“Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” Luke 9:9
Herod the tetrarch heard of Jesus of Nazareth. And Herod was neither the first, nor the last, to hear of this particular carpenter. At one point, John Lennon declared that his Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.” Now, fifty years later, Jesus is more famous than ever. And the Beatles enjoy a following among some gray-haired people.
Nonetheless: The Lion of Judah, the eternal creative Wisdom made flesh, did not always enjoy fame. He grew up and lived His early-adult life as a common man. The annals of history remain silent regarding the better part of God’s earthly life.
We call this “the mystery of Christ’s hidden life.” He grew up in a nondescript household, like countless other people have done. He came of age, and began a hard-working life, in an isolated corner of the world, like countless other people have done. He quietly buried the father who had raised him, like countless other people have done.
Of all these events in the life of the incarnate God, the saying of the dark-browed author of Ecclesiastes is verified: “There is no remembrance of the men of old; nor of those to come will there be any remembrance among those who come after them.”
Qoheleth, after all, has it right. History, for the most part, gapes open in an enormous, ponderous silence. In the grand scheme of things, only a short period of time separates us right now from the moment when the memory of our names has vanished altogether from the earth, and our weather-beaten tombstones lay in the mud, overtaken by weeds, above our unvisited graves.
Who was Mark White, of Washington, D.C.? Who was Francis Xavier DiLorenzo, of Philadelphia, PA? Who was Kirk Cousins of Barrington, IL? And the only the answer the earth can make will be:
Just like the only answer the earth has to the question, What did Jesus do when He turned 15? or 21? or 29?
Grim, you say? The sound of wind rustling the grass over the unmarked graves that cover the face of the earth? No, no. We rejoice. We rejoice to share in the mystery of Christ the Young Man’s utter hidden-ness. Because we know, as He taught us, that our heavenly Father sees what is hidden.