Jesus’ birth fulfills the carefully prepared prophecies given hundreds of years before. The events surrounding pregnancy and childbirth accompanied by inspired declarations of the greater context in which Jesus’ rite of passage is taking place —
“He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” – Luke 1:32-33
The rites of circumcision and naming combined on the eighth day after birth. The name given is that proposed by an angel before the child was even conceived – Jesus.
Soon after these first rites, Jesus, as the first-born male – taken to the Temple at Jerusalem by his parents and presented to the Lord.
When He is twelve, another change of status takes place for Jesus. The parents realize that another Father has first call on Jesus’ life.
Baptism marks the next great rite of passage. The Baptist’s testimony is that Jesus is not simply son of Joseph, or son of Mary, but truly Son of God.
The public ministry of Jesus begins after His baptism in the River Jordan. Jesus fasts – He fights with Satan – fed by angels.
Jesus does not know human marriage.
Jesus’ death is the rite of passage most prominent in the in the four gospels. In the agony, Jesus scorns the shame, looking beyond it to the joy lying ahead.
In the resurrection, Jesus passes through death to a new kind of living. He has a recognizable body, but it is not subject to the constraints of this world – fitted for life in a larger context.
Ascension of Jesus is the final rite of passage described in the Gospels. This rite underlines the disciples conviction – Jesus Christ is Lord!
The rites of passage in Jesus’ experience show the realities of the world in which He humbles Himself, takes on the form of man, gives Himself to death and raised to new life. Beyond a temporary reprieve, beyond a mere warding off vulnerability, Jesus of Nazareth actually becomes weakness, vulnerability, sin and the devil’s plaything. Through costly drama of His own rites of passage, Jesus secures a release from satanic bondage for frail human beings —
“But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.” – 1 John 3:8