The Unknown Years of Jesus

brotim Sun, 2019-01-27 10:47

The unknown years of Jesus (also called his silent years, lost years, or missing years) generally refers to the period of Jesus's life between his childhood and the beginning of his ministry, a period not described in the New Testament in any detail. Christians traditionally believe Jesus worked as a carpenter during these missing years. But, why did Jesus begin to walk such a defiant path at that age? After all, adult men have established careers by the time they turn 30-years-old, as well as settled home lives (wife and children). Jesus had none of that. The only references connecting Jesus to carpentry are references that establish Jesus as being the "Son of a Carpenter." Christians, therefore, argue that Jesus was a carpenter like Joseph. If this is so, then why does Jesus not tell any carpentry-based parables?

First, Jesus was not a carpenter. The Gospel narratives suggest Jesus was a bondservant. Jesus would have been 30-something when his bond was fully served. A life as a bondservant not only explains his lack of wife and children, servitude also fits well with Jesus's many parables that were based upon the life of a servant .

Second, after being released from his bond, the Jesus would be wandering around trying to figure out in what new direction his life should take.

Since Jesus was an bondservant, why did Joseph sell Jesus into servitude in the first place?

It is known that Mary resided with her parents in "her own house" [See Luke 1:56]. It is also known that during her betrothal — the first stage of a Jewish marriage — Mary realized that she was pregnant. We know Joseph was not the father because Joseph planned to quietly divorce Mary. But, after some thoughtful deliberation, Joseph decided not to hesitate to take Mary as his wife. [See Matthew 1:18-25].

The notion of a divine conception, a miraculous conception by supernatural means, is ancient code for: Incestuous Conception. Joseph understood Mary's father, Joachim, was having an incestuous relationship with his daughter and her pregnancy was the result of that relationship. Joseph also understood that Mary's only escape was for him to formally complete the wedding rites. The Bible points out that Joseph did marry Mary and that they immediately moved away for a few years.

The Bible points out that Mary and Joseph did have their own children. (See Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3). But, knowing Jesus was the byproduct of incest created tension between Joseph and Jesus. It appears Jesus understood the nature of his conception as well. Subsequently, it can be said that the relationship between Joseph and Jesus was a relationship of growing contempt and defiance. Jesus's growing defiance and his parents' increasing irritation culminated in the the story found in the Gospel of Luke (2:41-52) of the 12-year-old Jesus, who accompanied his parents on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, became separated from his parents. Mary and Joseph found Jesus several days later in a temple, discussing affairs with some of Jerusalem’s elders.

Mary and Joseph was quite upset by the whole ordeal. Then, Mary asked Jesus, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” To which Jesus responded, “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

The implications are quite clear. First, Jesus ran away. Second, Jesus acknowledges Joachim, Mary's father - who was from the Levite class, as his father. With that final disrespect, Jesus leaving his parents without concern for their feelings and publicly embarrassing his mother, Joseph's tolerance of Jesus came to an end. Jesus understood he was in trouble; the Bible declares, "Then [Jesus] went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them."

Mary and Joseph understood things would only get worse as Jesus grew older. Joseph, subsequently, sold Jesus to Joseph of Arimathea. The bonded servitude of Jesus explains several issues:

  1. Why there is nearly a 20-year gap in the life of Jesus;
  2. Why an otherwise unknown character, a wealthy landowner, risked taking responsibility to bury the recently crucified Jesus; and,
  3. Why family ethics did not prevent the younger siblings from taunting or otherwise meddling with an older brother's life as Jesus' brothers taunted Him (See Mark 3:31; John 7:3-4).