Jesus’ first ‘miracle’

The transformation of water into wine at the Marriage at Cana or Wedding at Cana is the first miracle attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of John.

We may get caught up with words, not confirmed fact. At age 12, the ‘son’ of a carpenter amazed elders with His wisdom.

Jesus at the age of twelve accompanies Mary and Joseph, and a large group of their relatives and friends to Jerusalem on pilgrimage, “according to the custom” – that is, Passover. On the day of their return, Jesus “lingered” in the Temple, but Mary and Joseph thought that he was among their group.

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard Him was amazed at His understanding and His answers. When His parents saw Him, they were astonished. His mother said to Him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for You.”

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what He was saying to them.

Joseph and Mary ‘were struck out’ by what they saw and heard. Even they had not fully realized the power in this wonderful boy.” Thus, at twelve years old, Jesus, but a boy, is already evidencing that He is a great teacher and defender of truth

Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

Some Bible scholars argue that between ages 1230 years, Jesus was in Galilee plying His trade as a carpenter and also probably learnt how to fish to look after His mother.

Where was Jesus between 12 and 30 years?Answer14FollowRequestMoreAd by The Motley FoolSay goodbye to the old iPhone: This could be 40X better.We’re over Apple. Here’s why.Learn More18 AnswersTim Ross, Started a theology degree but had trouble writing > 3 pages about anythingUpdated July 25, 2018

Every historian must deal with questions like this because every historical subject has some “holes”. By holes I mean time intervals for which there are no records. Detectives also deal with this issue because their job is to fill in the holes so that they can create a complete time line of a case. Historians of Jesus are fortunate because many historical figures have far fewer written records about them. We know very little about the lives of Gautama, Confucius, Attila, Herodotus, Julius Caesar, Lao Tzu, Plato, Epicurus and scores of other notables. It astounds me when someone declares that JContinue Reading27211 comment from Gilberto NegronSponsored by WorldLifestyleBoy claims he’s a time traveler from 2030, predicts 2021.No one believed him, but then he passed the lie detector test and presented a crumpled note.Read MoreMartin Kobla Fianu, former Head of DepartmentAnswered February 2, 2019

It is important to keep in mind that the gospel writers began putting their information into writing not less than fifty years after Jesus had died, and they moved around with him for just about three years. So, John 21:25 emphasizes the fact that, the Bible or gospel does not give all the details about the life and teachings of Jesus the Christ. Non-gospel writers like Josephus, Pliny the Elder and Tacitus, notable historians who lived around the time the gospels were being written, in some of their scripts make reference to Jesus Christ, but they like Paul, did not meet Jesus personally so their accounts do not provide any information beyond those already garnered from the gospels. However, the non-gospel references establish Jesus as a historical personality. If so, then, the only means left for us to resolve the mystery of “Jesus’s Lost Years” is through critical analysis of the events and statements recorded in the gospels in relation to the circumstances extant at the time Jesus lived.

Matthew 2: 1-16 tells us that king Herod ordered that all infants two years or below should be killed, after the Wise-men from the east secretly went away. This then means the Magi took two years to reach Jerusalem and per their astrological calculations, the child would have been born at the time they started their journey or just as they arrived in Jerusalem. However, the Magi located Jesus as a YOUNG CHILD with his mother in a house. (Mat 2:11). The narrative does not mention the number of Wise-men who went in search of the child the stars had revealed belonged to their order, but in line with the traditions of those times, it would have been a richly-laden camel caravan team of not less than twelve members accompanied by servants and bodyguards.

Matthew in chapter 2:11 leaves out conversations between the Magi and Mary, and points out that they “fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” but certainly, before the gift presentation and performance of the special worship rituals, the visitors would have made known to the members of Mary’s household, the purpose of their two-year journey in search of the extraordinary personality who would be part of their caste; and the Magi would have left instructions that Jesus should visit them when he came of age. What else could have made well-learned, spiritually advanced people bearing the accolade of being Wise-men risk their lives to look for a child in a distant foreign country if it was not to inform the parents and other relatives that the child needs their type of special education to enable him fulfill his mission? Like as reported in Luke 2:19 Mary would have “kept all the wonderful things the Wise-men said, and pondered over them in her heart.”

Soon after the Magi left, (Matt. 2:19 – 23), Joseph was instructed to take Jesus to Egypt – the land of great learning and high civilization, and the holy family stayed there up to the time Jesus clocked age twelve. So, Jesus stayed in Egypt with the parents for ten years. Acts 7:22 tells us that, “And Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.” With regard to Jesus; Luke 2:40, states “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.” Like Moses, Jesus had a deliverance mission to fulfill, so if Moses had to acquire formal Egyptian education to enable him fulfill his deliverance mission, and Jesus was also to undertake a deliverance mission, would it not be proper for him to be exposed to the original Moses type of education? So, between ages 2 – 12 Jesus must have acquired Pharaonic education in Egypt.

Because Matthew refers to the Wise-men as Magi, most Bible scholars think they were from Persia. But Google Maps gives the driving distance between Jerusalem and Persia as 2,283.90 km i.e. 1,427.4 miles. Camels can travel 160 km (100 miles) per day with a speed of 16 km (10 mi)/hour. In caravans, they make 30-40 km (18-25 mi) per day, with an average age of 3.5 km (2.2 mi) per hour. Arabian baggage camels are heavier build and capable of carrying a 200 kg load up to 40 miles per day, ( If we use the caravan speed, then the journey from Persia to Jerusalem would be done in approximately 50 – 80 days if the camels travel non-stop. Two years is 730 days, so it means the Wise-men were from a place in the east that was about 10 – 15 times farther away than Persia.

Jesus’s ministry was anchored on non-violence, non-discrimination, forgiveness, peace, and love even for enemies, whereas Abraham and Moses bequeathed to the children of Israel a religious system which was anchored on mass blood-spilling, and presented God as a Being who is nepotistic, vengeful, jealous, and ready to manipulate people and turning around to punish them; e.g. as stated in Exodus 11:10 thus, “And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.” (KJV). But the God Jesus Christ attempted to present, for which he was brutally assaulted and finally crucified, was one totally opposite what the people of Galilee knew, believed in and whose principles were being practiced diligently; so clearly Jesus’s teachings were completely alien to his people, but were not unique to him. The expression in Matt. 22:39 “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself;” is commonly referred to as the Golden Rule and was a core teaching in the religions of the Far East i.e. India, China and their neighbouring states, 500 years before Jesus was born; for example in Confucianism (China). – circa 500 BCE “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” Analects of Confucius 15:24, and Buddhism (India). – circa 500 BCE “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” – Udana-Varga 5:18,

There is an ancient Christian community that was established along the Malabar Coast of southwestern India, more than 200 years before Christianity could openly be practiced in Galilee. It is said that by 49 A.D., (that means before the earliest gospel was written), a monastery had already been built there and St. Thomas (the Doubting Apostle) is on record to have visited the community in 52 A.D. Even though official records attribute the spread of Christianity in India to St. Thomas, could he have decided to go and evangelise in the land of the Hindus because Jesus had asked him to go and tend his leaderless flock he had left there after completing his studies with the Wise-men who visited him when they saw his star and followed it to Bethlehem?

To sum up

1. At age 2 years, Wise-men from the Far East visited Jesus in Bethlehem.

2. Between 2 – 12 years Jesus was in Egypt and had Pharaonic education like Moses.

3. At 12 Jesus is taken back home to learn Jewish traditional and religious principles and be fully inducted into society as a true Jew and prepares to be a Rabbi.

4. Between ages 12 – 30 years travels to the Far East after acquiring the relevant Talmudic knowledge and skills.

5. At 30 He is introduced to the public by John the Baptist and begins his public ministry.

Some Bible scholars argue that between ages 12 – 30 years, Jesus was in Galilee plying his trade as a carpenter and also probably learnt how to fish to look after his mother. Jesus had at least four brothers and some unnamed sisters, Matt. 13:55 & 56; his brothers and sisters would have taken up the responsibility of caring for their mother so Jesus was free to devote a lot of time to prepare very well to fulfill his mission.

As I finished New Year’s week reflecting on Jesus’s early life, I came across a passage about Jesus at the age of twelve. Hoping to take something away from it into my new year, I asked “What was Jesus like at the age of twelve?”
Luke 2: 39-52

Wasn’t Jesus human too?

One of the striking things about Jesus that is often overlooked is the way the New Testament authors deal with Jesus’s humanity.

Any attempt to understand or embrace the incarnation (God becoming a human being), you still have to deal with the fact that, although God, Jesus was also a human being. Saying as much is not a way of discounting or pushing aside the incarnation (in other words, suggesting that if Jesus was God he could not also be a man or visa versa), but it is to say that Jesus’s humanity, as well as his divinity, must be understood as a deeply Biblical tradition. The New Testament authors don’t ever move away from this point.

Many of us who have been part of Christian community since we were young, however, were led to believe that the incarnation automatically made Jesus fully God-like in terms of being fully all knowing, all powerful, and everywhere at once during his earthly life.

The problem is, that’s not the way the Gospel writers present Jesus to us (give The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John a good read through).

Jesus was a human like everyone else. As a young baby and later as a young child, Jesus depended on his parents for food, shelter and guidance like every child does.

This meant that Jesus had to learn things like every child learns. This also meant that Jesus had to grow up and mature from childhood into adulthood, and this process must have included all aspects of human maturity (physical, mental and spiritual growth).

This suggestion couldn’t be more present than in the passage I am looking at today, (Luke chapter 2: 39-52), about Jesus at the age of twelve. As we look at the passage, let’s consider the following questions, “What was Jesus like at the age of twelve? And, are there things we might learn from him (@ age 12) that actually speak into our lives today?

Jesus needed to learn things and grow (go figure)

While the New Testament doesn’t say a lot about Jesus’s early life, it does say something, and what it says is very significant. The Gospel of Luke tells us that when Jesus was a child he “grew and became strong, and was full of wisdom, and God’s grace was upon him” (Luke 2:40). If Jesus “grew and became strong,” that means he was not as grown up or strong at some point prior. It’s makes sense to say then that the “wisdom” and “grace” from God following that phrase can easily be understood as the natural byproduct of growing and becoming strong (or possibly the manner by which he grew and became strong).

Jesus “listened” and “asked questions” (kind of a big deal)

Scroll down from verse 40 of Luke 2 and read through verse 47. Jesus’s parents had taken a yearly trip to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover Festival. Taking this pilgrimage was something many Jews at this point in history did yearly, and when they traveled they’d likely travel with a caravan of family and friends. According to Luke’s account, Joseph, Mary and Jesus traveled with a large party from Nazareth to Jerusalem. Jesus was twelve years old.

After the festival was over, it seems that the traveling party had gone to the Temple earlier that day but had left without Jesus. While leaving your child behind when traveling from city to city might seem a bit insane to parents today, it was very likely that they had seen Jesus earlier with some of his relatives and thought that when the caravan was leaving, he was with them (I know, I couldn’t help but think Home Alone too).

The story goes on to say that Jesus had not returned home with the traveling party but had staid at the Temple listening to some of the Temple teachers (perhaps some of the priests among the Sadducees or other teachers of Torah). He was also asking them questions.

The story continues stating that “Everyone who heard him [meaning Jesus] was astonished at his understanding and his answers.”

A number of Bible teachers and interpreters read this and go “Oh, that’s because Jesus is God so he of course he spoke God’s Word and truth to them.”

Yes and no.

Yes, if you hold to the incarnation like me then yes, Jesus was (and remains) God as well as human, however, attributing Jesus’s intelligence and or maturity simply to his incarnation is not how the writer of Luke’s Gospel puts it.

It reads suggesting that as a young Jewish boy of twelve, Jesus was eager to learn from those who taught from the Hebrew Bible, and the way he did this was by “listening” and “asking questions.”

This does not mean Jesus, as a young boy, didn’t have or couldn’t have had wisdom beyond his years. In fact, the passage does suggest he did (read verses 47-52). And while the passage states that the Temple teachers were “astonished” with his answers, it was not without first praising the way he listened and asked questions.

What if we listened and asked more questions?

Over the span of forty years of church involvement, I have discovered that the practice of listening well and asking meaningful questions has not been a lifestyle habit that’s been praised or cultivated well in too many churches. Not only as it relates to the attention we bring to the Bible or Christian discussion, but also to how we engage in friendship and relationship with people in the Christian community.

Knowing people, just as knowing God, involves learning how to cultivate habits of listening well and engaging them in meaningful questions. Without listening and asking questions, friendship with others simply doesn’t happen. Shallow or surfacy relationships can exist of course, but not anything meaningful or authentic. 

Some people might say, “Ok, but what do the quality of our relationships have to do with the passage in Luke we just looked at? Jesus was not praised for how he got to know people, but for listening and asking questions about his Bible.”

Yes and no.

Yes, while it’s true that Jesus was likely asking questions about the Bible since that’s what the Teachers would have been discussing, who’s to say his questions were not communal or relational-focused related to the teaching he was hearing from them?

Jesus’s later ministry in his 30’s indicated that he was often attempting to connect Torah (God’s Law) to the everyday ups and downs people experience in relationship to others.

The older I get the more clear it is that the way we listen (or don’t listen) to people and the way we ask questions (or don’t ask questions) has a lot to say about how we engage in authentic relationship with others. And the way we engage (or don’t engage) in authentic relationship with people has a lot to say about how we engage with the Bible honestly and vulnerably (via a sermon or personal Bible reading or whatever way you engage with Jesus’s teaching).

People of faith who routinely listen well and ask engaging questions of people are more likely to engage in honest and transparent readings, meditations and discussions of the Bible.

In other words, when we don’t listen well and ask meaningful questions of others, we will likely not listen to and ask meaningful questions when engaging with the Bible.

Question: How would your life change for the better if you followed Jesus’s example (@12) in learning how to listen to people well and ask meaningful questions? Not just as it relates to Biblical engagement but as it relates to all of life.

How would our churches, Bible colleges, seminaries, home groups, and other faith organizations be impacted if they simply followed the ancient practice of listening and asking questions as a way of experiencing true Christ-centered fellowship/relationship/friendship with others and as a way of growing in our understanding of what the Biblical text says and how it might apply to our lives today?

If you think about it, if we really want our lives to in any sense follow and imitate the 30 year old Jesus who laid his life down for others, wouldn’t it also make sense to cultivate the holy habit of the 12 year old Jesus who listened well and asked questions.

May God give us the grace to listen more intently and the courage to ask questions.

Published by Fellowship of Praise: ALL praise to God our Reason, Hallelujah!!!

To God be The glory. Let us praise God together for His ALL in our lives, Amen.

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