THE PARTING OF THE WAYS
The second watershed in the mission of the Christ was reached when, emerging from the long silence and seclusion of Nazareth, He faced the brief period of speech and service, culminating in His Cross. That crisis is marked by His baptism in the river of Jordan. Concerning the thirty years, practically no details are given. A few brief statements constitute the record of this period. These statements reveal the principles of His life, and a bare statement of facts, quite sufficient for an understanding of all that is of value. They were years of seclusion and privacy.
The Gospel narratives give a much fuller account of the three years of public ministry.
Between these periods, the baptism in Jordan stands, at once dividing and uniting them. An understanding of the meaning of that ceremony, in the case of Jesus, will be gained by contemplation of the thirty years and of the three. The order of the present article then is that of considering, first, the thirty years of private life; secondly, the three years of public ministry; and lastly, the ceremony coming between the two periods.