“The truth shall set you free and the truth has a name; he’s over in the woodshop right now covered in sawdust. Everything is about him. And freedom is a process that happens inside a relationship with him.”
What’s the first image that comes to your mind when you think about Jesus? We have talked about appearance, most likely you view him as I do with long brown hair and a handsome compassionate face. But what is he doing in the image? I’ve seen many images of Jesus laughing, praying, crying, teaching, and healing. The most familiar image of all, Jesus on the cross. All these images are derived from the last few years of his life, the only years…despite his birth and his temple visit as a boy, that we know of. There are still over 30 years of undocumented life.
What we do know is that Jesus was a carpenter like his earthly father Joseph. That life as a Jew under Roman control was harsh, and that he grew up in Nazareth, a place despised by Jews because it was full of Gentiles. As to whether Jesus was an only child is widely debated, but I’d like to think that Mary and Joseph continued having children in their youth just as others did.
Since his birth, we see Jesus only once more, in the temple after Passover. It is believed he was 12 years old, and at that time, knew his purpose and identity. He proves this to his parents, not in disobedience, but in obedience to his heavenly father. As to what he did after that we can only guess was in preparation for his ministry.
The truth is Jesus came to do more than cover our sins, he came also to become our new high priest. What does that mean exactly? As high priest you were the mediator between God and men, you offered sacrifices to cover their sins and guided people in the ways of righteousness, as it says in Leviticus. However, there were rules you must follow to keep such a divine title. Leviticus 21 goes on to list all the rules, among those being, he shall not, “…tear his clothes.” (21:10)
They brought Jesus before the high priest, he was bruised and bloodied yet his face was set and he was as silent as a lamb before slaughter. The priest’s questions reverberated through the halls with no reply.
The high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus *said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; 66 what do you think?” They answered, “He deserves death!” (Matthew 26:63-65)
At that moment, the high priest was no longer Caiaphas, having disobeyed the law in tearing his robes, Jesus was now able to take the position as our high priest.
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Those 30 years before ministry I believe Jesus spent simply being human, experiencing everything we experience in our day-to-day grind. Understanding pain, heartache, loss, joy, peace, longing etc. Growing up and the challenges and changes that brought, as well obeying his parent’s authority and learning how to live in a society that struggled under oppression. In those 30 years, Jesus was becoming our perfect high priest, able to understand and relate to being human because he himself was.
Even when his ministry began, he walked through life as a man dependent on the Father. Never once did he work apart from God, and that is the image we should mirror and follow, for what can we do apart from Him? We see satan attempt to trick Jesus into calling on his power as God, and in trying to make him question his identity as God’s Son. And at Jesus’s death, we see him cry out to God, “Lord why have you forsaken me?” Showing he was able to feel separation from his Father, just as we do when we fall into fear and anguish. At any point Jesus could have used his power, could have called down angels from heaven to rescue him, he could have chosen never to feel hungry or thirsty, and yet he limited himself, bringing himself down to our level in order to understand us. Never again can we say that God doesn’t understand what it’s like to be us because of Jesus.
There is so much more to Jesus, much we have yet to unveil, as John said, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” That’s quite a statement coming from a man who had walked with Jesus. And now we await that same Jesus’s return, preparing the church and sharing the gospel until the one true Christ comes down from heaven with eye’s ablaze for the kingdom of God.
Then I saw heaven standing open, and there before me was a white horse. And its rider is called Faithful and True. With righteousness, He judges and wages war. He has eyes like blazing fire, and many royal crowns on His head. He has a name written on Him that only He Himself knows. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is The Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in fine linen, white and pure, follow Him on white horses. And from His mouth proceeds a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God, the Almighty. And He has a name written on His robe and on His thigh: King of kings and Lord of lords. (Revelation 19:12-17)