DIG: What does it say about Yeshua that He was obedient to His parents until about the age of thirty? What things do you think Mary treasured up in her heart? In what other ways was Jesus obedient?
REFLECT: How have you honored your father and your mother? Has it been easy or hard? What decision are you faced with if your father or mother asks you to do something against God’s Word? What would Jesus say about that?
Luke provides his readers with a summary statement of the so called “silent years” between Yeshua going to Jerusalem at age twelve and His baptism about the age of thirty. Then Jesus went down to Nazareth with [His parents] and was obedient to them. But His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And He grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and other people (Luke 2:51-52).
With His return to Nazareth from Egypt, after the death of Herod, Yeshua began a life of youth and early manhood, with all the inward and outward development, with all the heavenly and earthly approval that it deserved.209 But there was nothing exceptional about Jesus’ upbringing. The next eighteen to twenty years were only silent in the sense that God did not send a prophet to speak to His people. But today, false religions have attempted to undermine the truth of the New Covenant by co-opting “the Christ” into their own value systems. In their spiritual equivalent of gossip-magazines they have invented numerous myths about Him.
They have seen fit to have Christ traveling all over the world during this time. A film has been produced called, “Jesus in India.” Other documents purport that He visited Persia and Tibet. Others said He studied in England with the Druids. While others believe He traveled to Japan. The Mormons teach that the Lord came to America to preach to the lost tribes of the Lamenites, Nephites, Jeredites and Mulekites. Some even believe that He was visited by extraterrestrial beings and performed various miracles and works of magic. Wow, Yeshua seems like one busy guy!
All of this merely satisfies the itching ears of those who are always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth (Second Timothy 4:3 and 3:7). There is not the slightest evidence that Jesus did anything between the ages of 12 to 30 other than live the life expected of the Jewish son of a Jewish carpenter in Galilee. On the contrary, had the Lord been absent for eighteen years His contemporaries would not have been as familiar with Him as they were when they said: Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know (John 6:42)? The purpose of these elaborate fabrications are, on the one hand, to cater to people’s pride in supposedly having some superior knowledge (like the Gnostics), and, on the other hand, to draw attention away from the central message of the B’rit Chadashah. Namely, that human beings are separated from God by their sins and stand in need of atonement (see my commentary on Exodus Bz – The Atonement), but that Messiah has made that once-for-all atonement and offers it to anyone who will believe in Him and His Word.210
The Bible simply teaches that He went with His parents back to Nazareth.
Luke had a special interest in the humanity of Jesus. These two verses summarize His upbringing from the age of twelve until about the age of thirty. Then He went down to Nazareth with His parents and was obedient to them. Zion is elevated above all the surrounding land, so to go anywhere you have to go down. In this case, even though they were going north, they went down to Nazareth.
This is the best evidence to prove that obedience does not mean inferiority. Here we have the God-man, superior in every imaginable way, being obedient to two sinful inferiors because that was the divine order and the divine will for His life at that time. When the Bible says: Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22), the issue is not an inferior being obedient to a superior. Instead, it is a matter of divine order, divine decree and divine will. In marriage what should happen is one equal voluntarily becoming obedient to another equal in keeping with the divine will of God (see my commentary on Genesis Lv – I Do Not Permit a Woman to Teach or Have Authority Over a Man, She Must be Silent).
Yeshua was obedient to His parents (see my commentary on Exodus Do - Honor Your Father and Your Mother), He was obedient to the Torah, He was obedient to the government, He was obedient to His Father, and He was obedient even to death. Obedience characterized His life.211 This is very interesting in the light of the fact that so many people today are rebelling and demanding their “rights.” They could do worse than to emulate the Son of God.
During the silent years Jesus remained there. He had all the human emotions, the good and the bad, the highs and the lows. He laughed (my Jesus laughs). He experienced the joy of festive family gatherings, and loved His family as evidenced in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. After Joseph’s death, He succeeded His earthly father in becoming the carpenter in Nazareth (Mt 13:55). No later mention of Yosef in the Gospels leads us to believe that he did not live many years beyond this time.212
Jewish home life, especially in the country, was very simple. The meals were awfully basic. Only on the Sabbath and the festivals were fancy meals prepared. The same simplicity would be seen in dress and manners. Their wants were few and life was uncomplicated. But the bonds between family members were strong and loving, and the influence on each other was profound. Mary and Joseph were part of the believing remnant, and the teaching of and obedience to the Scriptures was of utmost importance. Nevertheless, God the Father would continue to waken God the Son morning by morning to teach Him and point Him to the cross (see my commentary on Isaiah Ir – Because the Sovereign LORD Helps Me, I Will Set My Face Like a Flint).
During those years in Nazareth the Messiah developed in four areas: He grew in wisdom (mental development) and stature (physical development), and in favor with God (spiritual development) and other people (social development).213 But the young Jesus was not long for the small town of Nazareth. The holiness and magnificence of Yerushalayim called to Him. He came to know the smells and music of the City during His annual visits, even as He became comfortable navigating His way through such local landmarks as the Mount of Olives, the garden at Gethsemane, the Kidron Valley, and the Temple itself. With every passing year, as Yeshua grew from a small child into a man with a carpenter’s square shoulders and callused hands, He grew both in wisdom and in faith.214
For many people being obedient to one or both parents is a very difficult, if not impossible thing to do. There may have been abandonment; there might even been physical or psychological abuse. Even sexual abuse. Addiction to drugs or alcohol. So how can you be obedient to THAT! Here is the answer: If you are being asked to do something illegal or immoral, the Word of God takes precedence. The Lord Himself said: Anyone who loves their father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds their life will lose it and whoever loses their life for My sake will find it (Matthew 10:37-39).
But His mother treasured, meaning to keep or to guard safely, all these things in her heart. The imperfect tense of the word treasured means that she kept on reflecting and reflecting on her twelve-year-old’s words after returning from Jerusalem, even though she did not really understand them: Why were you searching for Me? Didn’t you know I had to be in My Father’s house [or about My Father’s business] (Luke 2:49)? She had much to remember, and still much to learn. But the Lord remained devoted to His mother, and she to Him. But as He approached the age of thirty, Jesus of Nazareth knew that silence was no longer an option. The time had come for Him to fulfill His destiny. It was a decision that would change the world. It would also lead to His agonizing death.215