What did Jesus do between the ages of 12 and 30?   Where did he live?   Did he travel?   What is the evidence (not belief and conjecture) that forms the basis of your assertions in this regard?  Thank you.


My answer is that I do not know what Jesus did or even where he lived during this time and neither does anyone else know what Jesus did during this time.  However, despite not having any direct evidence, I believe that we can make some pretty solid conjectures about what Jesus did.  It is very likely that what Jesus did from the time he visited Jerusalem with his parents at the age of 12 (Luke 2:41-52, which would have been somewhere around AD 7-8) until his ministry began in around AD 27, was that he lived with his family.  I have already conceded that I do not have direct proof of this, but there is some pretty good indirect evidence to support this conclusion, as I will give below.
The evidence is that up to his death, Jesus took the role, as firstborn son, of head of his family.  In the scene at the cross, when Jesus was about to die, he gave the responsibility to take care of his mother to John (John 19:25-27).  This tells me that even when Jesus was traveling and teaching during his ministry, he still was acting as the head of his household.  Although it is not stated specifically in the New Testament, we can almost certainly assume that Joseph had died by the time Jesus began his ministry.  As oldest son, Jesus would have taken on the task of being head of the household.  This would mean that he would take care of his mother. This is further shown to be the case by John 2:1-12 when Jesus is relating to his mother in an intimate way which shows he is still in a kind of submission to her.  Later on, some of his brothers and his mother tried to take him home (Matthew 12:46-50).  To me this implies that before he began his ministry he was living with his family.
My conclusion is that up until the time of his ministry Jesus most likely lived a relatively normal life of a young Jewish man.  He was known as “the carpenter’s son.” (Matthew 13:55).  Most will agree that he learned the trade of being a carpenter, which would have been a bit like the general contractor today, not just doing wood-working but being in the building trade.  I cannot prove that Jesus lived a rather normal life before his ministry, but the evidence seems to point in this direction.
You may be aware that many have speculated that Jesus traveled to Greece to interact with the philosophers there, and still more have speculated that he traveled to India to learn from gurus there.  There is literally zero evidence for any of these speculations, despite multiple claims.  I conclude that Jesus lived in Nazareth and lived the life of a craftsman, learning basic Hebrew and taking the role, after his father died, as male head of the family, but in submission to his mother.  However, I will freely concede that I cannot prove this was all he did between the ages of 12 and 30.  As one who believes in the inspiration of the Bible, I conclude that if God had wanted us to know what Jesus did in the intervening years, he would have told us in the New Testament.
John Oakes

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