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We know from scripture that Jesus’ purpose was determined before the world was formed.  1 Peter 1:20 tells us the Lord, “was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.”  Also, in Ephesians 3:11 we read, “According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We also know that when Jesus was praying to God the Father in John 17:5, He prayed “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”  From this we know that Jesus remembered the time prior to coming into the world as a man.

Your question is an interesting question because it relates to the fact that although Jesus was God the Son, He was also a man.  His eternal deity is known from John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” which was a direct reference to the Lord Jesus.  How young was He when He knew that His purpose was to die as the redeemer?  When His cousin, John the Baptist saw Him at the start of His ministry at the age of 30, John said in John 1:29, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”  This indicates that John the Baptist understood that Jesus was coming to redeem all that would believe in Him.

The earliest reference that we have to the Lord Jesus having knowledge and teaching was at the age of 12 in Luke 2:46-47, “Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.  And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.”  The book of Isaiah would have been well known to Jesus at this age and He would have been familiar with the passages in chapter 53 that clearly foretold the suffering of Christ.  Isaiah 53:5 says “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.”  Jesus could have learned at an early age from scripture that He would die a death that was one of crucifixion.

In Luke 2:52, we read, “And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”  This indicates that although He was God, He still grew physically and in His knowledge and wisdom during this time, so He would have continued to understand His purpose at a young age.

The scripture would indicate that He knew early on that His purpose on this earth was to glorify His heavenly Father, and He did this in His ministry but also in complete obedience to His Father.   We do not know how early, but we do read that Jesus could amaze with His answers at the age of 12.

Your second question, “How would a young man handle that information?” is difficult for us to answer on a human level, but with Jesus we know that He remained in subjection to His earthy family, but did the will of His Heavenly Father.  So we read of Christ in Hebrews 12:2, “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  It can be seen from scripture that He knew what was in His future and so could suffer during His time on earth.  So it should be for a Christian today.  (97.3)