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Divine Service - Twelve Year Old Jesus

Sermon Notes

Epiphany 1

Mary said, “Son, why have your treated us so?  Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.”  And Jesus said to Joseph and Mary, ”Why were you searching for Me?  Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?”  Luke 2:49-50.

Grace and mercy to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  (Amen)

Only one account of Jesus’ childhood is given to us by Luke the Evangelist.  He had met with Mary in preparation to write his Gospel (Luke 1:1-4) and of all the stories that could have been told, we have received one from Jesus’ childhood.  It must be important.

You heard the Biblical account.  The holy family attended the Passover annually along with relatives.  They travelled as a small caravan in which all the adults looked after all the kids.  They went to the temple.  Offered their lambs.  Received forgiveness.  Packed up and went home.  Except Jesus.

Jesus was lost for three days.  Joseph and Mary searched for Jesus and finally found Him in the temple listening and questioning the teachers who were astounded with this young man’s understanding of the Scriptures.

“Son, why have you treated us to?” Mary asks Jesus.

Mary is correct to call Jesus her Son.  But this Virgin Mary is amiss to call Joseph His father. 

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

Joseph is Jesus’ adoptive father.  True.  But Jesus is begotten of the heavenly Farther from eternity and conceived by the Holy Spirit.  And if Jesus is begotten of the heavenly Father and not Joseph then Jesus is even more than a twelve year old boy.  Jesus is also God.

Truth is – no one is searching for God.  St. Paul states in Romans 3 that “no one searches for God, all have turned aside; no one searches for God, all have become worthless.”  Harsh words for sure.  But even Joseph and Mary were not searching for God.  Joseph and Mary were only searching for their boy.

Truth is – you do not search for God either.  You have turned aside.  Your have become worthless in the eyes of God.  To this Jesus has something to say, if you are searching for God then don’t go searching for Jesus.  Joseph and Mary sought after Jesus rather than God.  Joseph and Mary did not recognize Jesus to be God. 

Only Jesus is searching for His Father.  He is growing in wisdom from the Holy Scriptures.  Jesus is growing in stature among among men from the Holy Scriptures.

Holy Scripture is written that we might know that Jesus is the Son of God, begotten of the Father from eternity and born of the Virgin Mary.  He is the Lord.  Your Savior.

It is written in Luke that Gabriel the archangel was sent to Mary implanting that life giving Seed in Mary’s ears saying, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.”

It is written in Matthew that an angel was sent to speak to Joseph.  The angel said, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”  This was to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah (7:14).

Joseph and Mary would need to search the Scriptures themselves for the Lord to remind them of what he said.  You need to search the Scriptures and hear again and again what the Lord is doing for you.

Jesus went to His Father’s old house (the Jerusalem Temple) to prepare for becoming the new temple.  About twenty years later, Jesus returned to the old temple to be the holy sacrifice acceptable to God so that His mom and stepdad would not perish for eternity.  Jesus returned to the old temple to do the work that had to be done so that no one would perish, including you.

For as you search the Holy Scriptures, your heavenly Father finds you.  The Bible is the instrument through which the Father searches for and finds you.  For those who want to find Jesus but also for those who want to find God, both will be revealed to you in the Holy Scriptures.  Search them daily.  You heavenly Father will find you and keep you for the sake of Jesus Christ who did the work to make you His new temple.  The Lord makes you holy in order to dwell with you.  The Lord makes you righteous to come to you.  The Lord adopts you and will never lose you.