Jesus’ Lost Years

The title of this blog is a reference to Jesus between the ages of about 13 and 30. Jesus was not lost, of course. It is just that we don’t have any written records that tell us what he was doing during that time. “Lost” might mean that there are records that have been lost. Not quite sure.

There are a few ideas floating around about Jesus’ life during his young adult years that I think have some merit. Some people believe that Jesus traveled to the east during his young adult years. A man named Nicholas Roerich traveled to India and Tibet and claims to have found ancient manuscripts that tell of a Saint Issa who studied in India around the time of Christ. That, plus oral traditions of the area, convinced him that Jesus had been there. Whether Jesus went there or not, scholars note the similarities between the teachings of Jesus and those of other religious teachings such as Hindi and Buddhist. I have noticed these similarities myself as I study other religions.

Some scholars note that Israel was a crossroads where people of many different beliefs traveled. Consider the story of the three wise men who are said to have visited the infant Jesus in Bethlehem. The New Testament doesn’t gloss over their religious belief that one can be guided by stars. In my thinking, Jesus would not have to leave Israel in order to encounter the religions of the east.

Jesus was a seeker. I understand this characteristic because I, too, am a seeker. I have an insatiable curiosity about things that sends me into ridiculous directions. I have read books most people would not consider reading. It is one reason I can find them so cheaply. I once paid one penny for a resource book that was probably worth $50 at one time. I envision a book seller just wanting to get rid of it.

I have gone places many Christians I know have not. The course I took on world religions in college included field trips to local places of worship for members of the religions we studied:  a Jewish mosque, a Buddhist temple, a Sikh prayer community (Muslim). I think that experience got me launched because it took reduced any fear I had of stepping into the unknown.

If I could rewrite parts of my life, I would have loved to travel to far corners of the earth where these religions had their birth. Somehow I don’t think that will happen, though one never knows. I still have a few years ahead, I think. I am waiting until Scotty can beam me up so I don’t have to sit in an airplane for hours on end.

Whether these stories of Jesus are true or not, I am quite sure he did not simply pound nails for the 17 years about which we have no written record (so far). We don’t have the writings Roerich claims to have found; we have only his word. So in the end, it is one’s guess. I agree with the scholars who see the similarities between Jesus’ teachings and those of the eastern teachers. There is nothing in the writings we do have to contradict the idea of his traveling. In fact, given what we know about his disciples’ travels after his death, I think it is quite likely.

I don’t know about you folks, but I find this fascinating. I don’t want to stir up too much interest, however, or I might see the books I buy on EBay skyrocket.

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One Response to Jesus’ Lost Years

  1. Marie Zapf-Taylor says:

    This is what I have concluded about it.

    Because the Bible does not give a lot of details about Jesus’ life between 12 and 30 we can conclude the following based on the scriptures:

    At Luke 2:52 reads “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favour with god and men.

    Luke 2:51: He remained obedient to his imperfect parents.

    Mark 6:3-4; Matthew 13:55-57: He remained with his family in Nazareth; the locals knew him and his family well.

    Mark 6:3: He learned his father’s trade and became known as a carpenter.

    In reality the Bible tells us exactly what Jesus was doing all those years. He was experiencing life; He was experiencing hunger, sleepiness, joy, work, fatigue. He was experiencing everything that we humans do, so as to be a fair judge by His own experiences. That way, He could relate to us all.

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