The Missing Years.
t is a strange mystery! The missing years refer to the period between Jesus' childhood and the commencing of his public ministry, curiously omitted from the New Testament record. He reappears later with the Gospel, good news. This message, where was it from? Was Christ a channel for Higher Intelligence? Was it the distillation of knowledge gained during this lost time? Maybe both. He is the logos, or Word of God. The man and this Eternal Word are inseparable, an even greater mystery.
We know little about the most famous man who ever lived. What we have is four books by four eye-witnesses. Matthew, Mark and Luke are the synoptic gospels, with John in a class by itself plus the Revelation. But what of the missing eighteen years between the ages of twelve and thirty? Not a word is mentioned about the most formative period in his development!
With trade routes, it seems hard to believe he never traveled at all but worked in carpentry, a trade of little use in his later life as an itinerant preacher. Why, if knowing he had but a short time in this world, would he not be at least curious to visit the great oriental mystery schools? The popular theory is that Jesus traveled extensively before returning to Judea and Galilee to begin his public ministry.
Mythos and Persona.
It is called the greatest story ever told. A legend larger than life: God Himself visiting the squalor of the earth as a man: Christ was kindhearted and sympathetic to the wretched suffering of those around him: Healing infirmity, the friend of sinners and outcasts: Giving absolution for mistakes made in life; compassionate and understanding of our flaws.
Truth Revealed to the Lowly.
In John Chapter 4. Jesus' dialogue with the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well is notable: First, it was a breach of social protocol for a Jewish rabbi to converse with a gentile woman- one of questionable reputation at that. Samaritans were considered mongrel Jews, but claimed the same Hebrew patriarchs as "our fathers who worshiped here at this mountain" (vs.12, 20). The disciples marveled at this, but said nothing. The Lord used the opportunity to say that the old ways had come to an end. "The time is coming, and already is, when God will be worshiped neither here at this mountain or at the temple in Jerusalem, but only in Spirit and in Truth." In a surprising move, she invokes the name of the messiah: The Christ to come. cf. 21-27. Then Jesus reveals to her his identity, "I am he."
Only by ritual blood sacrifices could one atone for sin, performed by the temple priests on certain festivals, requiring a pilgrimage for the people. The marble of the great shrine gleamed in the sunlight, standing proudly over Jerusalem as the very center of Judaism itself. Jesus stated that he was greater than the opulent temple. Sacrilege! Greater even than Abraham, the ancestral father of the Hebrews. The leaders were so appalled at this radical departure from tradition they accused the Lord of blasphemy. Later on, they conspired to kill him.
Joshua bar Joseph was circumcised, or b'rith milah meaning "Son of the Covenant," on the eighth day, according to the law. At age twelve, bar-mitzvah:"Son of the Commandment." The precocious lad astonished the elder rabbis in the temple for several days discussing the scriptures. Mary and Joseph thought he was lost, and a frantic search for the boy found him there. Luke 2:45-49. "Don't you know I must be about my father's business?"
The Family business not carpentry, but Architect of Life. We are left with only these words, Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. The record falls silent before Jesus appears out of nowhere, a grown man of the age of thirty! cf. Matthew 2:27, 46-49; 3:13-17; Luke 2:52; 3:15; 23.
Coming to the Jordan River.
Among the crowds coming to John for baptism, he notices a man he instantly recognizes: The day he long awaited has arrived! He greets his cousin, and defers with humility- this is he! Christ the Lord. The harbinger reluctantly consents to baptize the only man who needed not repent of anything. As Jesus rose up from the waters, a Voice was heard from heaven... "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Here is when the New Testament began.
Is this not Joseph's Son? (cf. Luke 4:16-28).
The young rabbi visits his hometown of Nazareth, attending the local synagogue. He is invited up to read. The scroll was handed to him. He opened to the prophet Isaiah, 61:1,2. All eyes were fixed on him as the congregation of men sat thinking, we recall this man since his youth, is this not Joseph's son? Jesus reads the ancient prediction, and implies he himself is the subject of Isaiah's prophecy of Israel's messiah to come.
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, he hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek and the brokenhearted, the recovering of sight to the blind, liberty to the captives and deliverance to them that are bound. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." He sits down again. There was silence before he drops the bombshell.
"Today this scripture is fulfilled in your ears!"
What did he say? How dare he! Knowing their thoughts, he chides them for their skepticism citing examples from scripture of the precious few in Israel who truly believed the prophets such as the widow of Sidon, and Naaman the Syrian, a gentile- the only leper cured in the Old Testament. It was an outrage!
Chased out by a mob, Jesus took his message elsewhere: Not one of Judaism or political revolt, but of a light within the soul of every man and a personal knowledge of the Living God: A kingdom already and not yet. "And they were astonished at his doctrine, for he spoke as one with authority, and not as the scribes." Jesus' words are impeccable, utterly irresistible. A message not of law but of grace. Not of punishment but forgiveness. Jesus understood we are only human beings, frail and weak of mind.
Judaism did not appear until after the return of Judah from Babylon. The captivity began in 586, BC, centuries after the Hebrew patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. The Lord appeared as a Jew, the time was right, the empire was united under the Greek language and Hellenistic culture. Alexandria, not Jerusalem was the hub of Jewish thinking. The Romans built good roads for trade and travel along with a bustling maritime. Citizens were free to move about the world as they pleased.
The Jews had expected a great savior to free them from Roman occupation, but Jesus said first we must be saved from ourselves. The Son of David was not received by those of his own tribe, Judah, who still await their messiah. And Christians are watching for the Lord's return. Both are looking for a man to worship. The man Jesus did come, but Christ has never left.
I AM the Light of the World; I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; I am the Door; I am the Alpha and Omega; the Resurrection; the Good Shepherd; the True Manna; the Water of Life, etc.
|Jesus the Water of Life - Powerful Scene from Ben-Hur|
Jesus' teachings were extemporaneous, he wrote nothing down that we are aware of. Only some words scrawled in the sand in defense of an adulteress-yet his beautiful Words have been preserved for us in red. Why red?
A rubric is a word or section of text that is traditionally printed in red ink for emphasis, often seen in missals. The word is derived from the Latin rubrica, meaning red ochre or chalk. This pigment requires a separate stage in the production of a manuscript.
Around 1900, rubrication was incorporated into the King James Version to distinguish the words spoken by Christ during his life because it lacked quotation marks. The gospel writer John said all the books in the world could not contain the things Jesus said and did. There must be more...
Other Sources Concerning the Missing Years.
1908, by Levi H. Dowling (1844-1911). "The Philosophic and Practical Basis of the Religion of the Aquarian Age."
"From the Akashic Records, the story of Jesus, the man from Galilee, how he attained the Christ consciousness open to all men. A record of the missing eighteen years, a period strangely silent in the New Testament; a period spent traveling and learning from the masters, seers and wise men in the temples and schools of Tibet, Egypt, India, Persia and Greece."