needed to know about them. I concluded that their absence only make the words he does include that much more powerful.

Luke has some serious implications in giving us only one statement from the childhood of Jesus. We must pay attention to what he has to say.

Jesus’ only words tell us that he is God

In Luke it seems as if everyone is announcing the divinity of Jesus. The angel Gabriel announces that he is God. Zechariah announces the Messiah. Elizabeth, as she is pregnant with John the Baptist, tells Mary that the baby in her womb is God. John the Baptist, as an infant in the womb, can’t help but leap for joy at the sound of Mary’s voice.

By Luke chapter 3, Mary and Joseph find out that they will be the parents of the Messiah. A host of angels, on the night of Christ’s birth, announce the birth of the Messiah to a group of shepherds. And the shepherds themselves go and worship their Creator in the manger, and leave from there as the first evangelists declaring that the Savior, Christ the Lord, was born. Simeon and Anna, who have been waiting for the Messiah for years, announce that he is the one who was promised. It seems as if the entire world has declared Jesus as God and there is one human left who must declare the divinity of Christ and that is Christ himself. And Luke lead by the Holy Spirit shows us that the young Messiah knew exactly who he was and that he was unashamed to say that he was the Son of God.

Jesus’ only words show us that He was always aware He was God

Although it would be fun to know stories about Jesus’s childhood, God in his sovereignty didn’t think it was necessary for our sanctification. The only thing we needed to know is whether or not Jesus always believed he was the Son of God or if it was something he made up later on in life. Luke provides us with the answer. Jesus’s words shock Mary, because she realizes that this young messiah already knows who his true father is. It’s not something he made up at the age of thirty. It is something he always believed and knew. Jesus Christ not only tells us with his own lips that he is the Son of God but he tells us that he had always believed and understood that.

I get Christian’s fascination with the young Jesus. I mean we have the God of the Universe, learning how to walk, learning how to talk, getting tired, sleeping, bleeding. His siblings mistreat him, and He holds the power of the universe in His hands. And yet we don’t need to know details about any of those things, the only thing we need to know, in this life, is whether or not he claimed to be God. And the New Testament emphatically shouts yes! The second question is did He always claim to be God? And thanks to Luke and this incredible story of Jesus in the temple we can emphatically shout yes! He was self-aware of His divinity and didn’t need anyone to tell Him. Unlike people who started false religions later on in life, Jesus always claimed to be not of this world.

Perhaps one day our curiosity will be satisfied in Heaven. Perhaps Mary and Joseph will tell us stories about Jesus and His incredible obedience. Jude, and James may tell us what it was like to grow up with a perfect older brother. Maybe Christ himself will tell us stories of His childhood, but until that day we can say yet again in unison, “Hey Hollywood! You can keep your movie, we’d rather read the book!”

Jordan Standridge

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Jordan is a pastoral associate at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA, where he leads the college ministry. He is the founder of The Foundry Bible Immersion.
  • 4Commencefiring4

    I haven’t seen it, either, and won’t. But from the clips they air, I’d object to the physical appearance of Jesus in the film: He looks like a little girl–and it’s not just the hair. I expect that’s intentional, if Hollywood’s reputation is consistent. The poor child looks like His name is Sue, as Johnny Cash might have sung–not that there’s anything wrong with that. But c’mon, can’t they at least make a young boy look the part?

    • GinaRD

      Because everyone knows that young Israelite boys in the first century A.D. had crew cuts! 😉

      • 4Commencefiring4

        Oy! I’d have gone for the Hasidic look with locks or something. What do I know? 🙂

      • Fibber MaGee

        1 Cor 11:14

        • Still Waters

          Numbers 6:5 🙂

          • Fibber MaGee

            Try reading the verses before and after. Was Christ a Nazirite?

      • Jane Hildebrand

        And spoke in British accents. 😉

    • Dave O

      Great observation, and I feel that you may be exactly on point with your attention to detail. This is still “new territory” for the film industry and if they are throwing in small subtleties like this already then they are farther ahead of the curve than we could have expected.

  • Jason

    “Perhaps Mary and Joseph will tell us stories about Jesus and His incredible obedience.”

    Maybe they’ll have that embarrassing photo album that every child wishes their parents didn’t feel the need to show everyone, where the kid is running around with a towel down their back and underwear on their head.

  • strawnman

    I watched the trailer for this film, and that was all I needed to convince me not to go see it. While the young Jesus performed miracles (none of which are recorded in Scripture), I got the distinct feeling that the young boy in the film did not understand how or why. One explanation could be that Ann Rice believes in adoptionism, an early heresy which says that Jesus did not become the Son of God until some point in His ministry, and that the child was instead under some form of divine protection rather than living in the hypostatic union from conception. The miracles would then be an act of God completely independent of the child’s will or knowledge with the child simply being a conduit for God’s divine power. I can not think of any place in Scripture where we see God using someone this way. God uses Balaam’s donkey in this manner, but not imago Dei.

  • 072591

    Here’s a theory : what if the events of Jesus’s young life has been kept from us as an act of mercy?

    Think about it for a moment. Being perfect, He never disobeyed His parents (including His adopted father), which would mean clashes with siblings and peers. Cynical adults would think He’s up to something; “I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t have a dark side.”

    Then there’s His claims of being the Messiah. People would be skeptical, especially coming from someone whose home was Nazareth, the Judean equivalent of “The Official Home of Trailer Park Trash”.

    It would be tempting to take a little retribution on His behalf on those who wronged Him as a child … or their descendants . But this way, it’s simply not possible.

  • Still Waters

    Luke gave two descriptions of Jesus’ intervening years, between the events of his birth and his staying behind in the Temple and then between that incident and his coming to John for baptism:
    1) “And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.” (Luke 2:10)
    2)”And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)

    That, it seems, is all we needed to know, that he was a normal, healthy child and adolescent, but his unusual wisdom was marked enough to gain him a favorable reputation. As John said at the end of his gospel: “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25)

  • Jane Hildebrand

    Under the law, no one could enter the priesthood until the age of 30 (Numbers 4:3). So while it may be interesting to know what Jesus did prior to that time, I believe it is irrelevant with respect to what he was trying to convey by beginning his earthly ministry at age 30 and demonstrating himself as our High Priest.

  • Chris Nelson

    There is also the issue of blasphemy, the breaking of the second commandment by showing an image of God. That is why I do not watch any movies which depict Christ, it is blasphemous.

    • Fibber MaGee

      How do you define blasphemy? Not quite in agreement concerning the meaning of Exodus 20:4, but there is something a bit odd in watching an actor depict Christ.

    • Jason

      Some depictions of Jesus in movies (or any other media) can certainly be
      blasphemous. However, the second commandment isn’t a command not to
      reproduce Biblical imagery for the sake of narration, but rather meant to prevent us from creating objects of worship.

      • Jeff Schlottmann

        Like the Jesus in Jesus of Nazareth. He looks dazed and disconnected from the world throughout the entire movie.

        • Still Waters

          Probably just bad acting.

  • Dave O

    This and other “Christian” movies are either: (1) Well marketed movies targeting the next big “demographic” for Studios that have a track record of producing a huge return/relatively low cost to produce, or (2) Movies that are grounded in proper Biblical context and narrative, rooted in sound and orthodox interpretations with no authorial interference, and ones that we could answer questions about that are rooted in Scripture.

  • Evangelical Christian

    Anyone watch the Hollywood version of when the Jews took Jericho? I believe the name of the movie was Avatar.