• January 21, 2020

Jesus’ ‘mystery years’ years considered - Odessa American: Local News

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Jesus’ ‘mystery years’ years considered

Ministers believe he lived a quiet life in the Nazareth area

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Posted: Saturday, January 11, 2020 4:00 am

The Bible is mostly silent on what Jesus Christ was doing between the ages of 12 and 30, but how he filled those years may be surmised with a fair degree of accuracy, ministers say.

Discounting unsubstantiated stories that Jesus traveled to India and Great Britain as a young man, the clergymen believe he stayed in Nazareth, in northern Israel, and kept working there as a carpenter after his father Joseph died.

“The Gospels talk about either ‘the carpenter’ or ‘the carpenter’s son,’” said the Rev. Steve Brooks, pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Midland. “It seems clear that he was born in Bethlehem and was there until Herod tried to kill him when he was 2. The family stayed in Egypt, probably northern Egypt, for two to five years and moved to Nazareth.”

Brooks said Jesus lived in Nazareth, then a village of about 400 people, with his mother Mary, four brothers and at least two sisters till walking 20 miles northeast to Capernaum, on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, to start his ministry. “The blanks are not filled in for us, but I don’t think the Gospel writers thought it was pertinent,” he said.

“If we just work with what’s there, that’s what changes our lives.”

Crescent Park Baptist Church Pastor John Copeland thinks Jesus and Joseph made farm implements. “One story behind all this is that one day in the shop Joseph cut the brace for a plow too short and Jesus reached over and touched it and lengthened it for him,” said the Rev. Copeland, who is moving to Tavares, Fla., this month to train as a hospice chaplain.

“They went around the Sea of Galilee working and were known in that area.”

Copeland said they likely worked on “the mammoth Roman theater” at Sepphoris, four miles north-northwest of Nazareth, and for area farmers in the fertile growing region.

“The Valley of Armageddon is on the other side of the hill from Nazareth,” he said. “That’s where the final conflict on this earth will be as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords conquers the enemies of Israel.”

Asked his view of the Shroud of Turin, which some Christians consider Jesus’ burial shroud, Copeland said he thinks it is legitimate because the image of Jesus’ face and body was supernaturally imposed on the linen, not painted or stained, at the moment of his resurrection.

The Rev. Michael Sis, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of San Angelo, said Jesus “worshipped in the synagogue in Nazareth that is still in existence today.

“He was living as a young man, a good, practicing Jew, and working with his father,” Bishop Sis said. “We assume that Joseph passed away before Jesus started his public ministry. Mary and Jesus would have been living in the same home and he would have worked nearby. I don’t know how far he ventured away from Nazareth, but he would have probably been working around the Sea of Galilee and would have periodically gone (65 miles south) to the temple in Jerusalem for High Holy Days.

“An important trade route between Egypt and Syria passed through that area and Jesus would have had interactions with people from many different cultures and nations. It may be that the Bible doesn’t say much because he was just living a normal life.”

Redeemer Lutheran Church Pastor Erik Stadler said Jesus “worked and served his family and was a good son until he started his public ministry.

“Some non-Biblical sources have tried to expand on that period but have not been found credible by Christian theologians,” the Rev. Stadler said. “We know they were a poor family because Joseph and Mary had to make the simplest sacrifice when they dedicated Jesus in the temple. Most people think of carpentry as a nice trade, but he was probably more of a day laborer who did simple contract work. I think he followed his father around from job to job.

“We know he had brothers and sisters, but we don’t know how well they got along,” he said. “He wasn’t well-received by them when he began his ministry. I personally wonder what it would be like to have a brother like Jesus. Maybe they said, ‘You never get in trouble, Jesus!’

“He lived a simple, basic life. It’s not mentioned for the most part because it is not pertinent to his teachings or ministry. What is told in the Scriptures is what we need to know.”

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