[July 06]--The Hidden Years

Matt. 2:19-23

I’m always amused by this: Every few years a “new” book comes out with the “hidden” life of Jesus. They claim to finally “unveil” the mystery of what Jesus did which isn’t recorded in the canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). The reason I put so much of that in quotation marks is because none of it is new, and they aren’t unveiling anything except their own unwillingness to accept God's word for what it is. They're basically peddling old heresies based on stories told about Jesus which the Church as a whole rejected a long time ago (such as the alleged "Gospel of Thomas"). People like to press Jesus into their own mold, and if the Jesus of the Bible doesn’t fit their liking, then they’ll make up one who does. Amazing, isn’t it, that the “Jesus” whom they find in “lost” documents fits their belief system perfectly?

But what do we know about these years, between the return from Egypt to his public appearance at his baptism? Well, we know from Luke a certain incident when he was twelve, but not much else seemed to happen. When he returned to his hometown to preach there as an adult, they were amazed because this seemingly ordinary boy who'd grown up among them was now claiming some incredible things. So while he'd been apparently well-liked by his neighbors he'd grown up with, he didn't have any reputation of being extraordinary in any way--including being some kind of miracle worker or divinely-inspired preacher or teacher.

So it seems that for almost thirty years not much happened in the life of Jesus. There are no records of a single miracle, not a single sermon, not a single explicit indication that the Son of God was walking among them. For almost thirty years he had to walk past sick people and know that he could heal them with a word. He saw countless people falling further into the pit of sin and knew that he could give them the words of hope and life. But he didn’t. And knowing the compassionate heart of Jesus like you do, how do you think he felt about that?

He learned a trade, probably the same one as his adopted father, and quietly lived his life for thirty years. Why? Why wait that long? For one reason, but it was all the reason he needed: It was his Father’s will. His Father’s plan was for him to have thirty years of preparation (defined by mostly living a fairly ordinary life in Nazareth) and then reveal himself publicly and start his ministry, but not until then.

Maybe, in a much smaller degree, this describes you. You’ve been waiting for what seems like forever. You know that God has a wonderful plan for you, and you think you’re ready, but you’re not. He’s saying to you, right now “Wait, my child. My timing is perfect, and when the time is right you’ll be amazed.” This is a lesson that Jesus knew instinctively, but it’s something I need to learn and relearn on a daily basis. The good news is that the One who perfectly waited on his Father’s plan now lives inside you, and he offers you his strength. Will you take it?

Father God, it seems so long, waiting for your timing, but it’s worth it. Oh, it’s so worth it.

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