He was about 30

June 13, 2103

Dear brothers and sisters,

I am taking the good news today from Mark 3:23-38.

When Jesus began his ministry he was about thirty years of age. He was the son, as we thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakam, the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalee, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Whew — 77 generations! Matthew traces Jesus’ genealogy beginning with Abraham, founder of the Jewish nation. Luke takes it further to Adam, founder of all humankind, to make sure there’s no question in the reader’s mind that Jesus is descended from God through his creation, man — as are we all — and that salvation is universally available. Placing Jesus’ ancestry immediately following his baptism and the voice from heaven proclaiming, “You are my beloved Son,” Luke is underscoring the divine and human natures of Jesus. In Jesus, God’s creation has come to fullness and as fulfillment of His promises.

It also seems to me that Luke is telling me and you that God’s proclamation, “You are my beloved Son,” is directed to us just as much as it was to Jesus as we also are descended from Adam. And He adds, “[W]ith you I am well pleased,” if I am obedient to Him and strive ceaselessly to please Him as Jesus did. There’s the difference. I know that He’s not always well pleased with me, but I’m still His beloved son and He will again be pleased with me when I repent and pledge to amend my ways.

Daniel Levinson, based on the theories of Freud, Jung, and Erickson, spent his life in researching adult development and published his findings in The Seasons of a Man’s Life in 1978. It’s interesting to me that he views the time of transition around age 30 as the end of the preparatory phase of early adulthood. “It is time to enter the Settling Down period, which marks the culmination of early adulthood and produces the final fruits and thorns of this era.” So, being true to his human nature, Jesus similarly completed his early adulthood development at “about thirty years of age” and was ready to begin his ministry — “settling down” to business. It’s fascinating that Levinson used the phrase “produces the final fruits and thorns.” It’s as if he were describing Jesus’s life. He goes on to write, “The underlying task is…to pursue long-range plans and goals.” Jesus had spent his early adulthood in talking with God, in learning the scriptures, in observing people and institutional structures and formulated his plan for undertaking his mission toward the goal of establishing God’s kingdom on earth.

All this just further reinforces for me that Jesus is my brother, that we are more alike than different. I am able to identify with him and, therefore, encouraged to work with him in bringing about the kingdom of God as well. He and I are both sons of God.



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