What was Jesus like ? What was he like when he wasn’t in his public life as the savior of all mankind. What were the first 30 years like? We don’t have many clues. I guess he was like most young Jewish kids of that time. We understand that he learned a trade as a carpenter under his foster father Joseph. He grew up from a baby to a child to a young boy to a man. “And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.” (Luke 2:40)
We know that he was obedient to his parents as noted after they found him after being lost for three days. (Luke 2:51) We get a little glimpse as we see him baptized by John and later attending a wedding where he performed his first miracle…changing water into wine.
If I was a movie director, I think I could come up with some great possibilities regarding his early life… times in the shop with Joseph, or at home relating to Mary and Joseph…. with his friends…. playing together, working together? Did he display any of his divine characteristics in his younger life? Well, the fact of the matter is that any portrayal of Jesus’ childhood is just speculation and apparently God did not feel it was necessary for us to know a lot about it. But during the three years of his public ministry, we do get some glimpses of his private life, his life alone. Here’s a few thoughts:
- We know that prayer was a major part of his life and he often would withdraw to pray…especially at night. It was after a night of prayer that Jesus chose his apostles… I would guess that a good chunk of that prayer time was discussing with his father who the 12 would be.
- After John the Baptist’s death, he withdrew in prayer. I would guess it was a time of grieving for his friend and relative who had prepared a way for the Lord…. they had known each other from the womb. He probably wept. We know he wept for Lazarus, so I would guess he was sorrowful about the death of his beloved John.
- We saw Jesus rejoice in the Holy Spirit….” In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.” (Luke 10:21) He got pretty excited.
- At his baptism and his transfiguration we heard the Father speak directly… in both cases saying “this is my beloved son…. in whom I am well pleased (Mt. 3:17) …. listen to him”. (Mark 9:7) Perhaps this was a common occurrence during those many nights of prayer… the Father speaking to Jesus and always encouraging him. I bet Jesus looked forward to these moments.
- We certainly see the Lord showing his vulnerability during his time in the garden of Gethsemane that began his passion….. intensely asking his father for another way around the cross…but submitting to his will.
- We hear his words from the cross …”Father forgive them…. it is finished… today you will be with me in paradise….John behold your mother… mother behold your son… Father why have you forsaken me….and more.
The veil was lifted back on a number of occasions showing the humanness of our Lord. In all cases, public and private, we see the love of our Lord displayed.
Our Lord was (is) really something. What a great God we serve. And we will have all eternity getting to know him better, appreciating him more, loving him more. That is really good news.