Sermon: Finding Christ (Luke 2: 41-52)

Click here for sermon audio

Finding Christ

Most every parent knows the panic that shoots through you when you notice one of your children aren’t where they are supposed to be.  Perhaps you’ve been at the mall and let go of the little one’s hand for a second and go to reach for it and neither the hand nor the child is there.  When you have four children like Trippy and I do it becomes even more of a challenge.  I’ve experienced that panic feeling and I’m sure many of you have as well.  If you’re a parent and haven’t experienced that feeling don’t worry, you probably will.  The panic overpowers you because your child is not where he/she is supposed to be.

Here, Luke shows us an account of Jesus when He was twelve years old and his account has a bit of irony included.  By the way, this is the only account we have in the four Gospels of the life of Jesus when He was a boy.  The reason Luke includes this account is to show us that even as a boy Jesus was not ordinary.

Luke has sandwiched this text in between two summary statements that do show that Jesus’ parents Joseph, Jesus’ stepfather, and Mary His mother were completely ordinary.  Jesus, on the other hand is everything but ordinary.

Luke 2:39-40 (ESV)

And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.  [40] And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.

After this section of Scripture we’re going to look at today, we basically read the same thing again.

[51] And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

[52] And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

Between these two summary statements is an amazing account of an extraordinary young Jesus.

Luke, so masterfully shows us that in this missing person account that Jesus was in fact exactly where He should have been and it was Mary and Joseph who were the ones misplaced.

Luke 2:41-52 (ESV)

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.  [42] And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom.  [43] And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it,  [44] but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances,  [45] and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him.  [46] After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.  [47] And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.  [48] And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.”  [49] And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  [50] And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them.  [51] And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

[52] And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

1. Looking for Jesus (Luke 2:44-47)

[44] but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances,  [45] and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him.  [46] After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. [47] And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

They looked everywhere for Jesus.  I can imagine the emptiness in the pit of their stomach as they first discover that He is missing.  Joseph says, I thought He was with you and Mary said, I thought He was with you and they find out He was with neither.  I can’t imagine the three days of frantic searching and asking everyone if they’ve seen a young boy about so tall with such and such color hair and wearing whatever it is He was wearing.  These hours turning into days must have been terrible for this young family.  I’m sure they looked everywhere normal children would possible be.  I’m sure they asked everyone they saw.

Up till now, Jesus did everything good Jewish boys did.  However, this incident marks a transition in Jesus’ growth and maturity.  He was twelve years old and at thirteen, He would be involved in His Bar mitzvah with officially makes a Jewish boy a “Son of the Covenant”.  The Passover prior to his thirteenth year was important in training the twelve-year-old to think more like an adult and less like a child.

This incident was not disobedience on Jesus’ part nor was it to show that Joseph and Mary were irresponsible parents.  It was to show a shift from Jesus obeying His earthly father to obeying His Heavenly Father.

So after looking around everywhere they could think of that a twelve-year-old might be, they finally enter the Temple.  Low and behold there He is… sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

If we’re to understand the scene we must understand a little about the ancient Jewish custom of Q&A.  The method of teaching was to ask the student a question, then the student would answer.  The teacher would rephrase the question or ask another question to the student to find out how well the student assimilated the material.  Don’t miss what’s going on here; remember the teacher asks the questions.  sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. There were two things that especially amazed the teachers: One was the answers Jesus gave them to their questions and second was the questions He asked them.  After this Q & A time the teachers were left scratching their heads as they had never experienced such wisdom from a 12 year old.

In these verses, Luke highlights the wisdom of Christ, the devotion of Christ and the awareness of Christ.  Jesus knew, at age 12, what His purpose was and what He was sent to do.

Kids, what would you have beeen doing if you were left alone for three days?  This is important to see that at age 12, Jesus was responsible.  He could have been doing anything He wanted and He chose to be obedient to His heavenly Father.

I’m reminded of a quote by the Bishop J C Ryle, If you’re old enough to do wrong, you’re old enough to do right.  If you’re old enough to talk, you’re old enough to pray.  If you’re old enough to read, you’re old enough to read the Bible.

2.  Finding Jesus In His Father’s House (Luke 2:48-49)

[48] And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.”  [49] And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

Just as any parent would do when faced with this situation and then when you finally see your child, emotions begin to run together.  You are so relieved and thankful and then you become a little angry.  I don’t know for sure if this is what Joseph and Mary experienced.  It seems by Mary’s reaction that she was experiencing this flood of mixed emotions… Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.”

One think to notice is that Mary says, referring to Joseph, your father. This statement is not a problem.  For all practical reasons, Joseph served as Jesus’ father.  He was His earthly father.

Luke relays the fact that they were both astonished at the sight of Jesus sitting with the temple instructors and discoursing with them.

Then we have the first recorded words from the mouth of our Lord…[49] And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

Mary says, Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.”

Jesus says, Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

Do you see the transition between being concerned with the will of His earthly father, namely Joseph and now being ultimately concerned with the will of His real Father or His heavenly Father.

This point in time for Jesus marked a transition from obeying Joseph to obeying God.

We see from what Luke records of Jesus’ words it is that Jesus was in the right place or the place He should have been.  He wasn’t the One lost.  It was, in fact, Joseph and Mary who were the ones not where they should have been.  They were looking, it seems, everywhere for Jesus and the last place they looked was the first place they should have looked.

Some translations such as the ESV say Father’s House because that is where He was found.  Other translations declare Father’s Business.  Both are really correct and are saying the same thing.  It’s difficult to translate because in the original Greek there is no word following Father.

Literally it says, Did you not know that I must be about Father.

I must in about my Father’s business and In My Father’s house.

What is the business or will of the Father for Jesus?

The Father’s purpose and will for His Son was to be Savior.  It’s the will expressed by the angel when he gave Him the name Jesus.

He will also be, as Gabriel declared, the Son of God.

We see Jesus beginning to fulfill the relationship He has with God.  Jesus is Son and God is Father.

The Father’s business is to show the world that He sent Jesus, His one and only Son and Savior.

John 17:3 (ESV)

And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

The Father’s business is mentioned in John,

John 4:34 (ESV)

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.

What is the work that Jesus was referring to?  Did He accomplish this work or business of the Father?

John 19:30 (ESV)

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Luke shows us that beginning that day in the Temple the wisdom of Christ was increasing.  God was not learning as some skeptics would try and put it but the human Jesus was growing into adulthood and learning along the way.

What was Mary doing in all this?

She got her key out, unlocked her treasure chest, and added another miracle to it.

And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

Joseph and Mary did not understand what was really taking place right before their eyes.  We do understand because we have the entire account and the four Gospels to see the complete life of Jesus while He was on earth.

Mary knew something amazing was unfolding before her.  She treasured and was peaceful as a result of this event.

[52] And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

Where do we find Jesus today?

Should we look to World Religions?  They would tell us that all gods are the same and you can find your god in our religion.  Some look for Him there.

Some believe that they are gods.  Look for the divine that is in each of us, they would say.

Some tell stories of seeing Jesus in dreams and in visions.  They would want us to believe that they found Jesus in some mystic experience.

These people are a lot like Joseph and Mary when they searched for Him every place they could think of except the place they should have.

I would tell you that the only place Jesus can be found is in the pages of Scripture.  It’s there that God has recorded for us the life and death of the Messiah.  It’s there and there alone Jesus can be found.  He’s not within us as some divine force, He’s not found in other religions, He’s not found in visions…He is found in the Bible.

How is it then that a fallen sinful human can find God?  Not only find God but find a merciful God?

Let’s look together at what Jesus says in the Bible…

John 14:1-7 (ESV)

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.  [2] In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  [3] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.  [4] And you know the way to where I am going.”  [5] Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”  [6] Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  [7] If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Do you know this Jesus?  If you want to know what the Father is like look to the Son.  Part of Jesus’ role was to make the Father known throughout the world.  He was about Father.

Have you found Jesus today?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: