Did you know that the Bible gives us a hint of what Christ’s teen and early adult years were like? It’s not found in the gospels, but in the Psalms.
Most of us are familiar with the last mention of Christ’s childhood, as the time when He was 12 years old and His parents found Him in the temple, teaching the elders. Then the gospel accounts fast-forward to His last three years of life, His ministry that culminated in His giving His life up for us and rising again three days later.
We are reading through the Psalms as a family this year, with help from J. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible commentary, and when we reached Psalm 69 I was awed at a peek into these childhood and young manhood years of Christ–just think that they were written hundreds of years before they actually happened! The Bible is alive, and its many layers are almost unfathomable!
Bit of background
Psalm 69 is the one of the most quoted Psalms in the New Testament. It is quoted in the Gospel of John, in Romans, in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Acts. This is the Psalm of our Lord’s humility and rejection. Read the whole thing for yourself…and see how Christ endured suffering ALL through His lifetime, not only in His last days. And He willingly submitted to this humiliation out of love for us, sinful mankind. We begin by seeing His dark days in Nazareth–as a little boy? A teenager? A young man?
Psalm 69–scripture in italics
Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul
I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me
(The floods of suffering began in a stable in Bethlehem.)
I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God
(In Nazareth, He had 30 years of waiting, of undeserved suffering and false accusations before His ministry began, leading to the cross. This is some serious anguish described here.)
They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away
(This verse is quoted in John 15:25, “But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.” There was no justification to the hatred His enemies heaped upon Him. They hated Jesus without a cause, so that we might be justified without a cause! No way to earn or deserve His paying the penalty for our sins on the cross. “Justified” has often been defined in Biblical terms to mean: “Just as if I’d never sinned.” This is why Jesus endured what He did for us.)
O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee
(You might ask how this verse could apply to Christ? Remember that on His last few hours on the cross, He became sin for us. He who was holy, endured even this.)
Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel.
Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face
(He willingly humbled Himself here on earth, for His father’s sake.)
I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children
(This verse is packed. Mary had other children. Perhaps they heard the neighbors whispering about their brother, Jesus, saying that no one knew who His real father was. He became an “alien” in his own home. How hard!)
For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me
(Jesus quoted this verse in John 2:16-17 when He turned out the moneychangers from the temple.)
When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach
(When He would fast or weep, His brothers would ridicule Him for it. Perhaps accusing Him of putting on an act.)
I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them
(McGee’s notes say that the “Proverb” He became was related to word being circulated that He was illegitimate.)
They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards
(The ones that sat at the gate were the high officials of the town, the judges. The best people in Nazareth were against Him. “I was the song of the drunkards”–drunks made up slanderous songs about Him and His mother…this was His life in Nazareth. Not pretty. McGee says, “He was called illegitimate in order that I might be a legitimate son of God” through His gracious bearing of my sins on the cross.)
But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of they mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation
(This verse is quoted in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”)
Below, in verses 14-19, we see Christ’s prayer word for word, the prayer mentioned in the gospels, but not spelled out for us there!
Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and and out of the deep waters
Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me
Hear me, O Lord; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of they tender mercies
And hide not they face from they servant; for I am in trouble; hear me speedily
Draw night unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies
Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mind adversaries are all before thee
Verses 20-21 tell of His dark hours on the cross:
Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none
They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink
Verses 22-28, Jesus’ “imprecatory prayer”–an imprecatory prayer is an invoking of evil, or a curse.
Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap
Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents
For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded
Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness
Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous
Psalm 69 ends with a song of praise:
I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving
For the Lord heareth the poor, and despiseth not his prisoners
Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein
This Easter let’s reflect on the enormity of our Savior’s sacrifice for us!
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hallelujah, what a Savior to go through all of that for me.