It is easy to get caught up in religion ~ which tends to focus on dead things like doctrine, theology, apologetics ~ & forget the realities. Realities like Jesus was an actual historical person, born into a certain period of time, into a certain culture, with certain physical & mental attributes.
He had a family: mum, dad, siblings. [So glad not to be one of his siblings. Imagine growing up with the perfect child!] He had a family name. Did his family, I wonder, shorten Yeshua to Yoshi? Or something similar? Were there family jokes about his quirks as a toddler? Did he get excited about hunting for the afikomen during passover as a child?
Beyond the candles & the liturgy, beyond the ritual & the rites, beyond the sacraments & the sacred icons, lies the reality. I appreciate any scholarship that throws light on the person who was both a man & a God. Beautiful as religion can be I would rather have the real, living relationship of knowing this Jesus who left Heaven to live amongst us as a man & experienced the world as a man, with all it's beauty & ugliness & the sheer physical exhaustion that comes from inhabiting a mortal body.
One of the blessings of being a random abstract thinker is that it doesn't matter when or how information filters through. Information is like a jig~saw piece. When you find a piece you merely slot it into it's allotted place, where it nestles seamlessly without disturbing anything else. If a piece is wrong you can remove it without dramas.
How does this work? I was taught Jesus was trained as a carpenter. Being married to a man who is a tradie that wasn't a good fit in my mind but for want of better information I took it at face value. Then I read Sunday's paper a fortnight ago.
Sunday's paper is normally a waste of good paper & should be a hanging offence but a fortnight ago, tucked away on page 39, was an article ~ an article, not a line, not a paragraph, an article!~on Jesus. Knock me down with a feather!
The article was on the work British biblical scholar Dr Adam Bradford has been doing & his conclusions are based on mistranslations of the original text. [And in case you're wondering seeing I don't read either Greek or Aramaic, I went on~line & confirmed his translations from 2 other sources, one of which was decidedly not Christian!]
The Greek word used to describe Joseph's profession is "tekton" ~ carpenter; or more accurately, builder/architect. Joseph is usually described in translation as a "just man" ~ but the word man is not in the original Greek & the word translated as "just" meant a senior religious scholar involved in the judiciary. For me slotting in this alternative for Jesus background was easy. What's more it was like throwing a switch & have all the lights come on at once.
For one thing it probably means Jesus was much better educated than one ever suspected. If that is so it explains much better how he was able to hold his own in the temple amongst the rabbis at just 12 years old. He probably trained under Joseph in religion as well as carpentry. Jesus certainly knew His scriptures & someone certainly taught Him those. Explains His adeptness when dealing with the legal eagles of his day too. He was trained & could argue them into the ground. [Yes, I know he was God too but I've always believed Jesus had to learn things the same way we do; none of it was handed to Him on a platter.]
It explains how He got away with what He was doing for so long. He wasn't some obscure nobody the rabbis could afford to ignore but the son of a respected leader whom the scribes & pharisees, at one point, had high hopes of. Explains His mother & sisters trying to drag Him home when they thought He was compromising the good name of the family. Actually, it explains an awful lot if Bradford is right & Jesus became the most senior rabbi in Judea of His time.
What difference does this information make to my [or anyone else's] relationship with the God of the universe? In one way not a lot. In another way everything! It's not hard to grasp if you put it in completely human terms. I have a friend whom I've known for quite some time; even shared private & intimate information with, then one day they tell me something about themselves I didn't know. Immediately I feel that I know them so much better for that information. I have a whole new understanding of that person, a whole new insight into why they are the way they are.
The Lord does this for me, you know. Gives me these little treats from time to time knowing perfectly well my mind will go ticky~tocky, ticky~tocky, slamming all these scriptures down, wham! wham! wham! one after another as though we were playing a high speed version of Snap.
Yeah, I know. My mind goes strange places sometimes.