Christianity, chapter IV : Family reunion.
One of the great mysteries of Biblical history is what Jesus was doing between the ages of twelve and thirty. I will not conjecture here, although I may write a book of conjecture about it someday. This is what we know about him during this period:
His dad died
His mom moves them to Cana, her birthplace, which is a little more than eight miles from Nazareth.
He had younger brothers and sisters
He continued working as a carpenter. Was he a good one? What did he say when he accidentally banged his thumb with a hammer? Was he a perfectionist? Was he fast? Did he enjoy it? Again, no concrete answers. Again, wait for my book of conjectures.
So Jesus spends five or six days a week making things with wood. The seventh day, the Sabbath day, he spends at the synagogue talking about the Law.
It was a custom that people could stand up and present their own ideas and interpretations of the Law. Whoever wanted to talk to their fellow worshippers about an idea that intrigued or moved them could do so. What Jesus did was different than anyone else. How so?
How Jesus’s thoughts were different at the Synagogue
They were simple. People could understand what he was saying. He reached their hearts with his simple, understandable words that also moved them to think about complex ideas in new ways.
People begin to remember Jesus. When someone can teach complicated ideas to anyone and make them understandable with stories and provocative questions, they are more likely to be remembered. So Jesus came to be called Rabeinu, which means “Our Teacher.”
At the same time, there was a young man named John. He was also from Judea and preached The Gospel.
The Gospel was the Good News. And in Palestine, the Good News was that soon, a Messiah would appear.
John would preach on the banks of the Jordan and had many people following his words of hope. He would immerse those who desired in the water to sanctify them before he preached about the coming of the Messiah.
Many religions and peoples have a belief in the healing power of water. For example, many in India would go to the Ganges to bathe because they believed the water was sacred and would wash their sins away. John and many of his followers also believed that immersion in flowing water would wash away their sins. He would baptize them in the Jordan before preaching, which was he came to receive the name “John the Baptist.”
Even before the days of telephones and faxes, good news travelled fast, and pretty soon word of John’s preaching reached Jesus up in Galilee. I don’t know whether he left his carpentry shop with someone else in good hands, or just closed up and took off. Regardless, he heads off to see John, who his mom has told him is his third cousin. So, family. Another good reason to meet him.
Jesus finds him in his favourite spot: the banks of the Jordan. He’s surrounded by men and is speaking in a commanding way. It is evident that he gives little thought to his personal appearance or style; his beard is unfashionably long and his clothes are...well, it may be a good thing he washed off in the river regularly.
Jesus hears John speaking about the Messiah and the Good News, telling all,
“...there cometh one mightier than I…”
After John’s sermon, Jesus asks to be baptized.
John looks at him, and hesitates, realizing that something is different about this man.
You should be baptizing me! He says.
Jesus insists though, and John baptizes him.
The meeting of Jesus and John is the beginning of Jesus’s prophetic career; a career which would last a short three years and leave its mark on the world for ever after.
Cana, John, Gospel, immersion, baptism,
For $50,000, I will write a book of conjectures on Jesus’ life between 12 and 30. It would be a worthwhile investment on your part. I thank you.
Considering the average speed of a donkey is 6-8 miles per hour, this would have taken an hour or so. Except remember, they were rich only in the “love and stuff” sense, so they didn’t have an extra donkey for travel. So they would have walked.
Considering the average speed of a human being walking is about three miles per hour, (i.e. 5 km / hour), it would have taken around 2.7 hours, but we don’t know how many tools he was carrying, or how much stuff they had packed up. Let’s just say it took a day to move. Also, I am uncertain as to the average speed of a camel.
This is an introduction to a ten-unit survey of Christianity - its history, peoples, beliefs and impact on the world today.
Education for most ages and for all curious people.
Written by Joseph Ivan Long with curiosity, humbleness, and a big grin.