Shortly after meeting Philip and Nathanael, Jesus and His mother were guests at a wedding in Cana. Since Cana was about ten miles north of His home in Nazareth and Mary was also invited, those being married were probably close friends of His family. A very embarrassing moment happened at the wedding party. They ran out of wine!
Knowing the divine nature of Jesus, Mary probably felt that He could save the day. She informed Him of the situation and He rebuked her for trying to get Him involved in something that wasn’t His problem. However, Mary told the servants to do whatever He told them to do. This is excellent advice for us today
After commanding the servants to fill six stone water pots with water, Jesus told them to take some of it to the master of the feast. The master did not know where the wine had come from, but he was amazed that it tasted better than the first. There is some question about the alcoholic content of this wine. Since there are many admonitions in the Bible against drinking alcohol, and Jesus did no sin, one can conclude that this wine was non-alcoholic.
Jesus, His mother, brothers and disciples left Cana and went to Capernaum and stayed a few days until time to return to Jerusalem for the annual Feast of the Passover.
John the Baptist was standing with Andrew and John, two of his disciples one day. He saw Jesus and pointing Him out to them, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God.” Since John was preparing the way for Him, these two disciples left him and followed Jesus.
Andrew brought his brother, Simon (who would later be called Peter) to Jesus. The next day, Jesus found Philip and Philip brought Nathanael (Bartholomew) to Him. He then had five disciples who would work with Him during His ministry.
Various Scriptures proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God. John was sent to prepare the way for Jesus and at this point in his ministry, he pronounced that Jesus was, “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” He further stated, “And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”
Mt. 4:1-11; Mk. 1:12, 13; Lk. 4:1-13
The Spirit then led Jesus into the wilderness for a test to determine how well He could withstand temptations. During these forty days, He did not eat. Afterward, He was hungry and the devil tempted Him three times. Jesus responded each time by quoting Scripture. The defeated devil left Him for a more opportune time and as far as we know, he never tempted Jesus again.
Mt.3:13-17; Mk. 1:9-11; Lk. 3:21, 22
Jesus came from Galilee to be baptized by John in the Jordan River. At first, John objected to baptizing Him, saying that he needed to be baptized by Jesus. Jesus explained that it was necessary in order to fulfill all righteousness or to do God’s complete will.
After Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and the Spirit of God descended like a dove and lit upon Him. God endorsed Him by a voice from heaven that said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Mt. 3:1-12; Mk. 1:1-8; Lk. 3:1-18; Jn. 1:19-28
At about the time Jesus became thirty years old, John the Baptist began preaching in the wilderness of Judea between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. John’s ministry was prophesied by Isaiah many years earlier. He preached a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. His message was, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
John was an outdoorsman. His clothing was made of camel’s hair and he wore a leather belt around his waist. His diet consisted of locusts and wild honey—and he was a fiery preacher. He called sinners children of snakes and admonished them to show by their deeds, whether they had repented of their sins.
Only one event in the childhood of Jesus is recorded from the time He returned from Egypt to Nazareth until He was about thirty years old. One can speculate that He had a normal childhood playing games with His friends and going to school. Fathers taught their sons to work and Joseph taught Him the carpentry trade.
Since the Boy Jesus was the Son of God, He had a special relationship with God. Even though His childhood was probably normal, it was different in that He was sinless. One cannot imagine the Son of God in a fight or getting into trouble with His parents.
Each year, the Jews were required to attend the Feast of Passover in Jerusalem. On one of those trips, when Jesus was twelve years old, He became separated from Mary and Joseph. After the Feast had ended, His parents started on their journey home and at the end of the day, they realized that He was not with them. They frantically searched among their relatives and friends for their twelve-year-old Boy, but could not find Him. Upon returning to Jerusalem, they found Him in the temple talking with the teachers and asking them questions. His mother scolded Him, but He replied, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” At this young age, Jesus realized the importance of His spiritual life.
All that is known about Jesus from that time until age thirty is that He continued to be subject to His parents and He matured physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.
When Herod realized that the wise men were not returning to him, he became so angry that he gave an order to kill all of the male children in the area of Bethlehem who were two years old and under. The killing of these children fulfilled a prophecy that had been made by Jeremiah many years earlier.
After the death of Herod, an angel came to Joseph in a dream and informed him that it was safe to return to Israel. Upon returning to Israel, Joseph learned that Herod’s son, Archelaus was king in Judea. He was afraid of Archelaus and after God had warned him again, he went into Galilee to Nazareth. This also fulfilled a prophecy that, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
The story is told that Herod was so wicked that he left an order for leading citizens to be executed at his death so there would be mourning instead of celebrating when he died.
A group of wise men from the East had followed Jesus’ star to Jerusalem and were asking where they could find, “He who has been born King of the Jews.” King Herod heard about this and was troubled because he thought this “King of the Jews” would be taking his throne. Herod called for the wise men and instructed them to let him know the location of this young Child so he could “worship Him also.”
We do not know how old Jesus was when the wise men saw Him. We do know that He was more than forty days old, however, because Mary had already been purified. When the wise men found Jesus in a house (not the stable), they fell down and worshiped Him and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
God warned the wise men to not return to Herod, so they returned home by another direction. That same night, God warned Joseph that Jesus was in danger and that he should take Him and His mother to Egypt until after the death of Herod.
As in the case of John three months earlier, Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day and officially named, even though Mary and Joseph had already been told by the angel that the Child’s name would be Jesus.
According to the Law of Moses, mothers were required to go through a period of purification after the birth of each child (forty days for a male and eighty days for a female child). At the end of this purification, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. While in the temple, they met a man named Simeon, who had been told “by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” There are people who do not believe that Jesus is the Christ. If they are correct, Simeon is still living and is a very old man.
A short distance from town, there was a group of shepherds tending their sheep that night and they had a strange experience. An angel of the Lord appeared to them with the glory of the Lord shining about them and they were greatly afraid. The angel told the shepherds to not be afraid because they had some great news. “For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
These shepherds were so excited, that they did not wait until daylight, but left immediately to see the baby Jesus. While they were there, they told about the angel appearing and everyone was amazed at this. Mary did not say anything, but she knew that she was the mother of a very special Child. The shepherds then returned to their sheep glorifying and praising God for all that they had seen and heard.
When Mary’s time had come to be delivered, she and Joseph had traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the city of David to be registered for taxes. It was only about sixty-five miles, but traveling that distance in her condition was very hard. Because of the crowds, there were no available rooms at the inn, so they had to stay in a stable. In this humble stable she gave birth to the Son of God!
Three months passed and Mary went back home to Nazareth and Elizabeth’s big day arrived. John was born!
Jewish males were circumcised and named on the eighth day after their birth. A large crowd of well-wishers was on hand and they expected the baby would be named Zacharias for his father. Elizabeth said that his name would be John. This perplexed the people so they made signs to Zacharias asking what he would have him called. Zacharias called for a writing tablet upon which he wrote, “His name is John.” Immediately he began to speak and to praise God.
Mary and Elizabeth were not only cousins, but they were very close friends as well. After Mary had heard the message from the angel, she went to Jerusalem, which was about sixty miles from her home in Nazareth to visit Elizabeth. Imagine the excitement of these two women as they shared the news about the babies they were carrying!
After Joseph learned that Mary was expecting a baby, he was concerned about her honor. An angel appeared to him in a dream and told him to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife, “For that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”