Definitive answer to a great mystery
By Milton Acosta, PhD
This question was recently asked to me; I also did it merienda and I discovered that I was not alone with my concern. It is a valid question. It appears among the "fascinating topics for discussion in groups." So prepare yourself because it's time to get out of ignorance!
The information about the life of Jesus in the Gospels goes up to the age of twelve and continues when he is already thirty. What did Jesus do? Why do not they say it? Where is that information? Why are they hiding it from us? We go in parts to be able to assimilate without problem the definitive answer to our question.
Let's start by saying that not all answers are satisfactory, especially for someone who really wants to know. For example, there are those who pretend to make us believe that Luke 2:40 is the answer, but it is not: "it grew and became stronger; He progressed in wisdom, and the grace of God accompanied him. "This speaks of what happened to Jesus, not what he did. There has to be a better answer.
Some scholars have suggested that both Jesus and John were part of the Essene communities of Qumran and studied there. That would explain the "years of silence." The assumption is made by some thematic coincidences between the teachings of Jesus and some specific documents used by the Essenes, such as the apocalyptic text The Secrets of Enoch.
This response has problems, especially historiographical logic. Habermas says that (1) it is illogical to think that if Jesus did not identify with the Pharisees or the Sadducees, then he had to be Essene; (2) although it is true that there are similarities in some teachings of Jesus and the Essenes, there are also many differences in topics such as: legalism, purity, hierarchies, friendship with "sinners" and many other fundamental issues; (3) The Master of Justice of the Essenes is very different from Jesus; and finally (4) What problem is there with Jesus being part of the Essenes if they were also Jews? See then how this author argues: (1) First convinces us that Jesus was not Essene, and then tell us that that would not change anything. How he does this to us! Therefore, we insist, there must be a better response.
In the second century after Christ they asked the same question, What did Jesus do between the ages of twelve and thirty? And there were also answers. As Jesus performed miracles, the Gnostics imagined that Jesus as a child began to develop and perfect his thaumaturgical techniques; thus, he made clay birds, he let them fly and they flew; I've been practicing since I was seven years old. (2) But who is going to believe such a story? We need a more convincing, indubitable and incontrovertible response.
Therefore, this great mystery we will solve here merienda and for all. Bringing people out of ignorance and discovering mysteries is something really exciting for an academic. Why kill yourself studying if it is not for that! Also, for the great passion of knowledge, one is willing to give these answers up for free. So be prepared because it was time to make known the answer to the question: What did Jesus do between the ages of 12 and 30? The answer is: we do not know.
There are things that we do not know because of ignorance and others because they can not be known. When we reach that conclusion we can say with absolute certainty and without a place to make a mistake that we do not know. There is no record of those years because for the story that evangelists are interested in telling, that part is not interesting. We do not have a complete biography of Jesus because for the salvation of humanity what the Evangelists tell us is what matters, enough and what is necessary. All that is added is speculation and assumption. We can assume that Jesus learned the trade of carpentry with his father Joseph. That is why Jesus is "the carpenter's son" (Mt 13:55). Very simple, but we do not have more.
There are biblical themes about which one has doubts. It is also true that to defend certain things, sometimes academic or ecclesiastical authorities conspire to hide certain information, or ignore certain issues. This case is different because we have total certainty that we do not know. Now I ask, if we know so much about Jesus, why are we more interested in what we do not know? Let's worry better about what we do know about him through the New Testament directly. Would not you like to know what Jesus has done since his death until now?
(1) Full details in Gary R. Habermas, The historical Jesus (Joplin: College Press Publishing Company, 1996), 75-81. (2) "The Infamous Gospel of Thomas," http://legacy.owensboro.kctcs.edu/crunyon/ce/koran-rushdie/koran/infancy_gospel.htm. Do not get confused with the so-called "Gospel of Thomas." Author: Milton Acosta
Professor of Old Testament in the Biblical Seminary University Foundation of Colombia (www.unisbc.edu.co); Old Testament Editor for the Contemporary Biblical Commentary; M.A. Wheaton College Graduate School- Ph.D. Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Old Testament).
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