Movie of the Week: Jesus of Nazareth by Franco Zeffirelli 1977
Clip: 1:12:55 – 1:22:40
Old Testament: Psalm 71:1-14
New Testament: Luke 2:41-53
If there is one gaping hole in the Scriptures, it’s stories from Jesus’ childhood and teenage years. We really only have the story of his birth, and that really stops at the birth itself–We don’t get any information of how Jesus was as a baby (Was he fussy? Did he have colic? Was he miraculously potty trained at 1 month?–and the story of him at the temple as a young boy teaching and amazing his elders. This clip from Jesus of Nazareth offers a wonderful opportunity to think about Jesus as a boy. If Jesus impressed people this much at age twelve, we could imagine the attention he must have received. Certainly. People must have begun wondering if there was something special about him.
Now, put yourself in Jesus’ shoes. Imagine the attention he was receiving. Just like today, when a prodigy is discovered at a young age, whether it a gift of playing basketball, a math genius, or a young musical savant they receive a deluge of attention from an early age. The attention is equally accompanied by skeptics who wonder if they can live up to the early expectations. There seem to be more than a few naysayers who seem to be hoping for failure.
It’s rather remarkable that we know nothing of Jesus’ life, save a few hours one day, until he is in his thirties. There is much to reflect on and pray through in this mediation. Certainly, it makes us consider our own age. It is common for anyone over 30 years old to have thoughts of inferiority and discouragement in the face of a prodigy who made his first million by 22 or had her PhD by 25 or who accomplished some other major accomplishment. But . . . of course . . . we are talking about Jesus here, so what are we to think about this time in his life?
Although Jesus is certainly unique, being the Son of God and everything, something must be said of the fact that he had to go through human development like the rest of us. He relied on his parents for sustenance at an early age. Certainly, he must have cried when he scraped his knee or had a hang nail. To really stretch our minds, he knows what it was like to go through puberty and to grow armpit hair. And in the midst of his development, we find him, sitting in the temple, teaching elders several times his age. This seems to say something both about Jesus and about being young. Spend some time in prayer today imagining the Jesus you are praying to as a man who went through the same human development that you did (at least as much as men and women have in common). Imagine being Jesus’ parent and how challenging that must have been – or his brother or sister. Again, this is an important step in our quest to see Jesus as fully man.