I wonder when Jesus first realized He was God’s Son, and His purpose for living on earth. Growing up under the care of a carpenter, he likely hammered hundreds of nails. Did He ever cringe―knowing His earthly fate would end with sharp spikes piercing His own hands and feet?
Luke 2:40-52 gives an account of Jesus at the age of twelve. Jesus―strong and full of God’s wisdom and grace―remained behind in Jerusalem when his parents began journeying home from their yearly Passover Festival. Mary and Joseph were concerned. Where is Jesus?
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.” – (vs. 46-47)
Joseph and Mary: Relief … astonishment … parental anger
Jesus: “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (vs. 49) “Or be about my Father’s business,” (NIV Bible’s footnote)
Joseph and Mary: Fear … misunderstanding
Was this Jesus’ first experience of His identity and mission being misunderstood? It wouldn’t be His last. The gospels―Matthew, Mark, Luke and John―detail Jesus’ suffering. His blood brothers ridiculed Him. Many disciples turned away. Even those in His inner circle misunderstood many of His teachings, and then scattered upon Jesus’ arrest. His home town shunned Him. The Pharisees bombarded Him with false accusations…
But Jesus pressed on.
In ministry, Jesus didn’t have home comforts, but instead dwelt among throngs of people―many pursuing Him with selfish motives.
But He persevered.
Satan―knowing Jesus’ true identity and mission from the get-go―assaulted Him with temptations, seeking to steal Jesus’ worship, kingdom and glory.
But Jesus overcame (Matthew 4).
So what prompted Jesus’ strong resolve amid such opposition? He prayed often, plugging into His Father’s power source. Also, Jesus declared:
My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.” – John 4:34
God’s grace to us led Christ to His death. Jesus―fully God and fully man―did not come to gain political power or status, but to suffer and die so we could have eternal life (Hebrews 2:9-10).
Our sinless Christ sympathizes with our weaknesses (Hebrews 2:18). He is the answer to all our dilemmas and temptations. Through Christ, we too can press on (Philippians 4:13).