Friday, April 5, 2019

Jesus, the Teen Years

The printed Christian Bible doesn't say much about Jesus for the majority of his life. The years from 12-29, seventeen of his thirty-three years, are not mentioned in the Christian New Testament with the exception of some minor bits about "is this not the carpenter's son", suggesting that he worked as a carpenter for those years, or that bit in Luke saying that Jesus advanced in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and Men...kind of vague, that. These are known in Christian circles as The Unknown Years.

Some scholars suggest that the age of thirteen being the age of bar mitzvah and the age of thirty being the age of readiness for the priesthood suggest that those years are of little significance. Assuming Jesus worked as a carpenter, or tekton in Greek. (ALL OF THIS conjecture is based on the idea that Jesus was a real person, a paradigm that I actually do not ascribe to...) Some scholars argue that Jesus was busy in these Unknown Years ministering and studying with the Essenes, a Jewish sect spread out throughout Roman Judaea, a sect dedicated to poverty and asceticism. Some writings that are not Christian canon do offer some glimpses as to what may have been going on during these Lost Years, but the materials are not counted among accepted doctrine.

While I see this huge gap as a bit of an issue with the plausibility of the entire New Testament (Many Christians say: We don't really believe in the OLD Testament!), I do think it is possible to recreate some credible days of the teenage Jesus. 

Here are some possible scenarios:
  • In the calendar year of young Jesus’s thirteenth birthday, on or around May the 7th, Jesus had become a fair yoke maker and worked well with both leather as well as with wood. Apprenticing with Joseph, he was also developing carpentry and cabinetmaking skills. In that thirteenth summer he made frequent trips to the top of the hill to the northwest of Nazareth for prayer, meditation, and emotional/spiritual release. Once release was accomplished, he would meditate on the more- and more-revealed nature of his ordained place on earth.

    Jesus would brood on that hilltop of his parents, who would attempt to dictate the course of his thinking or to establish good work ethic on earth. Jesus, though, knew that he was above these earthly pursuits and meditated on the need to get to his father in Heaven's business.

    First, though, the need to release emotionally/spiritually again, as he was alone and within sight of no one and he had spied LaShonda, his teenage neighbor, earlier that morning.

    Back at home, his mother Mary was puzzled but Joseph comforted her in explaining that boys of this age need private time. Mary, though set to work with energy to mold her son’s thoughts to familial duty. Even Jesus’s uncle could not prepare Mary’s understanding for the needs of thirteen year old Jesus and she set to the task for creating a schedule for Jesus’s days so he would not disappear onto the mount or into the shower for hours.
  •  Early one morning, the first Monday of April, Jesus and his mates decided to skip out on their fathers' apprenticeships and decided to go out and explore the countryside outside of Nazareth, namely the far grape orchards. The boys walked a long time on the dusty road while Jesus's mind, as usual, was occupied with deep sorrow and confusion about the upcoming trials of his life. He and his friends sat in the shadow of the vines and began discussing the great events of their lives.

    Aaron, not that one, told of many days of toiling in the kitchen for his mother when, really, he wanted to study with the great stone builders of the land. But his mother didn't understand.

    Then Rafiq told of the conflict with his siblings and how his parents never believed him when he said he didn't start these conflicts with unflattering comments about his siblings' wit and wisdom.
    His parents didn't believe him or understand.

    John Michael retold an old story, heavy on his mind, of his father working him in the dusty fields from dawn until dusk when all John Michael really wanted w
    as to spend a few minutes with his beloved, Sarah, not that one. No one seemed to understand.

    Jesus sighed deeply and began telling his tales of the upcoming trials and tribulations he would be expected to carry out for his father in Heaven. His mates, having heard these disquieting fortunes to come many times, masqueraded sleep as Jesus went on and on about what was expected of him. As the hottest part of the day came upon them, Jesus's mates, fatigued with the much-told stories of Jesus, allowed Jesus to fall into a deep sleep.

    As he slept, his mates grabbed some grapes and headed back to Nazareth to hang out in the village square with the young women gathering water in their jugs.

  • One day during Jesus’s fourteenth year, it was late in June, he and his mates sat in the temple listening and learning at all that was said by the preachers and teachers of the day. All the day through, those who listened marveled at these questions, and none was more astonished than Aaron. For more than an hour Aaron youth plied these Jewish teachers with thought-provoking, confounding, and heart-searching questions. By the deft and subtle phrasing of a question he would at one and the same time challenge their teaching and, with tiresome jocosity, suggest his own.

    In the manner of his asking a question there was an appealing combination of buffoonery and wit which endeared him even to those who more or less resented his youthfulness. On this eventful afternoon in the temple, Aaron exhibited that same farcical face to these morose ministers, two of whom swept he and his mates from the temple as the boys enjoyed the mirth of the moment.

    When their day in temple was over, Aaron, Jesus, and their mates, wended their way back to Nazareth. For most of the distance the boys engaged in clownish antics. Jesus paused on the brow of the mount. As he viewed the city spread before him and its temple, he did not weep; he only bowed his head in silent devotion. Again his mates left him on the mount and went to town to talk to the maidens at the well.
  • Jesus had a feeling that all of this slaughtering did not please his father in Heaven, and, as the years passed, his father became more and more desirous of a bloodless Passover. During Jesus's fifteenth year, as the Passover celebration in Nazareth, he began to take himself off to himself, profoundly thinking about the Passover custom of the sacrificial lamb. In his confusion, Jesus's parents were concerned over their son's troubled mind and spirit. They attempted to raise his spirits with witty conversation, through consumption of the fruits of the vine, and through the cunning use of puns. All to no avail; Jesus continued acting strangely throughout the Passover celebration. They were delighted when Passover, er, passed and they made the long, tiring trip back to their home in Nazareth. Mary sighed much during this travel.

    Day by day, Jesus continued to think through the complexities of his problem, of the cultural norms, and how resistant most of the host of people are to change. He frequently reminded his earthly mother that she was interfering with his father's business. Mary was deeply pained by his words and Joseph, again, supported her and reminded her that boys of this age need space, for, lo, they are not fit for human contact.

    Eventually, after having wine, bread, and cheese with his uncles, Jesus realized that most people are quite satisfied with foods of this sort and an idea began to ferment in his mind...
  • In early January of Jesus's 22nd year, as he was considered a robust and foremost young man in Nazareth, the young women highly regarded him, though his family was lower in social standing due to their poverty and unskilled labor. Jesus's spiritual leadership was often ignored by the young women because they highly esteemed his intellect and carpenter's biceps.

    Thus, it was not surprising when a wealthy merchant, Mechel, discovered his daughter Talia confiding her affection for Jesus to her sister Ilana. Mechel forbade Talia from going to the wells around Nazareth without being accompanied by her sister Ilana or her brother Uriel.

    When Mary heard of the rumors of Talia's crush, Mary was overheard to expound Would troubles never cease?!

    To this point, Jesus had not made a preferential move to choose between close relationships with men and women; his mind was far too occupied with brooding about his father in Heaven's plans for him to make much distinction between the genders. Though, upon learning of Talia's constant stalking and talking, Jesus knew he must explain to her that he was not free to enter into a dedicated relationship at that point in his life.

    By February the talk was all over town that Jesus had spurned the wealthy Mechel's daughter. Jesus was abashed and managed to take tea with Talia in the town square while her brothers accompanied them. Carrying sticks.

    Before long Talia tired of Jesus's brooding and constant talk of a higher purpose and became more interested in Jesus's brother James.
    Day by day his youthful mind was still swarming with perplexities and beset by a host of unanswered questions and unsolved problems.

Just goofing around...
I thought my son John was going to write me some bits like this
but he never did and the idea was funny to me.
I know he would have made you laugh.  😉

* The kernel of some ideas come from here.

I probably shouldn't have posted this one. 

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