To escape being killed by Herod, Joseph took Mary and Joseph to Egypt for several years. Then, in obedience to God’s direction, he took his little family back to Nazareth (Matthew 2:13-23). The only event recorded during Jesus’ childhood was when He went to the temple at the age of 12 (Luke 1:41-52). We have no way of knowing how much Jesus understood of His origins or future while growing up. We can confidently assume He grew up experiencing all the feelings, emotions and temptations any normal human being would go through (Hebrews 4:15; 2:18). He voluntarily chose not to use any part of His deity which would have made His life as a human any easier (Philippians 2:7); He laid aside all knowledge and power, the ability to be present anywhere, anything that would have given him an advantage that other human beings did not have. Clearly, though, He grew up with a deep faith and attained a clear understanding of God’s Word through study and training (Luke 2:52).
It’s hard to know just how aware He was of His deity and purpose in coming, but there is no doubt the angels and demons were quite aware. Jesus didn’t get married when other boys would have (late teens or early twenties) but stayed single, knowing God had something else for Him. When He reached thirty (Luke 3:23), the age when young men would enter the priesthood, He felt God’s Spirit leading Him to leave His family and home and go to where His cousin John the baptizer was preaching (Luke 1:1-60).
While He was there He publically committed Himself to the work He had volunteered for before the world was created – providing redemption for us (Ephesians 1:3-4). This was the only way God could give us a free will yet still have us in heaven with Him. He became our substitute, our sacrifice, the “lamb of God” as John calls Him (John 1:29, 36). When He was baptized God Himself affirmed His approval and sent the Holy Spirit to fill Jesus in a special way and enable Him to do the work of the Messiah/Christ (Luke 3:21-22).
While the people watching Him be baptized by John may not have been aware of the great significance of what was happening, the spiritual forces, both angelic and demonic, were totally aware of what was occurring. The enemy knew what they must do – defeat the Messiah before He defeats them! The battle was on.
LESSON FOR TODAY: When God calls us to come follow Him and serve Him, there is a time we need to make that commitment public. It could be by baptism or some other way of letting others know of our promise to live for Him and follow Him in all we do. This usually brings opposition. Even Jesus was greatly attacked after His baptismal statement of commitment.
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)