Fourth Commandment Keeping Boy Jesus
Midweek Lent 5
25 March 2015
Catechetical Sermon Series: The Ten Commandments
+ Jesu Juva +
Luke 2:41-52/ Fourth Commandment
Seriously? The boy Jesus actually does what? It’s unbelievable! Unheard of! Generally speaking. The text says: “He went down to Nazareth with them [Joseph and Mary] and was obedient to them.” Twelve-year-old children don’t do that! Do you know any? Obedience is a fighting word for kids. After all, children chronically complain about “parental privilege” in which Dads and Moms overbearingly control lives and impede children from reaching their potential. That’s just spin for: “Parents don’t let us do whatever we kids want and we kids are not going to take it anymore!” Lawyers are at the beck and call to help kids take their parents to court and sue their parents.
Obedience to parental authority is unheard of with most kids, let alone tweeners. When parents exercise everyday, garden variety parental authority and expect simple and expected obedience with a simple request like, “make your bed,” “clean your room” or “take out the trash,” the eyes roll to the back of the head, fingers are poked in the ears, a condescending tone of voice leaks out, gobs of back talk erupt, a little kicking, some screaming, a tantrum or two, slamming a few doors and perhaps a fist gets put through the wall. The cherry on top is the vociferous and earsplitting: “I hate you!”
But with Jesus – TWELVE-YEAR-OLD JESUS – none of that! He does the exact opposite. He willingly and without hesitation obeys His parental units — Mary His mother and Joseph His stepfather. He keeps the Fourth Commandment. Not because He has to but because He wants to.
Speaking of the Fourth Commandment you remember how it goes, don’t you? Sure you do. “Honor your father and your mother.” Bingo! You are to “honor” Dad and Mom. “Honor.” Honor your parental units? Yes! Absolutely! “Honor.” That’s a big word. It’s as if God is at work or something through father and mother. Newsflash! HE IS!
Parents are God’s representatives in the family. Dad and Mom are God’s masks behind which God hiddenly yet really does His miraculous life giving and life sustaining work for your sake. Dad and Mom are God’s hands and mouth in the home for you. God is at work in your little world through them – FOR YOU.
Tell me. How did God create you? Did He snap His fingers and say abracadabra and POOF you appeared? No. God created you through the physical, real-life bodies of your parents. I know that sounds really gross kids and you don’t ever want to think about such things, but it’s absolutely true. This is how God rolls to borrow a phrase from Florida Georgia Line! He makes creatures through His creatures. He sustains your life through the sweat, hard work and sleep-deprived bodies of your parents.
So, God gives the commandment: “Honor your father and your mother.” This means that you are to fear and love God so that you do not anger or despise your parents or other authorities like your teachers, coaches, principal, pastor, or police but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.
Whether you like it or not God gives you parents and other authorities in your life. Regardless of how you feel about it, God established parenting as the most important relationship there is in life and on this earth.
Consequently, you are given to honor the office of parenthood regardless of who is in that office. That is another faithful biblical, Lutheran teaching. It’s this: God first makes the office, then puts people in the office and gives it the highest place in life. God peoples it! He fills the office of parent with your very specific and your very unique father and mother!
However, here’s the catch-22. The first thing that kids begin to notice is that parents are bizarre, odd or peculiar. They always act a little creepy. “Strange” is a better way to describe your parental units, right? Sure.
After all, Dad and Mom are not like everyone else you meet in the world. Dad and Mom always seem to embarrass the you-know-what out of you! You go out to eat or you go to the mall and you really don’t want to be seen with them. You don’t want to listen to them, love them, obey them, let alone HONOR them in their office of parent. So you need to repent! Seriously you do!
You also need to learn to forgive your parents. Newsflash! Your parents are not perfect people! They are sinners just like you. Dad and Mom blow it all the time in their vocation of parenthood in every stage of life as they parent. Lots of times parents are not the people they are supposed to be according to God’s will. It’s called sin. No brainer, right? You bet!
Parents, if you haven’t noticed this by now I’ll let you in on a little secret. Your kids have, what I call, parental crap detectors. Your kids can sniff out a big parental sin and it is not your eccentricities or idiosyncrasies. Your kids zero in like lasers on your parental hypocrisy. They notice that what you say as a parent is not what you do as a parent! “Do as I say not as I do,” is a disastrous way to parent. And your kids can see this as plain as day. Then they begin to resent you, lose respect for you, and … dishonor you as you violate your office of parent.
In the rough and tumble of everyday life in the family, tempers flare. Nasty words are exchanged. Hands become fists. If looks could kill…. There’s a ton of hurt. A few sins that a parent or parents commit against you can be quite gruesome or monstrous and in the world’s eyes are quite unforgiveable. Forgiving parents for their sin(s) against you is not easy. In fact, it’s probably the hardest thing in the world for a sinned-against child to do, especially when you’re older.
So every day you are to battle against your sinful natures, the world and the devil that always want to drive wedges between children and parents. To ruin and destroy the family. To allow sin to fester, boil and remain foreverly unforgiven.
Who’s the odd man or dare I say “boy” out in all of this unforgiveness? Jesus! That’s who! So it’s time to use Jesus – twelve-year old obedient Jesus and thirty-three-year old Good Friday Jesus properly. The precise and exact way that He wants you to have good and beneficial use of Him. Use Him as the Savior that He is.
As your Savior He purposely kept the Fourth Commandment and all the commandments perfectly in your place. What you ought to do but couldn’t, HE DID! Flawlessly. Totally righteous He is! But not for Himself. His obedience is FOR YOU! It counts as yours before God!
And more! Hanging on the cross, He allows the law to accuse and attack him with all its might because He willingly bears all your sin in His body. He takes your bad. All of it. Therefore, the law’s indictments, blame, and charges against you have all been exhausted on Jesus. Including God’s wrath. Jesus even experienced that too on the cross FOR YOU.
What all this means very simply is that you ARE FORGIVEN! Totally! Completely. With Jesus’ divine Good Friday earned forgiveness. Absolved for all the bad you’ve done and given to your parents and other authorities. Pardoned for all the bad your parents and other authorities have done to you.
He would do that? For you? Absolutely. Let me tell you again. Categorically. Emphatically. In the stead and by the command of Jesus I forgive you all your sin in the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Now what? Well, as Jesus has forgiven you so now He generously uses you to forgive each other just as freely and as abundantly. Or as some might say — just as “recklessly.” Putting Jesus to good use in your life and other lives as well. Using His divine blood to cover and cleanse your sin as well as the sin that’s committed against you. Children forgiving parents. Parents forgiving children.
Fearing and loving God so that you do not anger or despise your parents or other authorities but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them. That’s what you want to do, don’t you? Of course you do. That’s the Lord’s good use for you.
Happy doing just that and God bless you in it!
In the Name of Jesus.