Jesus’ Early Life

KEY VERSE: “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” —Luke 2:52

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:22-35, 51, 52

THERE is very little recorded in the Scriptures about the early life of Jesus. But we do know from our selected scripture text that Jesus was taken to the priest on the eighth day according to the Law to be circumcised and presented to the Lord as the firstborn of that family. The instruction from the Law reads, “Speak unto the children of Israel saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child; then she shall be unclean seven days;—and in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.” Then the instructions continue, “And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles [doves], or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.” (Lev. 12:3-8) So Jesus even at this very tender age was brought into harmony with the Law, and we believe he remained in complete harmony with its every feature throughout his entire life.

Joseph (as was supposed) the father of Jesus, was a carpenter by trade and had rather limited means. (Luke 2:24) It is evident that he was obedient to the best of his ability to divine direction, adhering to the Mosaic Law. He was also obedient to the decrees of Caesar. For when Caesar decreed that the people should register in their own cities, Joseph, as a descendant of David, traveled with Mary to Bethlehem of Judea, and it was there in a stable that the babe Jesus was born.

While Joseph and Mary were still in the Temple, after having presented Jesus to the Lord, a man from Jerusalem, Simeon, who was just and devout, and was waiting for the consolation of Israel, was led by the Holy Spirit to the Temple. When he saw the babe Jesus he said, “For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” He then spoke to Mary and said, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which will be spoken against; (yea, a sword shall pierce through thine own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”—Luke 2:25-35; Isa. 8:14,15

At the age of twelve, Jesus accompanied his parents to the Passover celebration in Jerusalem. When returning to Nazareth and about a day’s journey out, they discovered that the child Jesus was not with them. They retraced their steps, and found him in the Temple discussing the Scriptures with the scribes. When he was admonished by his parents, he replied, “Why did you seek me? Did you not know that I must be in the house of my Father?” (Luke 2:49, Diaglott) We believe that, possibly, it was at this time Jesus learned from the Scriptures that his ministry had to wait until he was thirty years of age—the Scriptural age of maturity.

In complete obedience to the Law, and to the Heavenly Father’s will, Jesus returned with his parents and engaged in the carpentry business with Joseph for eighteen years, and the only record we have of this period of his life is in Luke 2:52, which reads, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”

When Jesus reached the age of Scriptural maturity, it was time for him to begin his ministry, and he went to John the Baptist to be baptized. The account in Matthew states, “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.”

John’s baptism was unto repentance, looking forward to the time when, through God’s arrangements, their sins would be forgiven. John evidently recognized the perfection of Jesus and was reluctant to baptize him. But Jesus insisted because his baptism was not for repentance but pictured his complete and unreserved consecration to lay down his life in the service of the Heavenly Father. It was shortly after his baptism that he began his ministry.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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