Many people know the name of Jesus, like knowing the name of one famous actor, but do they know Him? We preached Christ crucified, resurrected and ascended but equally important is His incarnation. Principally as the model and example of our lives, we need to focus on his daily lifestyle and suffering (1 Pet 2:21) not His heavenly reign.
Jesus is the best life ever lived.
This was the primary reason why He became flesh, to be an example! To show us it is possible as humans to also live without sin. Many Christians aspire to have His reign, seated in heavenly places, ruling and triumphant without the crucifixion of self. (Gal 2:20; Mat 16:19; Rom 6:11; Rom 12:1) He became flesh so that we will have a priest who have compassion, and mercy. (Heb 4:14-16) Remember 90% of his life was hidden, 30 years obeying and submitting to earthly parents. (Luk 2:13)
Many pastors and church leaders have put themselves on a throne, and want to be treated as kings and lords. But the King of King, and Lord of Lords came as a servant! Some church leaders change their voices, and wear fancy robes, to distinguish themselves, when He came as God Emmanuel, here-with-us. Some men see themselves as the head of the wife (Eph 5:21) and thus the king ruler of the house. They assume the right to command and demand their wives to submit, and also making decisions without their consent or knowledge. Some men do not play with their children, they also assume this high position in their attitude towards them. Speaking down and belittling them. Parents must discipline their children but never without showing them respect and dignity. To shame them is not to discipline them.
We are called to reign in this life. Rom 5:17 We reign over sin, destructive habits, emotions and our flesh. We reign over difficult circumstances! We reign in spite of persecution and suffering for the sake of the gospel. But we do not Lord over another! Like Jesus the king became flesh to serve mankind and do good.
They way Jesus lived His earthly life, is the way, the life and the way. He modelled the Bible, making it flesh. So by learning from his earthly life, we unlock the secrets of living with purpose. In studying the gospels we discover: His forgiveness, (Luk 23:34) His abhorrence of false hypocrisy (Mat 6; 15:7; 22:18), the way he treated women (John 4) and children (Mark 10:14), the way he touched the untouchables (Mark 1:40), His compassion for the lost (Mat 18:11), and much much more!
According to James Martin in his book the “Jesus a Pilgrimage” the newest archeological studies has revealed the Nazareth was “on the fringe of the Roman Empire, both geographically and politically.” Only two to four hundred people lived there in Jesus’s day.
Today the ruins of the houses in Nazareth are scant, but the archaeological evidence has revealed small dwellings built with local stones (basalt or limestone) that were stacked roughly atop one another. The floors were of packed earth and the roofs thatched, constructed over beams of wood and held together with mud. Families lived in small houses clustered together around a “yard” where common activities were performed.
Evidence from the rooms points to little privacy for the inhabitants, but a great sense of community. Everyone knew each other, is this not the carpenter’s son (Mt 13:55–56).
A more correct rendering of this word is artisan. Which means he actually belonged to the ancient middle-class. Artisans from this period in Galilea, were mostly masons and carpenters, or both as these skills was interrelated to the building of houses. Jesus makes more reference to buildings than specific woodwork practice. Rebuilding the temple in 3 days (Mat 27:40), house build on a rock (Mat 7:24-25), he is the door (John 10:1-9), He is the cornerstone rejected (Mat 21:42). Again showing his knowledge of how building was constructed.
But being an artisan was not work done in isolation, it was mostly team work because no heavy moving equipment existed in this time. He was skilled with his hands, taking his time to make a whip, learned from his trade, as ropes was standard equipment in his trade.
The little village was “filthy, malodorous and unhealthy” by contemporary standards.
Most skeletal remains predictably show iron and protein deficiencies, and most had severe arthritis. A case of the flu, a bad cold, or an abscessed tooth could kill. Life expectancy, for the luckier half that survived childhood, was somewhere in the thirties. Those reaching fifty or sixty were rare.
Life was hard, and people lived perilously close to the edge, economically and socially. People did not travel afar much, since it was both dangerous and expensive. When they did— for example, for the pilgrimage to Jerusalem— they did so in larger groups so as to ward off bandits. Life was, “predominantly local.”
Nazareth is not mentioned anywhere in the Old Testament. Nor is it mentioned in the Talmud, which lists sixty- three other villages in Galilee, or in the writings of Josephus, who names forty- five other Galilean villages. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” asks Nathanael. (John 1:46) In that Gospel passage Nazareth is, quite literally, a joke. And yet, just four miles from Nazareth was Sepphoris, a bustling city of thirty thousand, which was being rebuilt at the time by Herod Antipas.
One archaeological team wrote about Nazareth: “The principal activity of these villagers was agriculture. Nothing in the finds suggests wealth.” In his parables and stories Jesus frequently makes use of images not from carpentry, which one would expect, but from farming— the sower and the seeds, the mustard seed, and the weeds that grow up alongside the wheat and about laborers.
This background was Jesus’ training ground. His school of Life, where He learned to do nothing unless His Father shows Him. The working class has this characteristic embedded, no pomp, no wasting time with image and self-consciousness, for it is all about survival.
But the greatest mystery of Jesus life was Paradox. He is earthly, human, simple, with a fine sense of humor and playfulness, justice and fairness, always reasonable. He got tired, possible would sweat, have normal earthly urges, became angry John 11:38 (brimáomai – to roar, storm with anger, to be enraged, indignant, to express indignation against someone) but not loose His temper. On the other hand, he cast out demons (Mat 12:28), summons the wind (Mar 4:39), walk on water (Mat 14:25), and heal the sick (Acts 10:38). These supernatural acts and conduct makes Him heavenly and divine.
Remember He was our example, and thus expect us to also walk in this same paradox. Being humanly frail and vulnerable, yet spiritually strong and temperate.
This lifestyle is only possible once He has removed all duality of a sinful nature, and we walk in the Spirit. (Gal 5:19) A better metaphor for this kind of life, is to become like a child. Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 18:4) Children are playful and unconcerned. They forgive quickly, and live in the now. They do not carry emotional baggage from the past, and is unconcerned about the future. They love unconditionally and are passionate. They have no self-awareness or self-consciousness.
There is so much to learn and discover of His life, studying the OT references to Messianic prophecies. His different names, and how it reveals his character and personality. His teachings, on values, insight and perspectives. The power of His resurrection, enables us to overcome sin. His Miracles and various healings shows us how he was connected with the Father and heaven. His suffering, rejection and grief shows us how to life through life’s obstacles and challenges. The sumtotal of His life, gives us all we need to grow in godliness!