“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isa. 7:14)
From The Second Half of the Cross
One reason that Jesus does not go on the international speaking circuit in his late teens or early twenties is that the plan of God for Jesus involves much more than teaching, although that is a vitally important part. Jesus is not only the greatest teacher in all of history, but He is also the Passover Lamb of God that suffers death on the cross to take upon Himself the sins of the world. Jesus can give us all of the parables and examples recorded for us in the gospels, but God knows we need forgiveness and cleansing from sin first, and then the power of the Holy Spirit to put into practice the teachings and commandments of Jesus. God the Father knows that we need the cross and the resurrection of Jesus to put us back into proper spiritual balance before He can effectively work with us. Jesus went back to Nazareth with his earthly parents, after this brief interlude with the priests and scribes in the temple, because His role as the Messiah and the Passover Lamb were equally important to His role as a teacher.
Another lesson that we can learn from the life of Jesus is that the quiet years from age twelve to thirty seem, according to conventional wisdom, as counter-intuitive. We would think that God would pack as much ministry as possible into every minute of the life of Jesus on earth. We would think that during this period of time all of the people living in the town of Nazareth and its environs would be saved, delivered, and healed of all maladies. Jesus might even have prevented some destructive natural storms, or blessed the local crops and industries to miraculously prosper, or provided wise council regarding some local town issue. We would think the legend and renown of Jesus would have spread throughout the region long before the start of His official ministry.
The Son of God on earth, according to horizontally conventional wisdom, would be an invaluable asset to mankind that should be put into full use. Yet the will of God the Father is just the opposite. With incredible self-restraint the Son of God waits on the Father before beginning His earthly public ministry, to the point that the local populace in Nazareth is surprised and offended when He does step forward to assume His role as the Messiah. They thought according to conventional wisdom that any true Messiah would have revealed Himself much earlier, by means of a grander and more spectacular entrance upon the world stage. The silent years of the life of Jesus are an elegant display of the second half of the cross lived perfectly.
If Jesus had jumped the race starter’s gun and began His ministry a few years ahead of the appointed time according to some humanly expected timetable, Jesus would have been out in front of John the Baptist and would have ruined the prophetic sequence. Yet all this time Jesus is holding back the ministering care that He could provide to loved ones and acquaintances in Nazareth, as the Son of God. Jesus stayed within the parameters and boundaries of His calling, from beginning to end. His will was subordinate to the will of God His Father in heaven. This is another reason why Jesus is the moderating and balanced way, truth, and life for impatient humans inclined to operate through self-energized action.