Please Support the Bible Translation Work of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
Unveiling the mystery of Jesus’ childhood knowledge, this article explores biblical passages to examine whether Jesus, during his formative years, had a profound awareness of being the Messiah and his preexistence in heaven. Delve into the conservative Christian apologist perspective and discover the insights derived from the Scriptures on this intriguing topic.
As a conservative Christian Bible apologist scholar, I will provide an exhaustive explanation on the topic of ascribing to the Scriptures and whether Jesus, during his childhood, knew that he was to be the Messiah and realized that he had existed formerly in heaven.
In order to address this topic, we must turn to the Scriptures themselves and examine what they reveal. It is important to note that my perspective aligns with a conservative interpretation of the Bible, which holds that the Scriptures are the inspired, inerrant Word of God. Therefore, we can rely on the Bible as our primary source for understanding these matters.
First, let us consider the concept of ascribing to the Scriptures. The Bible makes it clear that the Scriptures are the product of divine inspiration. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV), we read, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” This passage emphasizes the divine origin of the Scriptures and their usefulness in guiding believers in their faith and conduct.
Moreover, the Scriptures themselves provide evidence that Jesus acknowledged their authority. In Matthew 5:17-18 (ESV), Jesus states, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Here, Jesus affirms the enduring validity and authority of the Old Testament Scriptures, indicating his adherence to them.
Moving on to the second part of the topic, we inquire whether Jesus, during his childhood, knew that he was to be the Messiah and realized that he had existed formerly in heaven. The Scriptures provide some insights into this question, albeit with limited information about Jesus’ childhood.
One passage that sheds light on this matter is Luke 2:41-52 (ASV), which recounts an incident when Jesus was twelve years old. He accompanied his parents to Jerusalem for the Passover feast and was found in the temple, discussing with the teachers and asking them questions. In verse 49, Jesus says to his parents, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” This statement reveals Jesus’ awareness of his unique relationship with God the Father, suggesting a consciousness of his Messianic role.
Question, Ask Questions: (ἐπερωτάω eperōtaō; ἐρωτάω erōtaō; akin to ἔρομαι eromai) The Greek word eperotao, which means to ask, to question, to demand of, for “questioning” was far more than the Greek word erotao, which meant to ask, to request, to entreat, such as a boy’s curiosity. Eperotao refers to questioning, which one might hear in a judicial hearing, such as a scrutiny, inquiry, counter-questioning, even probing question, a sort of interrogation. “After three days they [Joseph and Mary] found him [12-year-old Jesus] in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers and listening to them and questioning (eperotao) them [Jewish religious leaders].” The Jewish religious leaders “were astounded.” – Matt. 16: 27:11; Lu 2:46; Mark 5:9.
Luke 2:46, provides valuable insight into Jesus’ interaction with the Jewish religious leaders at the temple during his childhood. In Luke 2:46 (ASV), it is stated that Jesus was sitting among the teachers in the temple, listening to them and questioning (eperotao) them. This form of questioning implies a more profound level of engagement than a mere expression of curiosity. It suggests that Jesus was actively involved in a rigorous intellectual exchange, challenging the religious leaders with his inquiries.
The reaction of the Jewish religious leaders, who were astounded by Jesus’ understanding and answers, further demonstrates the depth of his questioning and the remarkable wisdom he displayed at a young age. This interaction signifies Jesus’ advanced knowledge and comprehension of religious matters even during his childhood.
When considering this passage alongside the broader biblical context, it becomes apparent that Jesus’ questioning was not a simple expression of curiosity but rather an intentional engagement in profound discussions. This aligns with the idea that Jesus, as the Son of God, possessed a deep awareness of his mission and purpose, which included understanding the Scriptures and engaging in theological discourse.
Therefore, the passage supports the notion that Jesus, during his childhood, possessed a unique level of knowledge and understanding which extended beyond a typical boy’s curiosity. It indicates that Jesus actively questioned and probed discussions with religious leaders, showcasing his intellectual depth and insight even at a young age.
Furthermore, the Gospel of John provides additional insights into Jesus’ preexistence. In John 1:1 (ESV), we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Later, in John 1:14, it is revealed that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” This passage highlights the eternal nature of the Word (Jesus), implying his preexistence and divine identity.
While the Scriptures do not provide explicit details about Jesus’ knowledge of his Messianic mission and his preexistence during his childhood, they do offer glimpses that suggest his awareness of these truths. Given Jesus’ unique relationship with God the Father and the nature of his divine identity, it is reasonable to assume that he possessed an understanding of his purpose and previous existence even during his formative years.
In conclusion, from a conservative Christian apologetic perspective, we affirm the authority of the Scriptures as the inspired, inerrant Word of God. The Bible indicates that Jesus ascribed to the Scriptures and acknowledged their enduring validity. While the Scriptures do not provide extensive information about Jesus’ childhood, they offer insights that suggest his awareness of his Messianic mission and preexistence. These insights, combined with the broader understanding of Jesus’ divine nature, lead us to conclude that Jesus, during his childhood, likely knew that he was to be the Messiah and realized that he had existed formerly in heaven.