Sometimes we think we had it tough growing up...but what we faced pales in comparison to what Jesus, the most anointed of all, dealt with when we look at His short life on earth.
Sometimes we may wonder why we have to deal with everything we do...since God has given us a mission, a vision and a calling. So naturally, we might ask "Why is this happening to me?"
If stuff happened to Jesus...it will happen to you too. It's how you deal with the stuff when it happens to you...that makes all the difference in the world in how things will work out.
Have you ever thought about what Jesus had to deal with or experienced? His life certainly wasn't a picnic.
Here are seven things you may not have thought about Jesus.
First, you are born out of wedlock.
Up until the past ten to twenty years. . .if you had a child out of wedlock. . .or what the world calls an illegitimate child. . .you were viewed and treated different by all the “good” folks.
Just imagine what that was like 2,000 years ago.
There was not only a stigma attached to have a child outside of marriage. . .but doing so could cost the woman. . .her very life.
If a young woman who was engaged became pregnant it was the custom for her intended to stone her to death because she had dishonored him.
Joseph, however, decided to break the engagement quietly so as to not embarrass Mary publicly or cause what would have been certain death. . .had he acted otherwise.
Matthew 1:19-20 in the Amplified Bible says:
“But as he was thinking this over, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary [as] your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of (from, out of) the Holy Spirit.
“She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus [the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua, which means Savior], for He will save His people from their sins [that is, prevent them from failing and missing the true end and scope of life, which is God].”
Joseph obviously loved God. . .because when angel appeared to him. . .it gave him the courage to do the right thing.
Yet, the rumors and innuendos persisted for thirty years. No one said anything as long as Jesus was healing the sick, delivering the captives, feeding the 5,000 and performing miracles wherever He went.
However, when Jesus started talking about being the bread of heaven, doing the work of His Father who sent Him. . .the rumors began to spread again.
John 6:41-42 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Now the Jews murmured and found fault with and grumbled about Jesus because He said, I am [Myself] the Bread that came down from heaven. They kept asking, Is not this Jesus, the Son of Joseph, Whose father and mother we know? How then can He say, I have come down from heaven?”
No doubt, Mary would have been the subject of rumors and innuendo. . .for much of the early years of Jesus’ life.
Jesus would have heard the taunts, the gossip and the innuendos because of the month- counters. You know the month-counters. That’s a person (Christian or otherwise) who counts the months between the time somebody got married and the time they had their first baby.
Growing up in a small town. . .I knew some month-counters.
Mary, because of her supernatural encounter with the angel probably tried to comfort Jesus with any questions He might have had about rumors of her past.
How did Jesus deal with the talk? I’m confidant it’s because His mother told Him who He was and what He was going to do.
Let me also interject and point out that I don’t believe there is such a thing as an illegitimate child.
Jeremiah 1:5 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
You birth parents may have been illegitimate. . .but you’re not! God knew you before you were conceived and that makes you legitimate in His eyes and that’s all that matters.
Something just stirred in me. . .illegitimate ideas and plans. . .those not birthed through conversation with the Holy Spirit.
You can have a good idea even a God idea. . .but if it’s not in His timing. . .it will have an illegitimate birth.
Seek His presence. . .His direction.
Second, you grew up in a city considered a failure.
John 1:44-46 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the same city as Andrew and Peter.
“Philip sought and found Nathanael and told him, We have found (discovered) the One Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote about—Jesus from Nazareth, the [legal] son of Joseph! Nathanael answered him, [Nazareth!] Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Philip replied, Come and see!”
The whole country of Galilee was held in contempt by the Jews but Nazareth was known as a place of sin and depravity.
Had Philip said “He is Jesus of Jerusalem”. . .the response would have been different.
Jesus had nothing to do with the reputation of Nazareth but He was affected by it.
Have you ever had someone ask you where you went to college only to respond “I didn’t go to college”. . .only to hear them say “Oh!”
If you went to a community college or lesser-known university than the person asking the question, do you ever hear them say “oh, that’s nice.”
The same scenario can be played out about where you live, work or what you drive?
Over the years, I experienced some this first-hand because I was born in a small time. . .because my folks were hard-working folks. . .because I didn’t go to the prestigious universities.
However, when I look back at my classmates who were voted the most likely to succeed or to do this or that I’ve been able to accomplish far more. . .touching and changing lives than they probably ever met.
I’m not saying that from an egotistical standpoint because clearly EVERYTHING I’m been able to accomplish is because of the great God I serve.
When you have a confidence in who you are in Christ there is no limitation to what you can achieve.
Sadly, there will always be some who will be condescending. . .desiring to put you down or make you feel that somehow you don’t measure up. . .so they can feel better about themselves.
These types of attitudes have shaped the thought processes and even the destiny of many people unsecure until they find out who they are in Christ Jesus.
Simply said, there’s nobody better than a born-again believer who knows and operates in and through the Word of God.
I mean. . .after all. . .Genesis 1:26 says you were born in His image and after His likeness.
Psalm 8:4-6 in the Amplified Bible says:
“What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of [earthborn] man that You care for him? Yet You have made him but a little lower than God [or heavenly beings], and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet:”
Third, your past will never determine your future. . .unless you make it so.
Jesus was judged because of where He was from.
He was judged because of month-counters questioned the illegitimacy of His birth.
Jesus was judged because he lived. . .by all accounts. . .an average life for the first thirty years.
Here’s what we do know.
Jesus lived in a country conquered by the Romans and controlled with an iron fist. We know He lived in a despised province and city.
We know that for the most part. . .He lived a life where He was unnoticed and unknown.
But it’s what we do know. . .that should strengthen our faith and put us on the right course.
We’re given a real glimpse into His early life in Luke 2:46-51 in the Amplified Bible which says:
“46 After three days they found Him [came upon Him] in the [a][court of the] temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.
47 And all who heard Him were astonished and overwhelmed with bewildered wonder at His intelligence and understanding and His replies.
48 And when they [Joseph and Mary] saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, Child, why have You treated us like this? Here Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You [distressed and tormented].
49 And He said to them, How is it that you had to look for Me? Did you not see and know that it is necessary [as a duty] for Me [b]to be in My Father’s house and [occupied] about My Father’s business?
50 But they did not comprehend what He was saying to them.
51 And He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was [habitually] obedient to them; and his mother kept and closely and persistently guarded all these things in her heart.”
If Jesus had such a divine impartation prior to His twelfth birthday. . .can you image how He was learning in the next 18 years.
I think Luke 2:52 in the Amplified Bible is particularly significant.
“And Jesus increased in wisdom (in broad and full understanding) and in stature and years, and in favor with God and man.”
You may be in a season where you feel nobody knows your name. . .recognizes your wisdom and insight or has a clue about your calling.
What should be doing to have your breakthrough. . .breakout moment? The answer is found in Luke 2:52.
Spend your time reading and learning. . .not just the Word. . .but in the area where you feel God has called you to excel.
Move outside your comfort zone.
Fourth, you never measured up to what most be expected you to be.
People expected the Jewish Messiah to arrive as a majestic, conquering king who would overthrow the Romans. But, yet He entered the world as a baby from a less than desirable city.
Jesus did miracles on the Sabbath which was strictly observed and against Jewish law. Many Jews felt that if Jesus was the Messiah He would have honored the Sabbath.
Jewish leaders felt that if He was truly the Messiah he would have acted more like them criticizing and ostracizing thieves, prostitutes and these who didn’t measure up by their behavior.
Rather than condemning the sinners. . .Jesus treated them with love and forgiveness.
The Jewish leaders were expecting a triumphant King who would free them from Roman rule. They didn’t feel Jesus measured up to certain prophecies but yet during the life of Jesus on earth. . .according to scholars He fulfilled over 300 prophecies.
Here are some of them.
The prophet Micah predicted the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.
Isaiah foretold his miraculous birth, that a virgin would conceive.
The prophet Zechariah foretold his entry into Jerusalem on a donkey and his betrayal for 30 pieces of silver by one of his followers.
In Isaiah 61:1-3 the prophet states that "The Lord's anointed will preach the good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted..."
The prophet David foretold the Messiah's hands and feet would be pierced and the soldiers would cast lots for his clothing.
Isaiah 53:3-6 says:
“"He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."
Did you grow up with expectations from your parents, teachers or employers that you have yet to fulfill?
Perhaps the question to ask ourselves is this.
“Am I maximizing the gifts and callings of God? Am I fulfilling what I know to me His divine destiny for me?”
In our daily lives. . .we do have to please others. . .but, most importantly, what we do and how we do it. . .should be pleasing unto the Lord.
Fifth, Jesus associated with what was considered to be unsavory characters.
Look at the cast of characters in the life of Jesus.
Peter was a fisherman who by all accounts was hot-headed and rough around the edges. Yet, Jesus told him that He would build His church on Peter.
Andrew lived in the shadow of his brother, Peter.
Matthew was a customs official who taxed imports and exports.
Zacchaeus was a hated tax collector.
Mary Magdalene was a prostitute.
These and others who had an encounter with Jesus went from being sinners, hated officials and cocky to being saints and leaders of the early church.
Matthew 9:10-12 in the Amplified Bible says:
“And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and [especially wicked] sinners came and sat (reclined) with Him and His disciples.
11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, Why does your Master eat with tax collectors and those [preeminently] sinful?
12 But when Jesus heard it, He replied, Those who are strong and well (healthy) have no need of a physician, but those who are weak and sick.”
The twelve disciples Jesus chose were a rag-tag bunch of characters of tax collectors, thieves, local fishermen, traders, you know. . . just the nobodies of Galilean society. They were definitely not the elite. They were definitely not the best.
We tend to lean toward the influential. . .the well-known. . .the highly successful. . .the best. . .the brightest. . .but not Jesus.
1 Corinthians 1:27-28 in the Amplified Bible says:
“[No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame. 28 And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are.”
And now you know, why God chose you and me.
Sixth, His grand entrance wasn’t on a golden chariot but rather a donkey.
I realize it might seem a bit strange to be talking about what happened on Psalm Sunday instead of what happened with the birth of Jesus.
The triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem is one of the few times in the life of Jesus which is recorded in all four gospels (Matthew 21:1-17; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19).
On that Sunday, Jesus wrote into Jerusalem on the back of a borrowed donkey’s colt. . .one which had never been ridden before. Kinda like riding in a new car. Actually, the way in which Jesus entered Jerusalem was a fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9 which says:
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
The people were expecting Jesus to ride in on a chariot. . .maybe even a gold one. . .to signify that a new Kingdom was close at hand. . .the tyranny of the Romans was about to the broken.
The people hailed and praised Him as the “King who comes in the name of the Lord” as He rode to the temple, where He taught the people, healed them, and drove out the money-changers and merchants who had made His Father’s house a “den of robbers” (Mark 11:17).
Less than a week later they were crying “Crucify Him” “Crucify Him” because their perception was much different than the reality of Jesus destiny.
Have you ever been expected to act or perform in a certain manner over which you had no control. Perhaps, this disappointment is the result of your efforts in the marketplace.
Keep your focus on Jesus and everything will work out all right.
Romans 8:28 in the Amplified Bible says:
“We are assured and know that [[a]God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.”
Seventh, you were wrongly accused, betrayed, condemned, beaten, persecuted and crucified.
Have you ever been accused of doing something. . .you didn’t do?
Have you ever had a friend betray a confidence which caused you major embarrassment?
Have you ever been condemned for doing something you had nothing to do with?
Have you ever been beaten by the odds? You knew your prosposal. . .sales pitch couldn’t fail. . .but yet, you were beaten by the competition or a co-worker?
There may have been times when you felt persecuted by a supervisor or co-worker to a point that you feel like you’ve been crucified in front of everyone else.
You may have experienced some of these six feelings and emotions but nothing could ever compare to what Jesus felt.
Hebrews 4:15 in the Amplified Bible says:
“For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning.”
Jesus feels what we feel. The real question is can we feel what He felt and He’s feeling now.
We can. . .it’s just a matter of asking.
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