He was only twelve years old. But his remarkable intelligence has certainly impressed the doctors he was sitting among. The academics asked the lad many tough questions, and the boy managed to answer them all. But it wasn't just one-way asking. The lad also asked questions and received appropriate answers from those he was with. Furthermore, the youngster never became impatient, neither did he rebuke anyone in his presence for asking what he might have considered to be an idiotic or inappropriate question. Not that he or any of the doctors he was with would have wasted their time with foolish matters. Rather, the subject centred around the Law of Moses and other Scriptural issues found in what we would call the Old Testament today. And plenty about prophecy. Prophecy foretelling of the coming Messiah and his credentials, long awaited by the Jews, even in his day.
So impressed were the doctors with the conversation, that the whole discourse lasted three days. Although we are not told where he spent those nights in the absence of his parents, I can only assume that one of the elite took him into his own home until his desperate parents return to collect him.
The youngster was indeed remarkable. Even on his biological level. Whether he knew that every human being carries 46 chromosomes in the nucleus of every cell in his body, for a boy of twelve growing up in a very unscientific but highly religious environment, this is a matter of speculation. I wonder how much he did know in this particular stage in his life, that for a woman to conceive: Her ovum, which has only 23 chromosomes, must be fertilized by a male sperm which carries a further 23 chromosomes before a new life can begin. To qualify as a full human, he must have had all 46 chromosomes. If he didn't, then he wouldn't be truly human. The snag being that this child has no biological father. So whilst still an ovum inside his mother's fallopian tube, where did he get those other 23 chromosomes from? Since this has happened only once throughout the whole of human history, I guess science will never have an answer.
But there is more about his early childhood. From birth onward he never had to be disciplined for wrongdoing by either Mum or Dad. I guess he wasn't fussy with his food either, but as an infant he ate everything without ado whatever Mother spooned into his mouth. Perhaps the only time he let out a piercing scream was on the eighth day after birth. That was the day he had to undergo circumcision, a law given to his father Abraham centuries earlier - by the boy himself. As he grew up, he carried out his house duties without a fuss. Surely his parents must at times were left wondering: What kind of a child is this? Especially if his four younger male siblings, James, Judas, Joseph and Simon all growing up as normal boys who needed discipline, objected to household chores, and often refusing to eat. And all of them disliking their eldest brother for being such a perfect goody-two-shoes! And on the subject of Abraham, did he, as an adolescent accompanied by his parents, pay a visit of pilgrimage to his ancestor's tomb located in Hebron, an otherwise insignificant town far south from his home town of Nazareth? If he did, he would have looked at the very same fortress I looked at myself some two millennia afterwards, as Herod the Great successfully completed this iconic structure shortly before the boy was conceived.
And so there he is at the Temple, deep in conversation with the doctors. How much knowledge he had at that age one can only speculate. Was he already aware that his main mission on Earth was to suffer and die a criminal's death to atone for the sin of all mankind? This shortfall having entered the world through the transgression of Adam after giving in to Eve's seduction to eat the fruit of the tree God told them not to eat from. And so as one man transgresses, so sin has infected all mankind, separating each person from God, from each other, and even from himself, and ending in death. Yet this twelve year old at the Temple - was he already aware of the Three Trees of human history: The Tree of Life, the Tree of Knowledge, and the Tree of Calvary? And by dying whilst crucified will reconcile each man to God, with each other and with himself? Was the boy already aware of the result of his destiny? And his physical Resurrection after three days buried in the tomb? Furthermore, was he already aware that one day there will be no distinction among believers between Jew and non-Jew, no distinction between a free citizen and a slave, and even no distinction between male and female, as so well narrated by Paul in his letter? - (Galatians 3:26-29).
Did the lad at the Temple knew already what the result of his destiny would bring? Not only the giving of eternal life to all believers but reconciliation and unity with each other whilst still alive here on Earth? I think he already knew. He knew very well about this. Such a lad of tremendous intelligence and knowledge, yet in turn would not reject other people who don't match his model, neither would he stand offish, or look down on any of his friends and colleagues of his age range, even if such other boys may have had non-Jewish births, have different colour skin, or having come from different nations.
Perhaps you may disagree. After all, as an adult, he sounded quite abrupt to a Canaanite woman up north in Tyre when she made a simple request for him to heal her daughter (Matthew 15:21-28). He actually called her a dog. It would have been an extremely unusual scenario had it happened in our day. The Canaanite woman might well have protested with no small anger, using words such as:
How dare you! You arrogant swine! I'm not a dog, I am a woman! How dare you Jews insult us just because we aren't Jewish ourselves! It's about time you learnt a little more respect!
Instead, she accepted her foreign status in the eyes of the Jews and then proceeded to demonstrate that even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from its master's table. Out of his love for her, proceeded to heal her daughter and at the same time grant eternal life as an additional free gift to both of them. What a man this boy grew up to become!
Reconciliation of fallen man to God, with each other and with himself. I am convinced that this lad already knew of his destiny by the time he reached that age. And he was determined that, at the right time, he would set off to give himself to the Cross, and accomplish his mission of reconciliation to the level which the apostle later wrote - no more distinction between Jew and Greek, slave or free, male and female. An astonishing accomplishment!
How I wish I had the capability for time travel. Yes, I have travelled the world in my time but never had the capacity to travel back in time. Because I would have loved to have witnessed for myself this boy's wisdom and intelligence. In fact I would have very much desire to be at his presence on three primary stages of his life - shortly after his birth in Bethlehem, at the Temple in Jerusalem twelve years later, and finally, standing at the foot of the Cross. I can imagine myself being in the Temple at the presence of such a company, watching and listening to this lad as he speaks and ask questions. Then, probably before the third day is spent, I would cautiously approach him, fall on my knees and bury my face onto the ground just in front of him, hoping, just hoping, that he will reach over and gently stroke the back of my head with the palm of his hand.
Because I would explain to everyone around that from where I came from, much of the population remains alienated from God, from each other and from themselves. For example, this idea of having evolved by chance from primitive organisms over multiple millions of years is now accepted as scientific fact, therefore discrediting any historicity of Divine Creation. Even among Christians, especially among those who has received further education, there is this rather absurd notion of Theistic Evolution, a line of thinking which would still discredit and destroy the truth of the Gospel. After all, if sin entered the world through one man Adam, and death to all men result from this one man's sin, then if Adam and Eve had parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, all the way back hundreds, maybe thousands of generations before looking distinctly ape-like - and if all of them had died before Adam and Eve were ever born, sinned and died, then death did not come by one man's sin at all, and the Atonement becomes totally meaningless and ineffective. Then to make matters even more complicated, one would have to ask where in this long generational line is the point of demarcation between non-human and human species, and how far back was this before Adam's time? Yet, as I would tell them in the Temple courtyard, there will be many highly educated Christians who will adhere to such a peculiar notion.
Then we are suddenly experiencing the rise of neo-nationalism, both in the UK and in the USA, as these nations will one day be called. The leader of the then most powerful nation in the world will be set upon building a 2,000 mile wall on the border with its neighbouring country Mexico, to keep those Mexican people out. These isolationist principles, together with the UK leaving the EU, raises the likelihood of international war breaking out further into the future, resulting in turning natural rivers into rivers of blood. Not to mention the on-going hatred between Western civilisation and Islamic terrorists, the latter bent on killing all non-Muslims as heretics. Then I will conclude on this matter that his mission to reconcile all men to each other seemed to have disastrously failed, with the addition that even within a single church, from time to time, there will be a degree of prejudice and distrust among its members, especially between social classes, along with an influx of false doctrine which will drive divisions even further.
|Donald Trump - "I will build a wall at the Mexican border."|
I will go on to explain to the boy and his accomplices the rising numbers of cases of mental illness, together with a rise of suicides. The feeling of a low self-esteem by comparison with the successes of others around, especially in the area of academic achievement, together with a feeling of inferior complex, and an awareness of personal failure, real or imagined, has become epidemic in my time and in my generation. If anything, the lad's future mission to reconcile the majority of mankind with God and with themselves has failed as well, and as I can see it, it's getting worse. I will also explain the direct link between negative, stress-induced emotions and physical illness, a large variety of diseases, with heart failure and cancer being the two biggest maladies induced by excess stress, worry, and lack of personal value, the latter caused by believing that we are all mere accidents of evolutionary chance. And also the same belief in evolutionary chance being a contributing factor, and probably a major one at that, for the collapse in marriage, the rise in divorce, the rise in adultery and unfaithfulness, sleeping around, and the consequential result in the rise of sex-induced diseases - all in a vain attempt to boost self-esteem and to be more in control.
Then, after I have finished, the lad would instruct me to return to my own time zone, and keep trusting in him, and know that because of him I have eternal life, and that through faith in him I am a son of God, adopted into his family, and I will never be lost again, because I'm in his hand, and I will never be plucked from his Father's hand, because he and his Father are one (John 10:29-30). He then explains to me that when the time set by his Father arrives, he will return to redeem every believer and put the whole world to rights when there will be no more tears, no more pain or sorrow. A perfect world which he alone can restore to its original Edenic beauty.