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Jesus: The Man
The Child Jesus
The story of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem in the days of Herod the King (Matt. 2:1) and the Flight to Egypt (Matt. 2:13- 23) are well-known across the world, but what happened after the family resettled in Nazareth is the subject of much controversy. The most complete source we have regarding this time is the Infancy Gospel of Thomas.
According to Thomas, Jesus and his parents were settled in Nazareth by the time Jesus was five-years-old (Inf. 2:1). By this time fully aware of the power that dwelled within him and of what he could do with it, Jesus' behaviour had become more typical of someone possessed by a demon rather than someone chosen by God. He was disrespectful not only of the people but also of the Sabbath, and clearly cared not about the terrible reputation he had earned for himself and his family. His short-temper led him to kill two children (3:1-3, 4:1), acts that made the family outcasts in their own town. He was, however, good to the family that respected him and his works: he carried water in his lap for Mary (11:2), extended a beam for Joseph (13:1), and cured James of a venomous snakebite (16:1-2).
His reputation changed dramatically, however, when he rose a child named Zeno from the dead in an effort to prove his own innocence (9:3). The Nazarenes took to worshipping the child as a god, but alas this was not good for poor Jesus, for it was he that had to run all over the place healing and raising them.
Jesus never recieved a formal education. Many teachers attempted to instruct him, but his high-intelligence often brought him into conflict with them and he was rejected more than once. He was, however, eager to learn, as evidenced in the episode in the Temple at Jerusalem, where he spent 'three days sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions' (Luke 2:46). The teachers were 'astonished at his understanding and answers' (Luke 2:47), and for the first time he was respected for his wisdom and intellect, rather than for his gift of healing. It is little wonder that the Temple is the only place in the New Testament where Jesus seems truly at ease and happy.
Jesus in the Temple, Talking
The Adult Jesus
- Jesus and the People.
'The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD' (Luke 4:18-19).
This is the passage Jesus read out during his first recorded sermon as Rabboni. It sums up the mission of the Son of Man perfectly, indicating that he was less a divine entity sent directly from God in Heaven to Earth to save the people and more a human being chosen by God in Heaven to spread the Word and help God's Children find understanding and freedom in a time of confusion and oppression.
His mission was much easier said than done. Where the people were concerned, he had to deal with their initial scepticism, probably mostly based on the rumour that nothing good could come out of Nazareth (Jn. 1:46). Finding that the people, who knew very little if anything of the Scriptures on which they had been brought up and whom he treated like children, responded little to his sermons, he took to speaking in Parables and used his God-given power of healing to get their attention (Matt. 9:35). The situation could also be read as the people taking advantage of Jesus, bringing their sick and dying to him and then pretending to listen to him - evidence for this could be seen in the fact that at every turn he was met with ignorance, disobedience, and misunderstanding as well as violence and bullying. Thinking he was the Messiah and wanting to make him King by force (Jn. 6:15), the people expected that he would fight Rome for them, neglecting to see that he had made them soldiers of God and that through their good example and spiritual strength they could reign stronger than the Roman Empire forever and ever.
Christ Weeping over Jerusalem
© 2018 Mary Gemma