The Early Years of Jesus

Michael Heiss—October 21, 2016

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I want to carryover from part four one point. This may help you a little bit in getting the timeframe; it's not crucial, but it can help. That is the time that Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Egypt. We know from Josephus that Herod died between the time of an eclipse of the moon, which took place on September 15th in 5B.C., which was the evening of the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles and April 14th  in 4B.C., which was Passover. So, you have roughly a 6-7 month period there.

Jesus was born about the first part of September. His days of purification took 40 days; after a male is born you have to wait 40 days before the mother can be purified and go to the temple. So, it was during this period when the wise men would have come; the Magi would have shown sometime the end of September and early October. Herod finds out what they're there for and he is enraged.

Herod sends them in guile to find where the Christ Child is so he can come and 'worship Him.' Think in terms of killing Him. But God, through a dream, warns the wise men, 'Don't go back to Herod, depart another way,' which they do. Shortly after that time, we know that Herod's health took a terrible turn for the worse.

Between the days of purification that ended in early October and Herod's health taking a turn for the worse in mid-October is when the slaughter of the innocent took place. Undoubtedly, Jesus was taken by Joseph into Egypt sometime during the first two weeks in October. This is not hard and fast; I can't give you a specific date, only God can tell us, but we can figure that it was about that time.

Herod's health was really bad, he suffered horribly. So, we figured from the calendar that he left for the Jordan area somewhere about the first part of November, going to the warm hot springs east of the Jordan River, then eventually winding up in Jericho around the first of January. He probably died about mid-February.

We can figure this because it probably took about 25 days for the procession and the mourning to take place. Then the train carrying his body had to get back to Jerusalem before the Passover, before April 14th. That tells us that Jesus was in Egypt with his mother Mary and Joseph roughly six months, somewhere between October and April.

That is just sort of a review if it helps you in the chronology.
One further aspect to show, or indication that Jesus was born in the fall is given in:

Luke 2:1: "Now, it happened in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. (This registration first occurred when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) Then all went to be registered, each to his own city" (vs 1-3).

In the Roman world Caesar's allowed such registration, such taxations to be carried out according to local custom. In Judea it was customary to count, to conclude, to perform all such functions after the fall harvest, which meant after the Feast of Tabernacles, beginning in that area.

So, Joseph and Mary would have been arriving somewhere in the fall of the year; just another indication that Jesus was born in the fall. It doesn't prove anything, but it's just another indication.

Let's go to the actual annunciation of the birth of Jesus;

Luke 1:26: "And in the sixth month of her [Elizabeth's] pregnancy, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the lineage of David; and the name of the virgin was Mary. And after coming to her, the angel said, 'Hail, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.' But when she saw him, she was greatly perplexed at his message, and was considering what kind of salutation this might be. Then the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, because you have found grace with God; and behold, you shall conceive in your womb and give birth to a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give Him the throne of David, His forefather; and He shall reign over the house of Jacob into the ages, and of His kingdom there shall be no end'" (vs 26-33).

The angel was telling Mary, introducing her to the fact that her child was going to be the Son of the Highest. I don't believe that that fully sank into Mary. She knew that this was something special. You just don't meet an angel everyday who says to you that you're going to have a son, you're going to call his name Jesus and He's going to be the Son of the Highest.

That's not an everyday occurrence. But she didn't fully grasp what it meant. She knew it was something special, but just how special she wasn't sure.

We see where the shepherds were in the fields when this announcement was made to them after the birth of Jesus.

Luke 2:7: "And she gave birth to her Son, the firstborn, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Now there were shepherds in the same country, who were dwelling in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night; and suddenly an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shined round about them; and they were seized with great fear. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for behold, I am announcing to you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people; for today, in the city of David, a Savior was born to you, Who is Christ the Lord'" (vs 7-11).

These angels are getting even more specific. They are announcing just who He was; not just a Savior, but Christ the Lord! He is the Son of the Highest!

Once again, did the shepherds fully grasp what that meant? I don't think so, but they knew something was up; they knew something was special.

Verse 15: "And it came to pass, as the angels were departing from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, 'Let us go now as far as Bethlehem, and let us see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.' And they made haste, and came and found both Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in the manger. Now after seeing Him, they made known everywhere the proclamation that they had been told concerning this little Child. And all those who heard were filled with wonder by the things that were spoken to them by the shepherds" (vs 15-18).

These shepherds spread the word far and wide. This was not just something done locally, in a corner. Word spread!

Verse 19: "But Mary stored up all these sayings, pondering them in her heart." Here's an indication that Mary was trying to figure out what this was all about. She wasn't sure.

Let's see what happens after Mary's days of purification. This took 40 days. When you had a male child you were impure for 40 days. Sorry ladies, but I guess there's something about a female child, because when you had a female—a girl—it took 80 days. Why that was I don't know, but that's how God set it up.

After 40 days, Joseph and Mary go to the temple. Along comes a man named Simeon:

Verse 25: "And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and reverent, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him." The Holy Spirit had to be upon him in order for him to utter the words he was about to utter.

Verse 26: "Now, it had been Divinely communicated to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the little Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, He [Simeon] also received Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, 'Now, You may let your servant depart in peace, O Master, according to Your Word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all peoples; a light for the revelation of the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel'" (vs 26-32).

There's no question that this had to be revealed to Simeon by God through the Holy Spirit. How else would he know that this was the Christ? That this child was to be the Savior? …the glory of Your people…"

Verse 33: "And Joseph and His mother wondered at the things that were being spoken concerning Him." Another indication they really did not fully understand. They knew He was special. Mary knew what happened nine months before, or actually 10-10-1/2 months before when the angel Gabriel came to her. She knew that this was special. But she was still trying to figure it out. She didn't fully understand.

Verse 36: "Now, there was Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with a husband seven years from her virginity, and she was a widow of about eighty-four years… [in those days that was old] …who did not depart from the temple, serving day and night with fastings and supplications" (vs 36-37). This was a righteous woman, devoted to God. There were righteous people in Jerusalem in those days. Maybe not very many, but she was one of them. So was Simeon.

Verse 38: "And at the same time she came up, giving praise to the Lord; and she spoke concerning Him to all those in Jerusalem who were waiting for redemption." She was spreading the word.

Would I have liked to have been there and listened to what she said! Unfortunately were weren't there, so, we don't know.

Verse 39: "Now, when they had completed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the little Child grew and became strong in spirit, being filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him" (vs 39-40).

The next time we see Jesus, v 41: "Now, His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the Feast. But when they departed after completing the days, the Child Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, and Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to be in the company, they went a day's journey, and looked for Him among the relatives and among the acquaintances" (vs 41-44).

Can you imagine this? You're visiting a city and you've gone through some days of meetings or worshipping God and now you're in your caravan heading back and after a day you're thinking: Where's Jesus? Where is He? 'Mary, do you see Him?' I don't know, I thought He was with you, Joseph! 'Bartholomew, have you seen Jesus?' No! 'Wasn't He with the other kids?' No! We didn't see Him! 'Where is He?' I don't know, He must be back in Jerusalem! We missed Him! We lost Him!

What would you think if you couldn't find your son after a whole day?

Verse 45: "And when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now, it came to pass that after three days…" (vs 45-46). There were three days trying to find Him; they're practically pulling their hair out: Where is He?

"…they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both hearing them and questioning them. And all those who were listening to Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. But when they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, 'Son, why have you dealt with us in this manner? Look, Your father and I have been very distressed while searching for You'" (vs 46-48). Notice His answer:

Verse 49: "And He said to them, 'Why is it that you were looking for Me? Don't you realize that I must be about My Father's business?'" At age 12 He knew who He was! He knew His destiny! He knew He was the Christ!

Verse 50: "But they did not understand the words that He spoke to them." Again, they knew this son was special. They knew that! They knew that they were in charge of Him, but they still didn't fully grasp it. They didn't understand that He really was the Christ!

Verse 51: "Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He was subject to them. But His mother kept all these things in her heart."

One reason, I believe, they didn't fully understand Who He was is that God dimmed it to some degree in their mind. Think of it: you're a mother, you've got this child:

  • What if you fully understood and grasped to the depth of your being that this is God?
  • God manifest in the flesh?
  • How would you treat Him?
  • How would you be able to discipline Him?
  • How could you say, 'Jesus, sweep up the leaves, provide feed for the camels, it's time to come in' when you're talking to God, manifest in the flesh?

Jesus "…was subject to them…." How was He subject to them being God manifest in the flesh? Paul gave us the answer!

Philippians 2:5: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but emptied Himself, and was made in the likeness of men, and took the form of a servant; and being found in the manner of man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (vs 5-8).

God worked it out so that the One Who had been with Him for all eternity somehow, through some process—I don't know; I don't understand it. How do you take a God-Being—literally God—and reverse the process so that He divests Himself, He's no longer Spirit, but a flesh and blood human being? You'd never know that this was God manifest in the flesh. You couldn't know. That's why Jesus was called the hidden Messiah. He was hiding in plain sight! He was there all along. We'll find out where some of the people in the synagogue said, 'Wait a minute, isn't this the carpenter's son? They had no idea who He was, because He totally emptied Himself. He was no longer Divine, as such.

Oh, He had special pipeline with his Father, and you've got to know that His Father had legions of angels about Him. He wasn't going to let anybody hurt Him. Satan and His demons couldn't get anywhere near Him. But nevertheless, since He was flesh and blood human, He could be subject to His parents and obey them because He was no longer truly fully God.

Luke 2:52: "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."

  • How did Jesus get this knowledge?
  • How was He able to talk this way?

We're going to find that Jesus was in essence home-schooled, but not necessarily by Joseph or Mary.

Isaiah 50:4: "The Lord GOD has given Me… [the coming Messiah, Jesus] …the tongue of the learned, to know to help the weary with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as one being taught. The Lord GOD has opened My ear, and I was not rebellious, nor turned away backwards" (vs 4-5).

Verses 6-8 talks about what happened near His crucifixion. But this is what happened. We don't know how young Jesus was, but I'm sure in His infancy the Father was instructing Him, putting thoughts in His mind through the Spirit day-in and day-out. He was being taught by the Great God Himself!

  • this is how He got this knowledge
  • this is how He got this understanding

John 8:28: "Then Jesus said to them, 'When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you yourselves shall know that I AM, and that I do nothing of Myself. But as the Father taught Me, these things I speak."

Remember, "…morning by morning…" every morning. Who knows how many hours God was putting thoughts in His mind. Perhaps reading, in a sense, from the Torah, that God had it in His mind, because He knew it all, and He was instructing Jesus.

Verse 29: "And He Who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone because I always do the things that please Him." Jesus was in constant communication with God.

If you had been there you would never know it, because He was flesh and blood. That's true, but the Father in the heavens was communicating by the Spirit, by the thought process. God could do that! He alone could do that! We can't do that.

Verse 38: "I speak the things that I have seen from My Father, and you do the things that you have seen from your father." Jesus is saying that He 'speaks the things that I have seen from My Father.' When did God become His Father? At His human birth! He's not talking about several million years ago when the Father and I were enjoying all eternity with each other and we talked about this, that and the other thing. No!

"…the things that I have seen from My Father…" During My 30 years growing up I saw My Father! Somehow He was able to actually visualize the Father. I don't know how, but there was a bond between the, communication between them; He actually saw His Father. Jesus said it in the present tense, on-going.

Verse 40: "But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has spoken the Truth to you, which I have heard from God…"

John 12:49: "For I have not spoken from Myself; but the Father, Who sent Me, gave Me commandment Himself, what I should say and what I should speak." When did He give Him commandment? During His upbringing! During His years on earth, God was:

  • communicating with Him
  • preparing Him
  • instructing Him

on a day-by-day basis.

Verse 50: "And I know that His commandment is eternal life. Therefore, whatever I speak, I speak exactly as the Father has told Me."

He was telling them that His Father in heaven is instructing Him. 'He's been telling Me.' Of course, it went right over their heads. They didn't understand it; they couldn't understand it. They did not have God's Spirit, and they didn't want to understand it. So, if you don't want to understand it, believe me, you're not going to understand it. Remember the old saying: he can who thinks he can. If you think you can, you can, because you will. If you think you can't, you can't, because you won't. They didn't! They wouldn't!

John 5—this is what really blew my mind when I finally understood what it meant. I just read right over it.

John 5:17: "But Jesus answered them, 'My Father is working until now, and I work.'" When it's talking about the Jews, it's talking about the leaders; it's not talking about the common people.

Verse 18: "So then, on account of this saying, the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, not only because He had loosed the Sabbath, but also because He had called God His own Father, making Himself equal with God." They knew that! They understood that much, that when He called God His own Father, they knew what that meant.

Verse 19: "Therefore, Jesus answered and said to them, 'Truly, truly I say to you, the Son has no power to do anything of Himself, but only what He sees… [present tense, on going, even at that moment] …the Father do. For whatever He does, these things the Son also does in the same manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him everything that He Himself is doing. And He will show Him greater works than these, so that you may be filled with wonder" (vs 19-20).

This verse has been telling us all along that Jesus actually was able to see the Father. The Father was telling Him, instructing Him, demonstrating from the heavens. Jesus had a pipeline—not just audio—and a visual pipeline all the time. There was communication all the time between the Father and the Son, and He actually saw His Father. As Jesus was on earth He could see the Father.

  • that's how He could do what He did
  • that's how He was able to speak the wisdom that He had

When He was a baby, let's face it, He knew nothing! He really did. What could He know? Remember, He emptied Himself. I don't think we fully grasp that. He emptied Himself to the point where He was just a flesh and blood human being with enough of God's Spirit in Him so He could say that He was God manifested in the flesh. Other than that, He was not God! He was manifested in the flesh and had enough Spirit so we could call Him the Son of God.

When other—Protestants or Catholics—say He was fully God and fully man, no way. He was fully man, but He was not fully God.

God the Father had Him divested of all His strength, all His might, all His glory. That's why you can read in John when He said, 'O Father, thank You, grant Me, please give Me back the glory that I had with You.' This day He did not have that glory. But the Father was guiding Him and directing Him.

A fascinating story! In part six we're going to talk more about the hidden Christ and how He was just a flesh and blood human, and He was talking to His disciples. They didn't understand Who He was. His parents didn't understand Who He was. There were certain ones who did; the demons knew Who He was. I think we'll find it very interesting.

Scriptural References:

  • Luke 2:1-3
  • Luke 1:26-33
  • Luke 2:7-11, 15-19, 25-33, 36-51
  • Philippians 2:5-8
  • Luke 2:52
  • Isaiah 50:4-5
  • John 8:28-29, 38, 40
  • John 12:49-50
  • John 5:17-20

Scriptures referenced, not quoted: Isaiah 50:6-8

Transcribed: 12/30/16

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