I've forgotten what I was reading or thinking about that started me thinking about Christ and his short life-span. If he had somehow kept out of his enemies' way, could he have lived another decade or two or three? Did he really have to die at 33 or could he have died later?
The haunting question is what if Christ had lived out his life and died of old age but then would have been resurrected? He could still have felt the awful separation that sin causes between him, our substitute, and God. Is there something about a 33 year old younger man that an 85 or 90 year old Christ could not have contributed to our salvation?
One problem would be his post-resurrection body. It would presumably be a younger Christ that rises from the grave. Or it could very well be a very healthy and glorified octogenarian Christ, so his disciples could visibly recognize that it was the same Christ that was raised from the dead.
I meditate on this alternate history of Christ because of a suggestion by John Wood (Atlantic Union College) that Christ did not necessarily have to die on the cross. He could very well have been sacrificed by the high priest on the altar as Isaac almost was sacrificed by Abraham.
Thinking about the aging of Christ started me thinking about what it must have been like for Christ to get a cold, or a fractured leg, or other human ailments that come to human beings from time to time. Christ did, in fact, age, since he didn't stay forever 21 or whatever age is the standard before visible signs of aging begin. Some say we start aging when we are born.
How odd to think of the God-man, Christ, aging and perhaps acquiring one or two wrinkles around the eyes before he reached the ripe old age of 33. Christ, I love you, wrinkles and all.
Imagine if you will though, a 21 year old Christ dying for humanity. Even better yet, imagine the horror if, by some stroke of madness, the teachers in the temple had offered up a living, 12 year old Christ as the sacrifice that would also have saved all of humanity.