Jesus was never an adolescent.

We can often find comfort in knowing that Jesus went through the kinds of things we go through.  He faced temptation, betrayal, gossip, and the like.  This time of year, I also remember, and usually remind my congregation, that Jesus also faced such things as dirty diapers and nights when sleep didn’t come so easy.

There is, however, one thing that we all face, or have faced, that Jesus didn’t.

Jesus was never an adolescent.

This is because adolescence is a cultural construct.  it is the time between physiological maturity and culturally recognized maturity.

In Jesus’ day, puberty was later and recognition as an adult came earlier.  In fact, the bar and bat mitzvah, traditionally held at 13 for boys and 12 for girls, often preceded pubescence in Jesus’ time.  Since Bar and bat mitzvahs were their coming of age rituals, afterwards those honored were recognized as adults.

Today, when in the US is a young person recognized as an adult?  When they can drive (16)?  When they can vote (18)? When they can drink alcohol (21)?  (Adolescence would be difficult enough even if we had a specific age at which one became an adult.  We string them along for at least a decade.)

So take it easy on adolescents.  They are going through something even Jesus never had to face!

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