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Epiphany 1 – Luke 2:41-52

by pastorjuhl ~ January 6th, 2011

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit

They seek Him here, they seek Him there, Mary and Joseph seek Him everywhere. Is He at the market? Is He with others? Where is that elusive twelve-year-old Boy?

You were taught from God’s Word and in Luther’s Small Catechism, that Jesus is where He told the Twelve He would be. Jesus tells them to preach the Gospel, baptize, and teach everything that He has commanded them. Saint Paul adds the Words of Institution in First Corinthians to the earliest so-called “mission statement” of the Christian Church in Acts chapter two. [The disciples of Jesus] continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Pastors preach and teach until they are blue in the face about where Jesus may be found. Still you go seeking Him elsewhere. The La-Z-Boy company doesn’t have Him. Neither do manufacturers of sporting goods. There is no Jesus store at the mall. Sony, makers of high quality televisions, doesn’t have Jesus. You may think they do because so many others you know stay home on Sunday and watch church services at home. It’s one thing to watch church services on TV at home because you are unable to come to church because of health. It’s another thing to be perfectly healthy and yet receive spiritual sustenance from an LCD or LED display screen.

Nowhere in Scripture does the Word say that mass media is a means of grace. Preaching is a means of grace. Preaching normally happens in a church building. You go to church to hear the Word of the Lord. You go to church to receive the Lord’s Supper. You go to church for Holy Absolution. Megawatts of effective radiated power are not means of grace. The brain’s ability to think and speak is not means of grace. Every excuse you can think of short of sickness or permanent inability to come to God’s House will not suffice.

After seeking the Savior, the hard part is finding Him. There are many houses of worship that say the Savior lives there. The one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church has Him. Nevertheless, if anyone calls himself a teacher, but does not teach Jesus Christ and Him crucified, he is a teacher only in name and Jesus, the very Word of God and the Wisdom that comes from above, is not there. Those teachers can make you feel good. Those churches may have the kind of music you like. Those people may be the friendliest folks you’ve ever met. If that church teaches another Gospel that is not the Gospel you received from your training in God’s Word, they are condemned to hell with no hope of salvation. Saint Paul tells the Galatian Christians that even if an angel appeared among them and preached another Gospel, that angel is condemned to hell with no hope of salvation.

You see how important it is to seek Jesus Christ where He is found and, when finding Him, to cling to Him steadfastly amid the many fads that find their way into Christ’s Church. When Mary and Joseph find Jesus, Mary asks Him, Son, why have You done this to us? Look, your father and I have sought You anxiously. And Jesus said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business? Luke tells us that they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them…. [B]ut His mother kept all these things in her heart. It won’t be long before things begin to click with Mary. By the time she goes to Cana for a big wedding she will start to see the big picture. That is for next week, God willing. This week Jesus is about His Father’s business, asking questions to the teachers in order to teach them.

Scripture never tells us what Jesus asked the teachers. Perhaps He taught them that Messiah has come to the temple once again and now dwells among them as a young child. We’ll never know this side of heaven. Nevertheless, Jesus dwells in His Father’s House, this time in the flesh rather than in a cloud as He did in 1 Kings chapter eight. The temple was completed and the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the Most Holy Place. When the priests departed the Holy Place, a cloud descended on the Temple. The Lord dwelled among His people, but veiled in the Most Holy Place and only accessed once a year on the Day of Atonement.

When Jesus Christ gives up His spirit on Calvary’s cross, the Temple curtain separating the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place was torn in two. What was in shadow and darkness and cloud is now clearly seen. Jesus has made the proper and necessary sacrifice for sin. This was supposed to be what was taught in the Temple. We see in Scripture where Jesus doesn’t have much regard for what was taught there or for what was done there. Business as usual as the Jews knew it at the Temple was about to change.

The Temple now has flesh and blood. The Temple of the Body of the Lord went missing, so to speak, for three days some 21 years after today’s Holy Gospel. The Word of the Lord dwelled in a tomb, dead and buried after His crucifixion. Women sought Him after the Passover Sabbath and found an empty tomb. Jesus was alive! He lives in order that they, and you, who believe in the Son of God, will live too. The mystery of faith first proclaimed to Jews now is proclaimed to Gentiles. This is our heavenly Father’s business: to save many people alive regardless of race or color.

The mystery of the Gospel still confounds seekers today. For some the Gospel is too good to be true. For others the Gospel is too difficult to believe. For those who are being saved the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. The Wisdom of the Law once taught in the Temple and in synagogues is now proclaimed around the world as Wisdom that makes one wise unto salvation. Seek the Lord while He may be found. Look no farther than where He told Mary and Joseph He would be: in His Father’s House about His Father’s business.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit

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