Paul, writing to the Romans in around 55 AD says in the second chapter of his epistle, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” This verse and the context of this verse does not apply directly to the subject of this paper, but Paul communicated to the Roman Christians that God is RICH in patience. I am usually the one to over read those key adjectives and disregard them, but it has been made clearer to me that every single letter in the Word must be taken in high regard. Therefore, it is made clear in this verse, and many others (Romans 9:22, Galatians 5:22, 1 Timothy 1:16) that God’s supply of patience is rich and unlimited! What a thought! Since I am not rich in terms of money, the concept of being ‘rich’ does not register well with me. Yes, I am blessed and have more than what I need to survive, but I am by no means ‘rich’ regarding this culture; but when I look at others for examples – such as Bill Gates, lottery winners and other of that sort, the meaning of rich becomes clearer. They have attained so much wealth that they live carefree and host massive parties and get-togethers without even nicking their back accounts. Now, that example is infinitely inferior to God’s patience, but when I use that example, it makes a little more sense that it did before.
Another verse that I would like to mention, but not exactly expound upon is 1st Timothy 1:16 which I listed above. As I was researching ‘patience’, I ran across this verse. I have read this verse many times, but this time I really looked deep into the sentence and took it for what it said, “But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.” Wow, just wow. UNLIMITED patience! Wow, that blows my mind. That verse will give context to the rest of my paper.
Let us now, through the paradigm of 1st Timothy 1:16, at the years of Jesus that we do not know of: from age 12 to age 30. We have no information regarding Jesus’ life in a specific form in Scripture – none at all. We have ideas of what could have happened and the events that He partook of from researching ancient Jewish culture, but in regards to Scripture we are left on a treasure hunt. It says that Jesus, in Luke 2:40, that, “the child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him.” That and the little tid-bit we have from Jesus’ incident at the Temple are all we have concerning His youth and young adult life. So where does patience come into this? Good question, and let us dive into this subject at a whole new level!
Jesus is God, as prophesied from Isaiah 9:6 (Mighty God, everlasting Father). He claimed to be God (John 8:58) and others called Him God as well (John 20:28, Matthew 16:16). Therefore, Jesus had the attributes of God in His Deity. He was fully human, but He was/still/will be FULLY God as well (Hebrews 13:8). This means that Jesus had the riches and the unlimited supply of patience just as God did. Let us explore those mysterious years of His life and let us brag on Jesus from His demonstration of being patient.
Jesus lived thirty years in obscurity as a human in the poorest region in Israel. He, as God, had every right to come out of His situation as a poor carpenter and begin to preach the Kingdom at a very early age – even the moment He was born. However, He decided that He would bare the brunt of humanity and its laws (that He designed) and to be ruled by them. In His patience, He waited thirty years before He began His ministry. We think all we need is four years of Bible school and we are ready to rock and roll. He had a different plan. He would wait and exercise patience for the Holy Spirit to endue Him with power and to call Him out from His obscurity into His ministry. Not only that, but as we look into that situation, we are once again blown away. We think that once we get the audible voice calling, THEN we start. However, Jesus was then driven into the wilderness for yet ANOTHER time of waiting. This time, an extra forty days – but He is embracing fasting this time as well. He is then released into ministry after that period.
That completely stuns me that God would have the patience to wait for that long before His own mission would begin. That God would wait 30 whole years before telling people about Him and about His ways. I know I am not going to great detail on these points, but I am just giving evidence in Scripture for the patience of God.
Another example, which again blows my mind, is that He does not openly tell others (until John 8, for example) that He is God. He waits (patiently) until the Holy Spirit downloads the revelation to people that He is speaking to.
These are just a few examples of the patience of Jesus that blow my mind. It is clear throughout the entirety of Scripture (even when Jesus appears as the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament) that God is patient. Not that He is part patient, but FULLY patient. The entirety of His being is patient. That goes for love and other attributes of His as well.
James says, in his letter to the scattered twelve tribes of Israel, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.” This means that Jesus was the same way. Jesus is patient even in the affairs of others, concerning listen and speaking! WOAH!