What did Jesus know ... and when? Easter 2018.
I'm a thinker.
It can be a real problem because I struggle shutting my thinking mind down.
I often wonder what other people are thinking.
Like, I have been spending time wondering what Jesus was thinking about in the couple weeks before his death. Sure, next week we recognize Palm Sunday when Jesus was cheered as he entered Jerusalem, but what was Jesus thinking before that week?
And as Jesus was growing up, I wonder what he knew and when he knew it.
While we know that Jesus was raised in a Jewish home in small-town Nazareth by a simple couple, and that he had half brothers and sisters, was raised in the scriptures, celebrated the Jewish holidays and festivals ... it is hard to say just when he knew he was the Son of God. Certainly that knowledge would influence the things Jesus thought about, right?
Like, after Mary and Joseph and the family went up to Jerusalem for Passover when Jesus was 12 years old. Traveling back the 130 miles or so to Nazareth, they had been on the road a whole day before realizing Jesus was not anywhere in the caravan of Passover pilgrims. Having had four children myself - three of them boys - I remember when one of them wandered off, or seemed 'lost', the feeling of sheer panic! I cannot even imagine losing the Son of God!
Take a look at the end of Luke chapter two, where the good doctor writes about when Jesus was lost: "When they [Mary and Joseph] did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."
"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?"1
So at age 12, Jesus knew he was the Son of God. What did that mean in his daily life? How did it affect meals around the family table, conversations at bed time? By the way, did Jesus do miracles in front of his adolescent friends? Hmmm. Interesting, "the Quran describes Jesus as a miracle working boy who was able to create birds from clay and raise the dead to life." However, the Islamic source for that information, The Infancy Gospel of Thomas has not been found historically reliable.2 The Bible does not record that Jesus worked miracles until his public ministry began, nor does Josephus, Jewish historian.
Speaking of ministry, how did Jesus know to go out to the Jordan River for John to baptize him? Hmm. Remember, John was preaching a message of repentance in the desert. . . preparing the way, as had been prophesied. The account: "As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."3 This was Jesus' inauguration, I guess.
Let's keep going ..."Then Jesus was led by the Spirit
into the wilderness to be tempted..." 40 days and nights of fasting.4
There it is, Friends; did you catch it? How did Jesus know when to go and where to go? He was led by the Spirit; Jesus prayed. While he was the Son of God, the gospels tell us that Jesus withdrew often to pray. He knew Isaiah's words, "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice behind you saying, 'This is the way, walk in it.'"5 Accordingly, Jesus made prayer a priority. Jesus prayed regularly, and listened for the direction of his Father's voice, which he heeded.
After Jesus' forty days of temptation in the Judean desert, he began his public ministry.
When the fullness of time came, Jesus began his final journey to Jerusalem. He went - as he had so many times before - to celebrate Passover. And of course, that famous Passover also became what we call the Last Supper. It was also the night he would be betrayed by his own disciple, Judas; the night he would then walk across the Kidron Valley the short distance to the Mt. of Olives, where he would enter the dark Garden of Gethsemane to pray, to agonize over what was to come.
Note: Jesus was not trapped. Neither the Jewish leaders nor Roman soldiers caught Jesus off guard. He went into Jerusalem knowing it was his time; he told the disciples the time had come and he would be leaving them. It was the Father's will.
Jesus knew the Father's will because he prayed regularly, and he listened for his Father's voice. Ohhhh, yes. I want that to be true of me too--in these days before Easter and all year long.
1 - Luke 2.41-45
3 - Matthew 3.16-17
4 - Matthew 4.1-7
5 - Isaiah 30.21