The long awaited time had finally come: God, in the fullness of time, came to our world in the person of His Son. Mary and Joseph made the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem under the Roman order that everyone in the empire must register for taxation at their ancestral birth place (Luke 2). Mary gave birth to Jesus presumably the night they arrived. They had to take up lodging in a cave that served as a stable, and the baby was laid in a feeding trough! Such was the humble beginning of the earthly life of the central figure of history. Yet was this Jesus’ beginning? His kingdom and His atonement for us had been in the works since the foundation of history as we know it (Matthew 25:34; Ephesians 1:4). John extended us back to eternity past in his account of Jesus’ life and ministry:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:1-5)
Little is recorded about Jesus’ childhood and earlier adulthood other than incidents surrounding the first two to three years of His life, and the incident at age 12 where Jesus was “lost” by his parents, only to be found in the temple debating with the religious leaders. His answer to His worried parents was, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?” (Luke 2:49). The last childhood account is also recorded by Luke:
Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:51-52)
There are some alleged gospels written between the Second and Fourth Centuries a.d. and beyond that tell some pretty fanciful and absurd incidents supposedly of Jesus’ childhood. We can assume that our Gospel writers recorded what they did for their purpose at the time, and that is what God saw fit for us to know.
Of course, Mark’s Gospel has a different beginning than the others. His emphasis was also different from the others, as was his Roman audience. Let’s begin this series of studies in Mark’s Gospel, examining the things that God wants to teach us through this vital, action packed account of our Lord and Savior, the Son of Man, Son of God.
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Content ©Harvest Ministries, used with permission.