Not Yet Fifty Saturday, December 16, 2017
NOT YET FIFTY
By James L. Thornton
Luke 3:23. and Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of he'li,
The Jews of Jerusalem did not know our lord's right age, but they made a guess. They felt safe in saying that he had not turned fifty. When in fact he was just about thirty three years old.
Men pride themselves in looking young, especially older men. Why was the Jew’s guess so wide off the mark about our Lord's age?
What was it about him that threw them off so much? Why was it he looked fifty when in reality he was just over thirty.
There is not one single line about our Lord that is not written for our learning. I believe that this line also is written,
“That we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:31)
THE FIRST THING, PROPHECY.
The prophets and Psalmist of Israel always foresaw and foretold that the Messiah when he came would appear older than he actually was. Though in himself fairer that the children of men. (Psalm 45:2)
Yet his offices and his experiences would so disfigure him, and deface him, that “there would be no beauty left in him.” (Isaiah 53:2)
Isaiah 52:14. As many were astonished (appalled) at thee; his visage (appearance) was so marred (disfigured) more than any man, and his form (shape, figure) more than the sons of men: (KJV)
This is telling us that it was not a pretty sight to look upon him. That people would turn their eyes away from looking upon him.
The following is taken from chapter 53 of Isaiah.
Isaiah 53:2. “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” (men were not attracted to him by his beauty)
3. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him;" (we turned our backs on him, and looked the other way when he went by) “he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (we didn't care)
4. “Surely he hath borne our grief , and carried our sorrows:” (yet it was our grief he bore, our sorrows weighed him down) “yet we did esteemed him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.” (and we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, for his own sins) “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities;” (wounded and bruised for our sins)
5b. “The chastisement of our peace was upon him;’ (he was chastised that we might have peace) “and with his stripes we are healed.” (he was lashed, and we were healed)
God laid upon him the guilt and sins of ever one of us. But who among the people of that day realized that it was their sins that he was dying for? And that he was suffering their punishment.
He was buried like a common criminal in a rich man's grave.
But he had never spoken an evil word.
“He was numbered with the transgressors;"
(They thought he was breaking God's law)
“He bare the sins of many,"
(He carried my sins to the cross)
“And made intercession for the transgressors."
(He cried, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do") (Luke 23:34)
David also spoke of him.
Psalm 22:1. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
2. O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not;
7. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
8. He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. 13. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
16b. They pierced my hands and my feet.
17b. They look and stare upon me.
18. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture."
ALL THIS IS A TRUE PROPHECY OF OUR LORD'S EXPERIENCES. No wonder he looked twenty years older than he really was. Men's looks are not determined by years only, but by a thousand things.
THE SECOND THING HIS EARLY LIFE
We do not know much that happened in his early life at home. Maybe the responsibilities of the home fell upon him early. Maybe his brothers and sisters caused him grief. This may have bowed his head and stooped his shoulders early.
His unspeakable and unimaginable pain caused by all the sin around him, especially of those nearest to him. Never was a man more tenderhearted than our lord, all mercy, compassion, love and kindness of heaven was incorporated in him,
So all things affected him, and moved him emotionally. The sorrow and grief he bore brought early wrinkles to his brow.
Matthew 8:17b. Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sickness.
All the gospels record his pity and compassion for the people. On every page of the Four Gospels there are men and things that made him weep and to cry as Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 9:1. Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! (KJV)
MEN NEGLECTED HIM.
Then there was his own continual neglect of himself. There were many night he did not sleep, and when he did it was on the ground.
There were long nights of fasting and prayer. (Luke 6:12) (Many of which we are not fully told).
I have known two men in my life who fasted for forty days, and their whole countenance was changed. They were aged immensely by this. Ttheir were faces ashen, and wrinkled, which became permanent features.
There were long weary journeys on foot by our Lord, and long periods of exhausting preaching. And occasionally a fig of a wayside tree was his meal, sometimes a drink from a well along the way.
Al that must have visibly told upon our Lord.
He lay on the bare ground of the garden of Gethsemane far oftener that in the house of Mary and Martha. All during that last week he wholly exhausted himself, preaching those terrible sermons, (Matthew 21; 22; 23; 24; 25.
Spending himself completely in them. Then went out each night on the Mount of Olives. This went on a whole week before he was crucified.
He completely wore his body out.
He cared not what became of his body.
The garden of Gethsemane, his beloved prayer room became the scene of his most bitter struggle,
“O my father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” (Matthew 26:39)
It was also the place where the kiss of betrayal took place.
The half of what aged our Lord has not been told.
He was a man of sorrows and aquainted with grief.
It is said he was never known to smile.
The only example that I know that came close to imitating or Lord's life was the Apostle Paul.
One of the best Greek scholars of his day lay upon a dungeon floor as he dictated his last word and testimony.
2 Timothy 1:8. Be not thou ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel according to the power of God.
STARVED AND CONSUMED BY HIS ZEAL FOR SOULS.
Paul must have looked far older than he really was.
He continues his plea to Timothy to hurry and come to him.
I’m sure some the worst of his afflictions was the loneliness he felt.
2 Timothy 4:9. Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me.
10a. Demas hath forsaken me,..
11a. Only Luke is with me.
13. The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee and the books, but especially the parchments. (valuable manuscripts, possibly some of his own writings, or, early writings concerning our Lord; Luke 1:1-2)
16. At my first answer (trial, defense) no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
Paul, (like his Lord and master, of whom it is written, “All his disciples forsook him and fled,”) (Mark 14:50) had no one to stand with him in his hour of need.)
2 Timothy 4:21. Do thy diligence to come before winter,.. (this is the last plea we hear from him).
Only a few times from the mouth of our Lord, do we have a veiled complaint of lot that had been chosen for him?
Matthew 8:20. and Jesus saith unto him, the foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the son of man hath not where to lay his head.
We also have the testimony of the Apostle Paul of the trials and affliction he endured for the gospel's sake, written in the scriptures below.
2 Corinthians 11:23-30.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10.
After reading the above scriptures is it any wonder why Paul, along with our Lord, was aged far beyond their years.
NOT YET FIFTY
What a price that has been paid that we might enjoy this wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ. What a struggle some have gone through, and some are still going through afflictions and trials.
The next time we read this scripture (Luke 3:23), let us think about the things in Jesus' life which he went through that aged him.
I hope you enjoyed reading this study and will read the other studies on this web site
E-Mail address, Godsgrazingfield@att.net
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James L. Thornton