The Unknown Years: Luke 2:39-40

Focus Passage: Luke 2:39-40 (CEV)

39 After Joseph and Mary had done everything that the Law of the Lord commands, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. 40 The child Jesus grew. He became strong and wise, and God blessed him.

Read Luke 2:39-40 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

Aside from the trip to Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve years old, very little is recorded about His growing up years. With all the fame and popularity Jesus had during His ministry, that represents only three and a half years of His 33-34 years spent on earth. All four gospel writers spend almost all their time focused on the last three and a half years, and because of this, the first 30 years are virtually unknown.

However, Luke’s gospel does share a transition statement that gives a hint at what Jesus was like. Luke tells us that “After Joseph and Mary had done everything that the Law of the Lord commands, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. The child Jesus grew. He became strong and wise, and God blessed him.” (v. 39-40)

While Luke skips over the family’s escape to Egypt when Jesus was a baby, Luke does include the only description of the unknown years that we have. Luke tells us that Jesus became strong, wise, and that God blessed Him.

The evidence of Jesus’ growth can be seen in the next stop Luke makes in his story, which is the family’s trip to Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve. At that point, Jesus had grew with enough knowledge and wisdom to impress those in the temple who were present. “Everyone who heard him was surprised at how much he knew and at the answers he gave.” (v. 47)

Luke also shares something similar when describing the transition into adulthood. He finishes the chapter by saying, “Jesus became wise, and he grew strong. God was pleased with him and so were the people.” (v. 52)

The description we have of Jesus’ developing years was one where He focused on personal growth, relational growth, and spiritual growth. Jesus grew His mind, He grew His heart, and He grew His faith. The 30 years of growth laid the foundation for an earth-changing three and a half years of ministry.

These verses tell me that even if God hasn’t placed me in a spotlight, it is important for me to focus on the foundation of my life. Only with a strong foundation placed on Jesus and a relationship with God can I hope to accomplish anything significant for Him. Since Jesus is a role model for us, we would do well to pay attention to the unknown years, and focus on growing in wisdom and strength.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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