The infancy and youth of Jesus are summed up in just a few short verses. Matthew 2 and Luke 2:39-52 tells us what happened to Jesus from birth until 12-years-old; scripture is silent on the remaining years until He begins His ministry at around age 30.
Today I read two familiar stories: the wise men’s visit, and Jesus’ visit to the Temple at age 12, when He gets caught up in theological conversations with the teachers and his family forgets to take him home! We get a little insight in that story that Jesus already was aware of His mission and purpose, and who He really was, the Son of God, even at that age. He responds to his parent’s concern with the question, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49) He was already working on His Father’s behalf.
If Jesus knew who He was, most certainly His enemy, Satan, knew who He was. We see this in Herod’s madness and paranoia when he demanded that all male children under two years of age be slaughtered in Bethlehem. The wise men had informed him of the Jewish prophecies, that a king had been born. Ever protective of his position, Herod was known for firing off orders to kill, even those closest to him. He had three of his own sons killed, as well as his favorite wife. When he knew that he was dying, he gave orders to round up many Jewish officials and have them killed at the time of his death so that the city would be in mourning; he knew the Jews would be celebrating his death, and this offended him. Issuing an order to kill babies was certainly in his character.
Satan and his ranks of fallen angels (now demonic spirits) are on high alert since Jesus entered the world. For the next 30 years, he will do his best to kill the Savior, and when Jesus does indeed give His life on the cross, Satan will rejoice. The collateral damage of a dozen innocent babies during the first attempt on Jesus’ life meant nothing to him (Bethlehem was a small town of less than 600 at this time). Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10), and as we well know, babies are fair game to the father of evil.
Salvation comes only as a result of great spiritual warfare. Jesus’ is right in the center of it all, and we know who wins. That spiritual battle is still raging for the hearts and minds of people every day. If you are a Christ-follower, a spiritual conquest had to be won. People prayed for you. People shared the gospel with you. The Holy Spirit of God spoke to your heart. The enemy’s lies and deception had to be defeated.
If you do not yet belong to Christ, know that you are surrounded by spiritual warfare. Two truths: Jesus came to rescue you and Satan desires to destroy you. Who will you believe? Who will you serve?