by Stan Mitchell
That’s probably what Joseph and Mary’s neighbors said many times. What was he like as a child? There are some fanciful and apocryphal stories about Jesus performing various miracles as a child. On one occasion, supposedly, he didn’t feel like building the piece of furniture his father had asked him to build, so he enlisted the aid of squirrels and birds to hammer the nails and shape the wood.
But if that was all there was about Mary’s son Jesus, then he wouldn’t have been very special, would he? We get only glimpses of him as a young man. There is the self-assured twelve-year-old who sat with theologians and scholars discussing God’s law (Luke 2:41-49). When his frantic parents scolded him, he made that enigmatic statement about “being in my Father’s house.” Somehow the carpenter’s shop did not seem to be his destiny! His answer verged ever so closely to a scolding in return, and remarkably, his parents let it pass.
They knew there was something about their son.
There is so much that we are curious about. Did he play with neighborhood friends? Probably. Did he go to a local synagogue school and become a bar Mitsvah, a son of the covenant? Yes, all Jewish boys did. The Bible tells us that he grew “in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and man.” Obviously it is vital to grow in favor with God, but it is impressive that he earned the respect of the community, too. Young men seem to work so hard at earning the community’s fear and disrespect these days!
And we wonder when exactly it became clear to Jesus that there was something about him that was unique. When he proclaimed his message as an adult, he was fully conscious of his uniqueness. “Anyone who has seen me has seen the father,” Jesus declared (John 14:9). To see Jesus act, and hear him speak was to catch a glimpse of God himself.
This was no mere magic act. This was God himself, with us (Matthew 1:23). Yes, there really is something about Mary’s son. Come and see him.
by Stan Mitchell