We know little about his life between the birth of Jesus and the beginning of his ministry. The gospel authors reported very sparse details, but what we do know provides excellent insight into his preparation for the ministry. 

Jesus’ Lost Years

  • Jesus’ family flees to Egypt and later returns to Nazareth (Matt. 2:13-23).
  • At age 12, Jesus talks with teachers in the temple (Luke 2:41-51).
  • He grows in wisdom and stature, growing in favor with both God and man (Luke 2:52).
  • Jesus worked as a carpenter in Nazareth (Mark 6:3; Matt. 13:55).
  • John the Baptist begins his ministry right before Jesus begins his (Matt. 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-17; John 1:19-34).

John the Baptizer

  • The task of John the Baptist was to clear the way for the coming Messiah.
  • John the Baptist fulfilled Old Testament prophecies:
    • The messenger who prepares the way of the Lord (Mal. 3:1; cf. Matt. 11:10) 
    • Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts (Mal. 3:1). 
    • The one who comes in the spirit of Elijah (Mal. 4:5-6; cf. Matt. 11:14; 17:10-13; Luke 1:17).
  • John the Baptist was born to Zechariah and Elizabeth, devout, older Jews of the priestly line (Luke 1:5-25, 39-80).
  • Elizabeth and Mary were related (Luke 1:36).
    • And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren (Luke 1:36).
  • John the Baptist was known for (Matt. 3:4-5):
    • Preaching in the wilderness 
    • Wearing camel’s hair 
    • Eating locusts and wild honey
  • John baptizes Jesus (Matt. 3:13-17):
    • John doesn’t feel worthy 
    • Jesus sets an example 
    • Jesus was baptized to fulfill all righteousness
  • At Jesus’ baptism, we see evidence of the Trinity (Matt. 3:16-17).
    • In addition to Jesus’ baptism (Matt. 3:16-17), the NT also contains other examples of the Trinity (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; John 14:16-17, 26; 1 Peter 1:2; Titus 3:4-6; John 15:26).
  • John decreases because he knows Christ must increase (John 3:30).
  • Before John was beheaded (Matt. 14:1-12), he questioned Jesus’ identity (Matt. 11:1-19).

Jesus & the Tempter

  • After Jesus’ baptism, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan (Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-11).
  • Satan tempts Jesus with “every temptation” (Luke 4:13), but these Gospel writes share 3 of the main temptations (provision, power, protection).
    Jesus had fasted for 40 days and was hungry, indicating the reality of his humanness. 
  • Jesus does in 40 days what Israel could not do in 40 years – be completely obedient to God’s laws.
    • Ref. – Moses’ fast of 40 days (Ex. 34:28), 40 days spying out of the Promised Land (Num. 13:25), and 40 years of Israelites wandering in the wilderness (Num. 14:34; Deut. 8:2-3).
  • Jesus doesn’t argue with Satan; he simply quotes Scripture.
  • Satan also quotes Scripture but misinterprets it.
    Satan, in defeat, leaves but promises to return at an “opportune time” (Luke 4:11; cf. Eph. 4:26-27).
  • After this altercation and being ministered to by angels (Matt. 4:11), Jesus begins his public ministry (Matt. 4:17).