Not much is revealed in the Holy Scriptures about the childhood of the Messiah, Yeshua / Jesus of Nazareth. Yet, the written Word reveals more about the incarnate Word than is often recognized. What can we know about the child, the boy, the young Son of God?
Luke 1:35 — He was THE Holy Child (Messiah) from Conception
Due to His being conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, Yeshua / Jesus was and is unique from all other humans. He is called the Holy Child, meaning His Deity was not imparted at sometime in adulthood. Rather He always was and is the Son of God, the Word. When He was incarnated, the Word became flesh and dwelled among us. Did He know—as a child—that He is Deity? Yes! Mary and Joseph not only would have explained to Him what the angel said, …but continue to read below:
Luke 2:22-40 — His Infancy / Childhood was Bittersweet, Just Like His Entire Life.
Simeon told Mary at Dedication of Yeshua, “the sword will pierce your heart.” This foreboding prophecy followed great acclamations and stunning prophecy over the Holy Infant. The bitter and the sweet would mark Yeshua’s entire life.
He would lauded by Wise Men, yet born in an animal booth.
His contemporaries (babies of His age and home region) would be massacred by Herod. What a loneliness to contemplate. He had to flee to a foreign country as a refugee before returning to His home country after the threat was over.
People accused His earthly mother of being a fornicator and Him of being born due to fornication. His adoptive father would have been open to the same ridicule.
His earthly mother evidently knew He had special powers. At Cana in Gallilea, she encourages Him to exert these miraculous powers, but He corrects her about the role she does not have in His ministry. Still, one wonders how she knew of His miraculous powers (under the Father’s direction). Had He been directed by Abba Father to do amazing things as a youth? We don’t know for sure, but Mary’s encouragements to do miracles would not have come from her imaginative whim.
At one time, when He returned to teach in His “home town” both His earthly mother and brothers said He was crazy (“out of His head,” or “beside himself”.) Many of his adoptive family later believed in Him, as witnessed by Mary at the Cross and James’ letter in the Greek New Testament.
Later on as an adult, He knew great popularity—as a Deliverer, prophet and teacher and hailed King—and He also knew vile accusation, sinister plotting, ultimate betrayal and abandonment to the Cross of Atonement.
Luke 2:52 — Messiah had to grow, both in wisdom and in body.
He entered the world in a nutural yet supernatural way, so that he could naturally but supernaturally rescue humanity from the sinfulness which enslaves it. Accordingly, He was not fully self-aware nor limitless from conception or birth. He laid aside His limitless knowledge and perfect understanding of all things. While He did have a limitless capacity to know and understand all things (unlike our fallen limitations), He had to grow or fill up His capacity over time. This was a process, an endurance of obedience—hearing and following the Father’s instructions. Just as His body was growing, so His knowledge and understanding of all things grew. Fascinatingly, as he increased in this way, the Father showed* Him increasingly more favor… and so did people.
*[His approval with the Father was never compromised, nor able to be compromised. But with each stage of hearing and obeying, The Father encouraged / openly rewarded His faithful Son by showing Him favor.]
Isaiah 50 — God the Father Awakened His Son Every Morning
How did Messiah learn? Who taught Him?
v. 4 “The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught…”
Yeshua knew He was the Son of God, even as a child, because God the Father awakened His Son every morning in order to teach Yeshua. His lessons were not to make Him haughty or superior but to make Him equipped to speak a sustaining word to those who are weary. His is a ministry of healing and restoration, of building up the broken.
Isaiah continues this Messianic prophecy by describing—in 1st person (as if Jesus Himself is speaking)—the suffering and atonement of Yeshua the Messiah. We read of His endless victory over His enemies. Yeshua invites all to trust in Him.
By the way, He learned His lessons well evidently. At 12-13, He showed His advanced understanding of the Torah at the Temple… apparently something His Abba Father told Him to do (Luke 2:41-52). The scholars were astonished at His teachings.
Mark 6:3 — He Learned a Trade Too!
As a child, Yeshua would have learned the trade of Joseph, His surrogate earthly father-figure. He was a carpenter. He learned taking orders from Joseph and customers, self-discipline, investment & delayed reward, product deadlines, good business, hard and patient and skilled work, problem solving, supply & demand, conscientious craftsmanship, financial self-sustainability, reward of a job well done, etc. He earned His bread by the sweat of His brow and by calloused hands. He knew what is was to be tired by long work and the sweetness of rest from labor. He had underlings, colleagues and those His senior. Everything that any professional must do and endure, Jesus learned it by his trade. And all know that a master craftsman is made, not born.
Can you imagine buying a fine quality ladder or an ox yoke made by the Messiah?
Matthew 2:11 — The Role of Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh
Months after His birth, Magi descended from the teachings of Daniel, offered gifts to the infant Messiah. These show significance and would have provided an inheritance for Yeshua throughout his 30+ years of life.
Gold speaks of His being Deity and King.
Frankincense speaks of His being the High Priest and even a Self-sacrificial Offering, fully pleasing in the senses of His Abba, Father (Isaiah 53).
Myrrh speaks of His being a Suffering Servant, a Prophet who would see a bitter Prophet’s death. [Yet He did not remain so.]
Yeshua was not poor. He had enough money to do / have what he needed.
Hebrews 5:8-10 — Everything He Endured (Especially as a Child) was to Make Him a Perfect High Priest
8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.