Jesus lived 33 years as the vulnerable flesh and blood Christ and into those 33 years He packed a temporal life that divided all of human history into BC and AD - changed the status of human beings now and eternally - and made our temporal lives eternal. In Jesus Christ, it is truly as we pray in that post-Communion prayer on Communion Sundays – “Almighty God, You gave us Your Son both as a Sacrifice for sin and a Model of the godly life. Enable us to receive Him always with thanksgiving and to conform our lives to His.”
The Christmas Season must always leave us with a question. What does this Baby in a manger and this Man suffering and dying on the cross and rising from the dead have to do with us? It’s personal.
Where do I go from Christmas?
Our text this morning is the only one in The Gospel of Jesus Christ that describes the years between Jesus’ birth and His baptism at age 30. It is the text in which Jesus “summons other young men and women to join Him….”¹
But it is also a text in which Jesus calls all of us to follow Him through all the temporal years of our lives. Our eternal relationship with Jesus Christ begins the day we believe and are baptized. Accepting Jesus Christ as our ticket to Eternal Salvation involves following Him all our temporal years as well.
Now Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of Passover. The very first verse of our text shows us the lifestyle of Jesus and His earthly parents — a temporal life-long journey which at any age remembers and celebrates our relationship with God.
And when Jesus was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to their custom. It was an occasion involving their entire family, most of the local religious community, and even relatives and close friends from neighboring Galilean villages.
Nazareth itself was a village of about 50 to 100 people. Most of them were related to each other in one way or another. When they went to Jerusalem for Passover, they traveled together for safety and for social and religious reasons. For three days, they shared food together - had long animated discussions in little moving groups - sang Psalms together – and remembered and discussed Scripture together – going up to Jerusalem.
Then at the end of their stay in the Holy City, all the families came together with their neighbors for a similar three-day journey home.
And when Jesus was twelve, as they were returning, The Boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing Him to be in the company, they went a day’s journey...
Today, we may be puzzled by parents who could travel a full day’s journey toward home before realizing their 12-year-old son was not with them. Twenty centuries ago, when entire villages traveled together for Passover in Jerusalem, family members moved freely from one neighbor family to another. A lad in the Nazareth group might even spend time with friends or relatives in groups from other nearby villages … and they sought Jesus among their kinsfolk and acquaintances. Toward evening of the first day, Mary and Joseph were shocked to find that Jesus was not with anyone in any of the groups.
And when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.
After three days they found Him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them, and asking questions. In the Temple, there were the teachers — rabbis visiting from synagogues throughout the world and the most brilliant and most famous Jerusalem rabbis - rabbis whose students followed them wherever they went seeking answers from these men of such learning and experience.
We began to look at today’s text with some thoughts about God’s Call for our youth. Then, in Mary and Joseph, we found a model of God's call for our families. As Jesus sits among the elder rabbis in the Temple, we are reminded of how much God wants our senior years as well. In most Christian and other cultures, senior citizens have had a most respected place in the community. With their experience and God-given maturity Christian elders are called by God to be one of God’s most important resources in Christ’s Church.
When His parents saw Jesus, they were astonished, and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us so? Behold, Your father and I have been looking for You anxiously.”
In our modern translations, Jesus’ answer to His mother is translated from the Greek in two ways. In the Revised Standard Version, Jesus says, “Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s House?” and in the King James Version,“Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” The original Greek text says “Did you not know that I must be about that which is of My Father?”
Someone might well have asked some twenty years later what is Jesus doing suffering and dying on the cross. The answer would be the same. “Did you not know that I must be about that which is of My Father?”
Others might well have asked what is Jesus doing on the third day of His entombment rising from the dead. Still, the answer is “Did you not know I must be about that which is of My Father?”
Six days ago - on Christmas Eve - we celebrated God's arrival as the vulnerable flesh and blood Christ – God’s only begotten Son.
In our text this morning, we see that Son at age 12 - in His Father's House going about His Father’s Business busy about that which is of His Father?”. We see Jesus as the vulnerable flesh and blood Christ going about that which is of His Father - even though it will take Him through the cross for our Salvation.
Where do we go from Christmas? God calls us to journey through these temporal years in the nurture and admonition of The Lord - going about that which is of Jesus. “However long or short, having given Him our years, when death makes his capricious attack the Lord of the cross and the empty tomb will set us on our feet again and put us to work in the imperishable sectors of His eternal Kingdom.”¹
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSES ALL HUMAN UNDERSTANDING KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS — OUR CRUCIFIED AND RISEN LORD AND SAVIOUR. AMEN.
First Sunday After Christmas
December 30, 2018
Dr. Kurt Borows
Pastor, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Catawba Island, Port Clinton, Ohio
February 26, 1961 worship bulletin. Augsburg Publishing House.