by Pat Franklin
In the midweek home group we attend we are going through Luke's gospel. For most books of the Bible we do a chapter a week, but Luke's chapters are long and very full, so it takes us about three weeks to get through a chapter.
This week we were on Chapter 2:41-52, where Jesus, when He was about 12 years old, stayed behind as his family headed back north to Nazareth with all their friends and relatives. Joseph and Mary find Him three days later in the temple sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.
The amazing thing is the timing of this. We know that our calendar is four years out of synch, and that Jesus was born 4-7BC. This means that the boyhood incident could have happened about 7 A.D. That is the very year in which the nation of Judah lost its right to execute people, the authority of capital punishment. The Roman Empire was ruling the nation and kept to itself the power of execution.
This is important because of one of the earliest prophecies about the Messiah is in Genesis 49:10 - 'The sceptre (capital punishment) shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh (the Messiah) comes.'
So as Jesus was in the Temple amazing the teachers with His wisdom, outside in the streets of Jerusalem, Jews were going around the streets at that very time, dressed in sachcloth and crying out that the sceptre had departed and Shiloh had not come!
But He had come. He was right there in the midst of the most learned men.
We know the incident of the Jews wailing in the streets happened because it is in the Jewish Talmud. Here is one web reference to it:
'The reaction of the Jews to these monumental events is recorded in the Talmud. Augustin Lemann, in his book "Jesue before the Sanhedrin", records a statement by Rabbi Rachmon:
' "When the members of the Sanhedrin found themselves deprived of their right over life and death, a general consternation took possession of them; they covered their heads with ashes, and their bodies with sackcloth, exclaiming:
' Woe unto us, for the scepter has departed from Judah, and the Messiah has not come!’” (Babylonian Talmud, San. Chpt. 4, Fol. 37, recto.)
I find this absolutely amazing. While Jesus was actually in their midst, some Jews were outside wailing and lamenting that Messiah had not come as the Scriptures had predicted. They were heartbroken in their mistaken belief that Scripture, God's Word, had been broken. They took the Scriptures literally and seriously. And all the while, there He was! Right in front of them, listening and asking questions (one way the Jews taught was with questions).
I wonder if one question Jesus asked was about Genesis 49:10. Also, perhaps He directed them with another question to Daniel 9:25, giving the time when Messiah would enter Jerusalem. I wonder if maybe He got them wondering if perhaps the Messiah was actually alive and there, and maybe Scripture had NOT been broken! Perhaps some of them even suspected that the boy before them could be that Messiah.
I am pretty sure that Jesus would have been directing their minds to the Scriptures that indicated the Messiah would first come to suffer and be an offering for sin. They were all looking for a deliverer, a mighty warrior to defeat their Roman occupiers.
They were looking for the Messiah, Son of David, the Messiah of the Second Coming. But they may well have overlooked the Scriptures pointing to Messiah ben Joseph, the First Coming Messiah, who would would take on himself the sins of the world and suffer just as Isaiah predicted in Is 53. They wanted the King, not the Suffering Servant Messiah.
He probably also pointed them to the feasts, especially Passover, the sacrificial lamb, and possibly they started to re-think the prophecies. I hope so.
I thank God that Jesus came first as the sin bearer, the Suffering Servant. And He is certainly coming again, next time as King. Are you ready, folks? Please, Lord, make us all ready!
Here is a link with more info on all this http://www.ichthus.info/CaseForChrist/Messiah/intro.html