So, Christmas is over. We know about the Shepherds at the manger and we know about the Wisemen’s 3 gifts, but what we all want to know now is what kid Jesus was up to? So when Herod went Pharaoh psycho and started killing babies under 2 years old, Jesus and His fam fled to Egypt. It’s a cool parallel for the nation of Israel, but we get no deets about what He did? Did Jesus ever stand on top of the water when He didn’t want to get into the bathtub? I don’t think so. It seems disobedient. So what did He do? Anne Rice speculates in her book Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt. If the name “Anne Rice” haunts you, it should. She wrote the Vampire Chronicles, the movie Interview with a Vampire still messes with me. Now, I’ve heard Anne Rice’s testimony on coming back to the church. I certainly hope she has trusted Jesus to be her Savior, but pardon my fear that the author that sent the vampire Lestat on a mission to kill the Devil might not be the most accurate theologian in the world. So full-disclosure, I have not read Anne Rice’s “Jesus Trilogy,” but I guess I won’t have to. They’re making a movie based on Out of Egypt called The Young Messiah, it comes out this Easter. Here’s the preview… (I wonder if Sean Bean dies in this one?)
It was real quick, but there was a half-second scene where Jesus releases a bird out of his hand. That might be referencing this one whacky story where Jesus made pigeons out of clay, killed them, and then brought them back to life. That story and even weirder ones are found in the pseudepigraphal work the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. (The apocryphal books are disputed letters, but the pseudepigraphal books are letters no one believes in. Thomas was dead for almost 100 years before that fake letter was written by some Gnostic crazy-person.) Absolutely none of the stories fit the character of Jesus at all. Jesus never “shows-off.” He was constantly telling people not to tell others of His miracles. He was nothing like a traveling magician that was looking for fame or fortune. Jesus gave everything and asked for nothing. And most specifically, Jesus never sought revenge on anyone. I am positive that if any of us that had the power that Jesus had, we would have used it to smite our enemies. He doesn’t even use His power to defend himself. Jesus had rocks thrown at Him, and He didn’t even put up a giant force-field like He was some sort of X-man. Even when He was in a massive storm, He very calmly quieted the wind and waves, not because He was afraid (He was asleep) but because His disciples were scared. He didn’t punish the clouds for daring to awake him from His slumber!
However, I’m not saying Jesus never did any miracles as a child. I give it at least an 8% chance. When Jesus was at the Wedding at Cana hanging with some of His relatives, the party ran out of wine. Very embarrassing. Mary goes to Jesus for Him to “make” more. She doesn’t give him a Benjamin to go down to the ABC to get a few more bottles. She goes to Jesus to do a miracle. Jesus essentially says, “No woman!” (He really says that, go check it out in John 2.) But Mary’s response is gold – such a mom. She goes and tells the servants, loud enough for Jesus to hear, “Do whatever He tells you to do.” She knew He would do it. But the fact that she knew He could do it, might mean she’s seen some jaw-dropping stuff before.
Well, here are my top 7 questions I will ask Jesus one day about His Wonder Years.
- When did you figure out you were the Creator of the Universe?
- What was the first miracle you did?
- Did you ever consider dawning a mask and cape and fighting crime?
- What’s the worst parenting decision that Mary and Joseph made?
- How old were you when you memorized the whole Old Testament?
- Did demons ever try to mess with you?
- Did your brothers and sisters like you or was it a pain to always be compared to “Jesus”?
Well, although there are lots of questions we have about Jesus growing up, we do get one story with pre-teen Jesus, and it’s pretty revealing. Mary, Joseph, and the whole family went to Jerusalem for Passover. Then the exact plot of Home Alone happened. Mary and Joseph counted-up all the family members and they thought they had everyone so they loaded everyone up in the Caravan and headed back to Nazareth. It wasn’t until the next day that they realized that Jesus wasn’t with them and they freaked out. How do you tell God you lost His only begotten Son? They had one job. So they went back to Jerusalem to find Jesus. Jesus was lost for 3 DAYS, but then they found Him on the 3RD DAY. (I hope you picked up on that subtle death and resurrection reference.) Jesus was causing all sorts of shenanigans in the Temple. He was dropping truth like steam irons on their rabbinic foreheads. Jesus was laying out Scriptures and covenants like tacks on the hallway stairs. Everyone was amazed at how well this kid handled himself. He’s the smartest kid they ever met. So what was Jesus doing? He was being obedient to His Heavenly Father. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. 12-year old Jesus figured He’d start with the religious people in the Temple. But this brings me back to my original line of questioning. It specifically says Jesus asked questions and that He grew in wisdom and knowledge. What did baby Jesus know? What about 6 year old Jesus? It seems that by 12, Jesus was the smartest person on earth, but still had some questions. Even grown up Jesus said He didn’t know when He was going to Return to earth. Jesus growing-up and gaining knowledge is one of the most confusing things in the world to me. In Philippians 2, we find out that Jesus “emptied himself.” I don’t think of this so much as him “setting aside” His divinity, but rather “adding humanity.” This means instead of Jesus knowing everything, being everywhere, and doing anything; He added the limitations of humanity by starting-out knowing nothing, by only being in one-place-at-a-time, and by only displaying His power at the will of the Father. In other words, He emptied himself. All this was done because He was obedient to His Heavenly Father. He was equal in power but chose to obey. We mere humans pale in comparison to the Great and Mighty Creator and Savior of the World, and yet we have trouble obeying. Man, how prideful are we?
What about you? Do you have any questions for Jesus about what He was up to as a kid? I’m glad we have an eternity to ask all these.