Summary: What was Jesus like as a young person?

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Jesus The Teenage Rebel

“I wish there were a couple hundred more verses at the end of Luke 2… (PUT IT IN CONTEXT!)

- as a youth pastor, more stories about Jesus teen years. some indication of how He related to His peers. of how He and His parents got along.

- somehow we get this idea that Jesus’ growing up must have been conflict-free; that since He was sinless everything would have been just fine all the time. that simply can’t be true – Jesus was perfect but His parents (and siblings) weren’t!

- maybe Mary was having a bad day and got all mad at Jesus for something He didn’t do, or maybe Joseph hit his thumb with His hammer one time and tried to blame it on Jesus because He made some noise in the shop right then, or maybe one of His siblings lied and got Jesus in trouble (it wouldn’t be the last time He was punished for someone else’s wrongs)… How would Jesus have responded when He saw His parents sin? There may have been some conflict!

- point is: there would inevitably have been some conflict., for though Jesus was without sin, His parents and siblings were not.

I hope that those of you who are parents of teens, and those of you who are teens, will take some comfort from that. Some conflict is normal

- although there are not a bunch of stories of Jesus as a teenager, there is one: Luke 2:41-52. And you know what it shows us? There WAS some conflict; Jesus was a teen-age rebel!


A little bit of historical background… Jesus’ education:

- at the time of Jesus, most Jewish kids went to school. in synagogue.

- 3 schools:

- #1 – Bet Sefer – house of the book – you went seven days a week for 5 years (mornings only) and learned to read and memorized Torah (our Old Testament – except for Song of Songs and David and Bethsheba…) No Questions Allowed!

- #2 – Bet Talmud – house of learning – at this point you went morning and evening, 7 days a week for another 5 years. And here you memorized all the previous interpretations of Torah (which is collected is writings called the Talmud). Still you couldn’t discuss anything or ask questions. You would be about half way through this school when you had your bar mitzvah (turning 13). This was where almost everyone stopped – memorize the Torah and the Talmud, and then if you didn’t really have any new ideas or interpretations of Torah you would quit school and continue to learn a trade from your father.

- #3 – Bet Midrash – for really gifted, finally you could discuss and argue and interpret (and you can imagine that after 10 years of memorizing without speaking some may speak with some passion when they are finally able to!)

- so the normal pattern for raising your kids in first century Palestine was to send them to school when they were between 5-7, have a bar or bat mitzvah the Saturday before their 13th birthday (which welcomed them as adults into Jewish society), teach the boys a trade at their father’s side and the girls all of the home skills of cooking and sewing and child-rearing, and then get them married off by age 18. Now this is important: in Jewish culture – if you were not married by age 20 at the latest, not only were your parents and family upset, but God Himself was very angry with you!

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Stephen Evoy

commented on Dec 27, 2007

I like the angle you've chosen. Nice bit of research, too. I'm in the process of sorting through the implications of Jesus' behavior in this fascinating story. There is a lot of tension. Jesus is stretched between two roles: Hs is the child of His parents and the Son of His heavenly Father. Mary and Joseph did not understand (v50) that Jesus was awakening to His life's purpose; but He was willing to submit to their authority nonetheless (v51). A lot of grace all around.

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