September 4, 2009

Dealing with Nazareth - 7.5

Summarizing the series so far...

Post #1 - IF we can make any historical conclusions about how Jesus pleased the Father, before his baptism, then THAT is what Jesus was doing in Nazareth.

Post #2 - To proceed, we must assume God's pleasure depended at least partly on Jesus' actions. Technically theo-logic, this assumption is required for the sake of the inquiry.

Post #3 - Personal reflections on methodology: accept scripture's supernatural claims at face value, but do not reconstruct events based on theological ideas.

Post #4 - More distinctions between Theological interpretation (both valid and invalid) and our goal, which is to figure out what Jesus was doing in Nazareth.

Post #5 - A working understanding of active ways to please anyone: Do what they want [and/or] Do what they like [and/or] Do what they command. Consideration of potential conclusions and challenges to come.

Post #6 - Analysis of Jesus at age 12 reveals an impressive degree of focus on God and an astounding, doubtlessly God-centered interpretation of Torah, but we may not (yet) assume Jesus' obedience to any direct commands delivered through divine spiritual communion.

Post #7 - Chronological stages of Jesus' life, pre-baptism: estimating the ages of Joseph & Mary shows within a reasonable margin or error that Jesus spent his teens being a big brother and his twenties becoming the man of the household. As a whole, this data gives us some boundaries for the rest of our investigation.

(Intermission) Fourteen Post Series on The Nazareth Synagogue - By examining particular evidence from all four Gospels, we conclude Jesus was active in his community but received no more public education than anyone else in his hometown. Assuming the focus he displayed at age 12 was present much earlier in his childhood, Jesus received a special education from his Father (John 7:16) simply by [or at least by] attending Synagogue meetings and paying close attention. Over hundreds of weeks, His astounding pre-teen sagacity developed by hearing the Law and Prophets each Sabbath day and spending long hours reflecting upon them at length. This private reflection naturally expressed itself as devotional time before God, and the development of that devotion was doubtlessly encouraged by the most common and frequently repeated scripture in ancient Jewish life - the one which later became "The Greatest Commandment" in Jesus' public ministry: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your might. In short, the young Jesus was a common Jew who cared about God to an uncommon degree.

Note: we have not yet drawn any conclusions about the potential presence or absence of any direct metaphysical contact or communication between Jesus and the Father. Their close spiritual intimacy so visible in his public years must have developed at some point (most likely before Jesus' baptism, imho) but up to this point in the study we have not considered any evidence for how, when or why that deeper communion might have begun. It may help to keep that in mind as we proceed from here.

Next: More. Hopefully lots, lots more.

Stay tuned...

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