The life of Jesus was an interesting one to say the least. We know the major highlights of his life, the parables, healings, raising people from the dead, and most importantly, his Crucifixion and Resurrection. But, what about the smaller acts that he did? They actually might hold a lot of meaning to them that we don’t give much thought to. In this series on The Mysteries of Jesus,
we will reveal some hidden mysteries of the Son of God. We will discuss two of them in this article, Jesus at the Temple at age twelve, and the calling of the twelve disciples. We will look at the things he did and why he did them, to get a better understanding of this marvelous man.
Lets start with Jesus at the Temple in Luke 2:46-49:
“After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 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 had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.”
To get a background of what’s happening at this time, this was the time when Joseph and Mary went to the Festival of the Passover in Jerusalem. Assuming Jesus was with them they headed back home after the festival was over, realized he wasn’t there, went back to Jerusalem and found him in the temple. Now we know he was 12 because in verse 42 it says “when he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival…”. The main point we want to focus on is verses 46,47. Jesus was sitting in the temple courts amongst these wise men, listening to them and asking questions. And at the same time he was teaching these men who had been in the law their whole life. This 12 yr old boy was teaching these wise men about God’s law, now how awesome is that? These men were amazed at his understanding and even his parents. But how could Jesus know all this? Well he’s the Word, and John 1 tells us that “in the beginning was the Word” jump down to verse 14 of John 1, “and the Word became flesh.” Jesus was the Word and he was there in the beginning so he would know God’s law, because essentially he is God. The amazing part of this story is Jesus, even at such a young age, was teaching men who had been in the Law their whole life. This shows how much authority was given to Jesus while he was in the flesh.
Our next example is the Calling of the Disciples. These disciples were amazing men, and kept the ministry of Jesus alive after he ascended. So it’s good to examine them and their background before their calling and how that influenced Jesus’ choosing of them. We see a great picture of each one in the Gospels. Let’s start with Peter, Andrew, James, and John in Matthew 4:18-22.
“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”
The first disciples we see are all fisherman, regular, ordinary people in society. We will see why this matters later. For now, lets move on to the rest of the calling. In John 1:43-51 we have the calling of Philip and Nathanael.
“The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”
Now the occupation of Philip and Nathanael is unknown, but isn’t it strange that right when Jesus saw Nathanael he knew he was to be a disciple? It’s like Jesus knew exactly who he was supposed to call. Maybe he did, but that’s the mystery. We also see the calling of Matthew in Matthew 9:9 who was a tax collector.
Lets get an overview of the disciples:
- Bartholomew / Nathanael
- James, the Elder
- James, or Younger
- Jude / Thaddeus
- Matthew / Levi
- Peter or Simon Peter
- Simon the Zealot
So, we have Peter, Andrew, James, and John as fisherman. Matthew as a tax collector. The rest of the disciple’s occupations are unknown. But what we have for sure is fisherman and a tax collector. Well what did Jesus tell the fisherman? “I will make you fishers of men”- (Matthew 4:19). Matthew a great tax collector and wealthy, would learn that God provides (Matthew 10:5-10). If we notice all the disciples he chose, all had a background or a representation of what they were to do for Christ. The fishermen were to catch men and bring them to God, just as they caught fish. Matthew was to leave his wealth as he traveled learning that God supplies his every need. The symbolism that Jesus holds is remarkable, and when we look at them we should love Jesus all the more. Why wouldn’t we want to be part of his kingdom?