“An Awesome Responsibility”

Notes on message brought on 6 March 2010  by John MacDiarmid

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“An Awesome Responsibility”

Luke 2 v 40-52

We last saw Mary and Joseph as they brought the infant Jesus into the temple. Now, twelve years later they are back in the same place. This is the only passage we have in the word of God that tells us anything about the childhood of Jesus.

1. The Dutiful Couple

When it was time to circumcise Jesus, Mary and Joseph brought him to the temple. When it was time for them to be purified after his birth, they fulfilled their obligation. And during his childhood, every year they journeyed to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Whilst we know little about their family life it is clear that Jesus was raised in a home where spiritual obligations were taken seriously. Is that true of our homes and our lives? Do we model the kind of lives that we  want young people to emulate?

2. The Hidden years

From infancy to the age of 30 we know very little about the life of Jesus. Whilst we have to avoid reading too much into silences in the word of God, it is fair to point out that much of life is unspectacular, lived in obscurity and away from the public gaze. God is every bit as much at work in obscurity as he is in a public figure. And most importantly in the case of Jesus the Father is preparing His Son for the day when he will be revealed to the world. In quiet seasons God is doing a work that only He knows about.

3. The Famous Incident

We now come to the famous incident in the life of Jesus that we all know about. It is a classic “home alone” incident that happens, not because Jesus was being naughty, and not because Mary and Joseph were remiss – but simply because things go wrong! Let’s take heart that in every home things can and do go wrong. Jesus shares in our humanity in every way except sin.

When the anxious parents realise that Jesus is missing they hurry back to Jerusalem and spend some time looking for him. When they find him we have a gentle rebuke from Jesus: “Didn’t you realise that I had to be in my Father’s house”. In other words – “why were you looking everywhere for me? Where did you think I would be?”. When people come looking for us, and when God comes looking for us, will he find us in  our Father’s house, and about our Father’s business? And let’s not limit being in our Father’s house to our church activities. As Paul says “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart”. We serve the Lord in all we do. Are we found every day about our Father’s business?

4. The Long Haul

Bringing up children is not a short term project, for parents or for churches.  In verse 52 we have a ready made parenting course:

“wisdom” – not just knowledge but the application of knowledge. Wisdom comes from God

“stature” – Jesus grew physically and we need to see that children and young people have all they need to grow up healthily to make wise choices about their lives.

“in favour with man” – Jesus learned to deal with humans beings to care for them and to empathise with them . Do we model that in our homes and in our church?

“in favour with God” Jesus had to learn spiritual disciplines exactly the same as any other young Jewish man

These are behaviours that have to be learned by everyone – Jesus included. Do we  see that they are  in our lives and in our church? And do we make it our highest priority to ask God and to work with God to see that they are instilled into the next generation so that Gods kingdom will prosper in days to come?

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