I posted on 'spiritual biology' yesterday to reveal my bias. I believe what I wrote is true in reality, not just in theological principle. I also believe it describes the life of Jesus Christ in Nazareth. As the firstborn of a new race, he lived a new kind of life. He had a body, soul and spirit that functioned together and properly, giving him an advantage in knowing the Father that no human being before him had ever enjoyed.
The Israelites were commanded to love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength but Christ attained true worship in the spirit. According to the Gospels, he definitely achieved that close communion with God by the time of his ministry. The question I'm trying to answer somewhat more definitively is... how much earlier in life did that spiritual connection develop? A good start at a generalized answer might be, "Somewhere between learning to walk and learning to walk on water." But when?
Various theological traditions might place that point before age 12, after age 12, or not until the day of the Baptism itself. But fooey on "theology". Historically, it happened. Whether gradually or suddenly, by some point it had happened. Approximately, when? And what possible grounds do we have for concluding as such, even generally?
I'm going to try and answer these questions a bit less vaguely than is usually done - I hope. We obviously don't see the gospels giving us a direct answer on this, but it's an important issue. What did Jesus do for "about thirty" years to earn the audible praise of God at the Jordan River? Was his devotion purely soulish? Or was there a mystical connection, and if so from what age?
I'm also going to try leaving "theologic" completely out of things. In other words, I'm going to take a stab at answering this question historically, from the scriptures. I may fail. Or not. Perhaps we shall see.