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Notes for Epiphany 1 – Luke 2:41-52

by pastorjuhl ~ January 6th, 2010

Blessed Martin Luther
Therefore I have often said and say again, that in the Christian church nothing should be preached but the pure Word of God. With this the Gospel agrees when it says that they did not find the Lord among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. It is therefore wrong to say that we must believe what the councils have decreed, or what Jerome, Augustine and other holy fathers have written. We must point out the place where Christ may be found, which he himself points out when he says that he must be in his Father’s house, which means that he can only be found in the Word of God. We should therefore not believe that our conscience may trust in the teachings of the holy father or derive comfort from them. Now if they say to you: Should we not believe the holy fathers? you may reply: Christ is not found among the kinsfolk and acquaintance. It would indeed be well if Christians generally were to heed this example from the Gospel and  use it as a maxim against every doctrine that does not agree with the Word of God.

However good the church may be, it has never possessed the Spirit in as large a measure as Mary, who although she was led by the Spirit, erred nevertheless, so that we might learn from her experience. If she herself is uncertain, how can you make me certain? Whither should we then go? We must also come into the temple, that is to say we must cling to the Word of God, which is secure and will not fail us and where we will certainly find Christ. I must therefore always be with the Word, if I cleave to it. If the Word of God goes conquering through death and remains alive, I must also pass through death to life, and nothing can hinder or destroy me, neither sin nor death, nor the devil. The comfort and boldness I derive from the Word of God cannot be engendered by any other doctrine, for none can be compared with it.

For everything else with which man comforts himself, however great it may be, is altogether uncertain, and the heart inquires constantly: Who knows whether it is right? if I only were sure about it! etc. But when the heart clings to the Word of God, it may say without any wavering: This is the Word of God, which can not lie nor err, of this I am certain. And this is our greatest struggle that we keep and hold firmly to the Word; for if that is taken from the heart, man is lost.

This is a unique situation in which the child Jesus, our dear Lord God, wishes to let it be known that He was not subject to His mother by necessity or authority; for what He did was done freely and with good intentions to show He was not under obligation. For He was not only His mother’s son, but also her Lord and God. Therefore, He stands before His mother here not as a son… So here also He shows Himself to be not only a human who, of  necessity, must be obedient to father and mother, but very plainly as one who has another Father who is greater and commands greater respect than Mary and Joseph.

One of the products of our depraved nature is that in our ignorance and blindness we are much more inclined to serve men rather than God. Therefore, we should learn from this example of our dear Lord Jesus that if a situation arises where we must choose whether to be disobedient to God or to our parents, or those in authority, we must answer with Christ: “I must be about the business of my Father in heaven.” Other than in such a case, I will with all my heart, be obedient to father, mother, emperor, king, lord and lady of the house. But in this instance there is no other way than this: Dear father and mother, I have another Father to whom I owe greater esteem than to you. this is what Mary and Joseph had forgotten; therefore, He had to remind them and teach them.

“He was subject to His parents.” With these words the Evangelist summarizes the entire youth of our dear Lord Jesus Christ.

It is very evident that Jesus did not enter a monastery and become a monk, but went back to Nazareth, remained among the people, was obedient to father and mother, and, like other children, permitted Himself to be directed, but never transgressed the Ten Commandments.

Blessed Johann Gerhard
When Christ is hidden from our eyes amidst such great anxieties and appears to have been lost, it has to be endured with patience for those ‘three days’, i.e., waiting for a short time, and cling to the Word and zealously seek Him in prayer. Thus He will finally be found in the City of God – in  His Word. If, however, He has been lost in actuality through apostasy, unbelief, and godlessness, He can be found again in no other way than through a turning back [conversion] to the heavenly Jerusalem through true, sincere repentance.

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