Sometimes we can learn a lot during periods of silence.
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
The second chapter of Matthew closes with Jesus as a small child. The third chapter begins with Jesus as a man of thirty. What about everything in between? What are we to make of all the silence regarding Jesus’ life during this time? Some rabbis use this to discredit the whole Jesus narrative, claiming that all this silence leaves too great a void for anyone to take what was written seriously. A Jewish friend of mine once used this argument as I was attempting to share my faith. I responded by asking him how much he knew about his wife’s life before they met and fell in love. He no longer pursued that line of “reasoning.”
So what was really happening in Jesus’ life during this time? We know that he spent over 90% of his life in Nazareth, where he learned his father’s trade. Some say he was a carpenter, but the word “tecton” actually means master builder, which included carpentry, but encompassed much more. Considering what the Bible tells us of the character of his parents, we can assume that he grew up in a good home where he fulfilled the duties of the oldest son. We can also assume that his father, Joseph, died during this interim period since he is never mentioned again.
So, Jesus became the master builder of Nazareth in order to support his mother and younger brothers and sisters. He was well aware of his destiny, but he fulfilled his first duty which was to his family. He never considered his life at home beneath him and he likely was very good at his trade. He learned what it was like to earn a living, to sacrifice for the sake of others and to endure everything that went along with being an entrepreneur. No doubt, he faced unreasonable deadlines, late payments, demanding customers, and not having enough income to pay all the bills.
AS I SEE IT
As a “regular guy,” Jesus was showing himself faithful with the small things so that his heavenly Father would consider him worthy of the big things to come. He experienced everything we regularly go through so he could sympathize with our daily struggles. He’s been there and done that. Yes, he was the Savior of the world, but he was also a man who grew up just like everyone else. He was willing to experience life on earth with all its pain and heartaches because he had a greater vision than the immediate present. He was looking to the glory that ultimately awaited him.
Surely, he wants us to adopt the same attitude. He wants us to look beyond our immediate situations and focus on what lies ahead. It will make everything bearable, no matter how bad things get. The silence regarding Jesus’ early life speaks volumes to those who are listening. Think about all that Jesus willingly experienced…for the joy that awaited him. Surely, we can do the same.