555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

210. How Old Was Jesus When He Began to Understand the Nature of His Mission?

Although one cannot trace with any degree of precision the various stages of development of the consciousness of his mission, it is evident from the Gospel record that it must have begun early and gradually increased to complete appreciation as manhood approached. We are told that even in childhood he "grew and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom," and the "grace of God was upon him." (Luke 2 40.) In youth we find him questioning and expounding to the rabbis in the temple and "increasing in stature and in wisdom and in favor with God and man." His wonderful knowledge, his amazing questions and his discerning answers to the elders must have become more and more accentuated during the passage of these early years, and we may gather that Mary had already premonitions of the future career of her Divine Son, since she pondered over and "hid all these things in her heart." There are indications that seem to warrant the conclusion that long before the opening of his public ministry, Jesus was absorbed by the thought of the mission to which he was destined. He knew his Father's business and did it, and he frequented his Father's house. His life and surroundings in Nazareth brought him in contact with a simple, earnest people and with sorrow and suffering. These were years of character-building and development They bore fruit when the time was ripe for his public ministry and prepared him for the baptism at John's hands. This was the last act of his private life and the first that marked the beginning of his public mission, when the heavenly voice proclaimed him as the "Beloved Son" and the Baptist bare record that he was the Son of God.