The Young Messiah’s Only Words

The Young Messiah’s Only Words

by Jordan Standridge
March 15, 2016
“Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” Luke 2:49

Those are Jesus’ only recorded words in Scripture before the age of thirty. Nothing else. In fact we don’t have anything in Scripture about Jesus between the age of two and the age of thirty. Niente. Zilch. Nada.

Other than informing us about an escape to Egypt, The Sovereign God of the universe that gave us Scripture chose before the foundation of the world to only give us one story about Jesus’ life between his birth and the start of his ministry. It is only right for us to ask ourselves why is it so? Why in the world do we have only one story of a young Jesus?

Hollywood can make a two-hour long movie about Jesus in this time period, but I can already tell you without having watched it that the movie will disappoint any Bible believing Christian. I believe that there is a reason why God gives us only one recorded statement of Jesus.

Having had the recent privilege of preaching through Luke 2:41-52, I had to ask myself why Luke gives us only one sentence from Jesus. I’m sure he knew about stories of Jesus’s childhood. He must have, and yet he did not think Theophilus needed to know about them. I concluded that their absence only make the words he does include that much more powerful.

Luke has some serious implications in giving us only one statement from the childhood of Jesus. We must pay attention to what he has to say.

Jesus’ only words tell us that he is God

In Luke it seems as if everyone is announcing the divinity of Jesus. The angel Gabriel announces that he is God. Zechariah announces the Messiah. Elizabeth, as she is pregnant with John the Baptist, tells Mary that the baby in her womb is God. John the Baptist, as an infant in the womb, can’t help but leap for joy at the sound of Mary’s voice.

By Luke chapter 3, Mary and Joseph find out that they will be the parents of the Messiah. A host of angels, on the night of Christ’s birth, announce the birth of the Messiah to a group of shepherds. And the shepherds themselves go and worship their Creator in the manger, and leave from there as the first evangelists declaring that the Savior, Christ the Lord, was born. Simeon and Anna, who have been waiting for the Messiah for years, announce that he is the one who was promised. It seems as if the entire world has declared Jesus as God and there is one human left who must declare the divinity of Christ and that is Christ himself. And Luke lead by the Holy Spirit shows us that the young Messiah knew exactly who he was and that he was unashamed to say that he was the Son of God.

Jesus’ only words show us that He was always aware He was God

Although it would be fun to know stories about Jesus’s childhood, God in his sovereignty didn’t think it was necessary for our sanctification. The only thing we needed to know is whether or not Jesus always believed he was the Son of God or if it was something he made up later on in life. Luke provides us with the answer. Jesus’s words shock Mary, because she realizes that this young messiah already knows who his true father is. It’s not something he made up at the age of thirty. It is something he always believed and knew. Jesus Christ not only tells us with his own lips that he is the Son of God but he tells us that he had always believed and understood that.

I get Christian’s fascination with the young Jesus. I mean we have the God of the Universe, learning how to walk, learning how to talk, getting tired, sleeping, bleeding. His siblings mistreat him, and He holds the power of the universe in His hands. And yet we don’t need to know details about any of those things, the only thing we need to know, in this life, is whether or not he claimed to be God. And the New Testament emphatically shouts yes! The second question is did He always claim to be God? And thanks to Luke and this incredible story of Jesus in the temple we can emphatically shout yes! He was self-aware of His divinity and didn’t need anyone to tell Him. Unlike people who started false religions later on in life, Jesus always claimed to be not of this world.

Perhaps one day our curiosity will be satisfied in Heaven. Perhaps Mary and Joseph will tell us stories about Jesus and His incredible obedience. Jude, and James may tell us what it was like to grow up with a perfect older brother. Maybe Christ himself will tell us stories of His childhood, but until that day we can say yet again in unison, “Hey Hollywood! You can keep your movie, we’d rather read the book!”

The Young ‘Gnostic’ Messiah

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Young Gnostic Messiah

It wasn’t so long ago when radical liberals lined up attacks upon Christianity during the season of Good Friday and Easter. Liberals would be on media programs to promote (discredited) theories that Jesus didn’t actually die on the cross, or that the resurrection did not actually happen, and other such nonsense. Now however, Satan does not have to rely on the liberals and their attacks, which were so outrageous the attacks convinced no one but their liberal proponents themselves. Instead, Satan dresses up as an angel of light and is now attacking the Christian faith from within.

So what is the Trojan horse? This Good Friday/ Easter season, we have the so-called Christian movie The Young Messiah. To say that the movie is unbiblical is an understatement. Just from the trailer alone, there is enough material to indict the movie and its producers as being agents of the devil, willingly or unwillingly. It is unbiblical, blasphemous and Gnostic. Yes, it is Gnostic, with a capital “G.” It is astonishing that supposedly many Christian leaders have endorsed this movie. I know Evangelicalism has little if any depth in it, but these endorsements have stricken a new low for Evangelicalism, which is saying a lot since my estimation of the Evangelical movement was so low I thought I had reached rock bottom — even supporting the nativist and vulgar buffoon Donald Trump was not as bad as this!

The first and major problem with this (anti-) “Christian” movie is its Gnosticism. Gnosticism was an esoteric and eclectic movement in the first few centuries of the Church that attempted to fuse Eastern mystical religion, Greek philosophy, and elements of Christianity into a syncretistic religious soup. Gnosticism, like Neo-Platonism, elevates the spirit over matter. Matter is considered evil, and thus creation (matter, the universe) was made by a lesser and lower deity. The problem with man is not sin, but creatureliness. The body is the prison of the soul, and salvation is achieved by learning the path to liberation, towards pure spirit and towards the One, God. This path involves the gaining of secret knowledge (gnosis), and thus the movement is called Gnosticism.

As a false religion loosely affiliated with, and competing against Christianity, Gnosticism attempted to subvert the Christian faith and message. Spurious gospel accounts were written that made it seem as if Jesus were a Gnostic. Since the four Gospels were well distributed, Gnosticism tried to insert its message by “filling in the blanks” of Jesus’ life and ministry, and the first 30 years of that life would prove an excellent place to embellish the character and teaching of Jesus in their favor.

One such Gnostic text was the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, an anonymous text falsely ascribing as its author the Apostle Thomas. The text claims to fill up some of the unknown years of Jesus, during his childhood. In the trailer to the movie, we see an enactment of, or an allusion to, the scene from the Infancy Gospel of Thomas 1:2-3. In that text, the Gnostic writer claimed Jesus fashioned birds out of clay and then they came alive. In the trailer, we see Jesus at the beach rising to his feet with clasped hands and then opening his hands to reveal birds which flew away, so, while it isn’t clear in the trailer, it seems likely that the full scene in the movie will show Jesus making birds from clay, or rather sand.

The movie is thus Gnostic in its use of a Gnostic source, and in its “filling in the blanks” (basically lying) about the life of Jesus. This is not just plain artistic license and embellishment, but it is the whole movie, the creation/ adaptation of a totally fictional story about Jesus with no basis at all in the Scriptures and in real history. For the Christian leaders who endorse this blasphemous (in more ways than one) movie, is it their intent to state that the historicity of Jesus’ actual life and work do not matter, since a fictional tale about him is evidently just as valid as the biblical truth?

The second problem, a theological problem, lies in its portrayal of the young Jesus as someone struggling with existential angst concerning his calling. There are so many things wrong with this portrayal of Jesus. First of all, the trailer seems to indicate that Jesus came to realize his calling not from himself but through Mary. Secondly, Jesus was portrayed as someone learning how to become the Savior. Yes, the trailer cited Philippians 2:6-7, but, as far as I know, even the worst of the kenotics (those who hold that Jesus emptied himself of his divine attributes in the Incarnation) would balk at this portrayal of Jesus! If the trailer is accurate, the movie’s Christology is totally messed up. To say that Jesus learned to be the Messiah puts Jesus out as a man who became the Messiah, which is basically an Adoptionist Christology. This kind of doubting and angst, while making “Jesus” relatable to an angsty postmodern audience, is a practical denial of Christ’s deity and a rejection of Scripture’s actual portrayal of the young Jesus. The text misused in this trailer, Philippians 2:6-7, did not say that the Son ceased to be God in the Incarnation, but rather that He divested Himself of His heavenly privileges and glory, thus becoming a servant (as opposed to the Lord of heaven). The Son as a servant divested Himself of the exercise of his regnal authority, but He never ceased being the Son. Jesus continued to be God even while on earth! In the one section where we were given a glimpse into Jesus’ childhood (Lk. 2:41-51), we are shown a Jesus who already knew of his calling even at the young tender age of 12.

Yes, a young “Jesus” struggling with angst might be more relatable, but it is a false idolatrous representation of the real Jesus. The real Jesus from young knew who he was and what he was sent to do. The life of the historical young Jesus would not make for a good movie, but then Jesus came not for our entertainment but for our salvation! While Jesus was indeed human and suffered on this world, that does not mean that he faced the same angst as we do. In fact, ancient civilizations tend not to face our postmodern angst, for most people in ancient times struggle daily to put food on the table, while living in constant fear appeasing gods and spirits among them.

I am sure the actual movie would yield even more problems, as the footage concerning the Romans seem to indicate. But just from the trailer itself, we see a person portrayed that behaves all too differently from the biblical Jesus. It is manifestly shameless for the director of the film to think that this movie has anything remotely to do with the true Jesus. In an interview with Christianity Astray Today, the director even had the gall to denigrate orthodoxy, stating that one just have to have an emotional connection to the people on firm. While that might be fine with normal movies, this movie is marketing itself as a Christian movie about Jesus, which means it should be truthful at the very least, which this movie isn’t.

The Young Messiah is a work based upon false stories of Jesus. As such, all Christians should be warned against watching this Gnostic trash. If God did not see fit to give us details on Jesus’ first 30 years, then perhaps we should likewise not peer into the secret things of God.