Who hasn’t wondered about Jesus’ life as He grew up in Nazareth? We all have. What was He like as a young boy before we see Him engaged with the teachers in the temple at age twelve? What experiences were seared into His memory as a young man? What was He like as He continued to dwell among His creation?
Many questions remain unanswered.
These unanswered questions have led to a lot of speculation over the years as well as to some fanciful stories (see The Infancy Gospel of Thomas). Simply put, there are no answers to the questions I presented above. We know that Jesus grew up in a small town in Galilee where the local synagogue played an important role. The Bible informs us that Jesus became strong and the grace of God was upon Him (Luke 2:40). We know from Scripture that Jesus’ grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man (Luke 2:52). And we know that Jesus was raised by devout parents.
How do I know that?
Keep in mind that the trek from Nazareth to Jerusalem wasn’t a mere “walk in the park.” The journey took days. It was a financial strain for families in Galilee to make the pilgrimage. It could be dangerous due to robbers along the way. But Joseph and Mary went every year. They and their relatives prepared for the trip (which included making quite a bit of unleavened bread [Deuteronomy 16:3]) and travelled together to observe the annual celebration of God delivering His people out of Egypt.
What stands out to me from Jesus’ earthly family history is that during these so-called “missing years” we find His parents doing the right thing. From all accounts, it appears that Joseph and Mary did what was expected of them. They remained faithful.
A great example for us as we commence our trek of another twelve months!
The day after Christmas, I posted the following on Facebook:
We were encouraged this morning from God’s Word to not give up in the New Year. We don’t want to quit in any of our callings (walking as disciples of Jesus, marriage, parenting, commitment to our local church, work/homeschooling responsibilities, etc. etc. etc.). With God’s help, we will continue to strive to see Him glorified and other people blessed. We’ll surely fail often in these areas, but His grace is sufficient in the times of success and in the times of failure we will experience in another (Lord-willing) twelve months. Christmas was nice. We’re now looking forward to our celebration on New Year’s Eve and to watching 2016 unfold.
Someday I will learn what happened in the life of Jesus Christ when He lived in Nazareth. Today I am grateful for what I know about His Mom and Dad. Though imperfect like me, they did the right thing. That’s exactly what I want to do today. And tomorrow. And the next day.