And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age.—Luke 3:23.
How marvellous in all things are the ways of God to us! Was Jesus indeed in the world, and the world made by him, and the world knew him not? And did he remain hid away, and unknown, for the first thirty years of his life? Did the Son of God come on earth to do away sin by the sacrifice of himself, and yet enter not upon the full purpose of his mission until so large a portion of his life upon earth had passed away? O wonder-working God! how true is it, that thy ways are not our ways, nor thy thoughts our thoughts! Yet, my soul, though thy Jesus did not engage in his public ministry in the more open display of it by his miracles and preaching, yet surely those thirty years were of vast importance on the score of redemption. No doubt Jesus spent them in obedience to his Father’s law, manifesting a life of holiness and purity, suited and corresponding to the immaculate perfection of his nature, who did no sin, neither was “guile found in his mouth.” Convinced as I am, my honoured Lord, that the body thy Father gave thee, and thy human nature which thou didst assume for the purpose of salvation, was not produced in the ordinary method of generation, but by the miraculous influence of the Holy Ghost; so am I equally convinced that during the whole of thy life, from the manger to the cross, every act, and word, and thought of thine, manifested that thou wast holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens. And shall I not then believe, that these thirty years were of some sweet, though to us secret importance, in thy covenant engagements as our surety? Can I suppose that the thirty years of my Redeemer’s life, before his being publicly made manifest to Israel, were spent in nothing in relation to the great work which he came purposely to do? Did not those seasons minister also to the cancelling the sin of his people, taking away the curse by bearing it, and by dying for it: and may we not suppose that God the Father had an eye to every minute act in the life of his dear Son, whom he had called to the work of salvation, and given as a covenant to his people, to be their head and mediator, their law-fulfiller and sin-offering? Precious Lord! silent as the Scriptures are on this great portion of thy life, yet is not their silence a call upon thy people to meditate on the subject? Give me grace, then, my honoured Lord, to be often contemplating the infinite condescension of Jesus in this part, as well as in others, in which thou must have “endured such a contradiction of sinners against thyself.” And let not this be the smallest improvement of this sweet and interesting view of my Lord, that when I call to mind how thy holy soul must have felt, during the thirty years, from the open displays of sin, in the blasphemies and daring defiances of God, the reproaches of the ungodly, and the torrent of evil all around, yet nothing stopped the gracious purposes of thine heart, in executing the errand on which thy whole mind was bent: “in dying, the just for the unjust, to bring sinners unto God.”