While we can learn a lot about Jesus’ life and ministry through Scripture, there are surprises to be found hidden within the Gospels, even for devout Christians. With advances in historical research and archaeological studies, more is known about his life and times. Here are six mind blowing facts about Jesus.
Jesus Preached as a Child
Jesus was a preacher as an adolescent. The Bible describes a time when Jesus was 12 years old and was found by His parents, preaching in the temple to adults. The Bible tells us, “When His parents saw Him, they were astonished. His mother said to Him, ‘Son, why have You treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for You.’ ‘Why were you searching for me?’ He asked. ‘Didn’t you know I’d be in my Father’s house?’ But they did not understand what He was saying to them.”
This is the only story in the gospels about Jesus between His infancy and His public ministry as a man. The main teaching of this passage from Luke is that Jesus now recognizes His unique sonship to God, and that His mission will require of Him a devotion of God’s purposes so great that it takes precedence over family ties. He must follow His calling, even if it brings pain and misunderstanding. In this way, Luke sets the stage for the adult ministry of the Son of God.
Jesus Didn’t Begin His Ministry Until He Was 30
While Jesus was incredibly wise for His age, Jesus didn’t truly begin His earthly ministry until age 30. This is the age of spiritual maturity in Scripture and in the Judaic culture of Jesus’ day. Thirty was the age at which a man would be fully recognized as a rabbi. Thirty was also the age at which the Levites entered into work; the age in which it was lawful for scribes to teach. Thirty is the age when the Jewish community felt like individuals were ripe for leadership. Most of the time when the number 30 is mentioned, it is in reference with some significant event or responsibility.
Jesus Often Spoke in Parables
One of the methods Jesus used to communicate His message was through parables. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Sometimes His teachings were quite simple, but other times they required much thought and introspection. When Jesus started telling parables to the people, His disciples asked the obvious question, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” (Matthew 13:10). Jesus’ answer to them was quite revealing.
“Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven…but to them it has not been given …And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive, for the heart of the people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them” (Matthew 13:11, 14,15).
Unwillingness on the part of the people to receive Jesus’ message of the kingdom was the reason that He taught in parables. The truths of the kingdom of God were heard by them but not understood. It was not because God was hiding the truth from them – it was because they did not want to hear.
Jesus Performed Countless Miracles
The Bible tells us that all the books in the world couldn’t record all the miracles that Jesus Christ did (John 21:25). It probably comes as no surprise that Jesus is considered the number one healer. He revived the dead, healed the sick and took a small portion of food and feed thousands. Scripture describes at least 39 miracles that Jesus performed during His public ministry, and various other miracles that are associated with Him, such as His birth, Transfiguration, Resurrection and Ascension. But don’t think these were the only miracles that Jesus performed during His ministry.
Jesus Fasted for 40 Days
After Jesus was baptized, He lived in the desert without food or drink for 40 days, where He was heavily tempted by Satan. During those 40 days when Jesus’ flesh was at its weakest, He endured relentless temptation by the enemy. He offered Jesus alternatives to God’s plan, compromises that would satisfy His natural desires, and attacks upon His very identity as Son of God. Jesus used the word of God, not His own strength to defeat those temptations and remain victorious over sin. He demonstrated for us that fasting can strengthen us spiritually when we use it to draw closer to God. This inaugurated His public ministry. Matthew 4:1 says that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness. This testing time prepared Him for the three-year ministry that would change the world.
Jesus Was Betrayed for 30 Silver Pieces
According to an account in the Gospel of Matthew, Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ disciples, betrayed Jesus and turned Him in so He could collect 30 pieces of silver. Parts of the New Testament use the silver piece as a typical, pre-tax wage for a day’s labor. So, 30 pieces would be about 5 weeks money based n a 6-day work week. Jesus was then arrested in Gethsemane where Judas revealed Jesus’ identity to the soldiers by giving Him a kiss.
Jesus is not so much a problem to be solved but a mystery to be pondered. While it’s natural to want to know as much as you can about Jesus, you should beware of outlandish claims about the Son of God (He was married to Mary Magdalene, He lived in India and so on). Many of these claims project our personal desires on a person who will always remain somewhat elusive and hard to fully understand.