His Obedience Is FOR YOU!
Second Sunday after Christmas Trinity Lutheran Church
3 January 2016 Murdock, NE
+Jesu Juva +
You always want to know more about Jesus’ early life, don’t you? The dicey details, right? The trivial minutiae. Like, what was His favorite meal? Did He ever get the flu or a cold? Did He have a girlfriend? Did He help do the dishes? Did He learn to make cabinets, tables and chairs with Joseph? Did He ever get His hair cut? Speaking of hair – what color was it? Etc. Etc. Etc.
St. Luke gives you what you need to know from Christ’s early life. Just one account sandwiched between His birth and the beginning of His ministry at the age of thirty. Only Luke records it. Jesus is twelve years old. Luke tells you what is most important for you to know. Vital. Central. What is salvationally significant FOR YOU!
What in the world could that be? Quite simply it is one word. That word is: OBEDIENCE.
Not your obedience. Good grief. That’s where we’re all miserable failures. Just examine your life against the Ten Commandments and you’ll see how true that is. For example in commandments 1-3, God wants your heart, your mouth and your ears. In other words, He wants your faith, faith that prayers, and faith that receptively listens to His Word with your eardrums and heart. In commandments 4-10 God wants you to love those with whom you live, work and play. But we fail so miserably. Our hearts trust ourselves and so we only love ourselves. We live as if we are gods unto ourselves. So curved in on ourselves we are.
That’s where Jesus comes into the equation. Twelve year-old Savior of disobedient sinners Jesus. Luke preaches the obedience of twelve year-old Jesus. From cradle to grave Jesus walks the way of obedience. Not for Himself but FOR YOU. In your place. Vicarious obedience. Substitutionary obedience.
What He does perfectly: OBEDIENCE – He then gives to you as His gift after He takes all your disobedience in His Body on the cross and gets damned with it. Again, this is the sweep swap of salvation. The blessed exchange that saves you. Jesus takes your bad (disobedience). He gives you His good (His perfect and holy obedience). That’s one of Luke’s biggest points. And all the rest of the New Testament!
Jesus perfectly keeps the first table of the Law: commandments 1-3. By keeping the Passover He, as true man, fears, loves and trusts His Father above all things. In keeping the Passover He uses His mouth and ears properly. The way God always intended for humans. Jesus hears God’s Word, God’s promises. He prays, praises and gives thanks. Perfectly obedient Jesus is. His heart, mouth and ears are faith-ed. It’s no wonder then that we find Him in His Father’s house.
Faith before His Father naturally leads to His life of loving obedience to His mother Mary and stepfather Joseph. “Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was OBEDIENT to them.” Here He keeps the second table of the law.
So there you have it. Jesus does what He says: He loves the Lord with all His heart, soul, strength and mind. He loves His neighbor as Himself. In that one little word “love” or as Luke puts it “obedience,” Jesus does the salvation job that you and I as disobedient sinners so desperately need.
In this setting (of OBEDIENCE) we hear Jesus’ first recorded words. In these words God is, for the first time in Luke expressly called Jesus’ “Father.” In these words Jesus expresses His mission and office. His life is to be uniquely a human life wholly lived to God, a life that is in all its parts and in every aspect an act of the highest worship – FAITH toward God and fervent love for others, as man’s life ought to be and never had been since Adam’s fall and his passing his sin to all of us.
He tells Mary and Joseph after “three days”: “I must be in my Father’s house.” This is a divine “must.” The “must” of what it takes for Jesus to save all sinners, including you and me. Jesus is obedient in the place of and for the salvation of all. Here Jesus begins His ministry of perfect obedience. An obedience “unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:8). Here for the first time Mary has a premonition of the sword that is to pierce her soul (2:35).
Twelve year-old Jesus, as the Passover Lamb, is at the very place where He will accomplish the new and greater Exodus. He will do a Passover to end all Passovers! On the cross, He will give His Body as the one and only sacrifice to atone for all sin – even yours. On the cross, He will offer His Blood to appease His Father’s wrath against all sinners – even you. His Good Friday Blood cleanses all sinners from all sin. This He does at Jerusalem! AT THE VERY PLACE WHERE THE PASSOVER SACRIFICE WILL BE FULFILLED – THE TEMPLE – GOD’S HOUSE. In the flesh of twelve-year-old Jesus God is graciously present with His people. He is in His temple dwelling among His people to be their Savior! Jesus’ answer to Mary is a salvation answer for those who have ears to hear.
Mary didn’t understand all of this yet. But she “treasured all these things in her heart.” Twenty-one years later, back at Jerusalem again, she would see with her very eyes what her Boy meant that day in the temple when He said: “I had to be in my Father’s house.” At twelve Jesus began His career of OBEDIENCE unto death, even death on a cross. And Mary’s very soul was pierced by what happened.
Thirty-three-year-old Jesus offered Himself on the altar of the cross. He allowed Himself to be brutally sacrificed. Violently slaughtered. His Body: graveyard dead. His Blood viciously shed. Flowing like a tributary from His wounds. The Epistle said it this way: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
Jesus knew that was His Father’s plan. The cross is God’s wisdom. God’s understanding. FOR YOU. To redeem you. To win your salvation.
Now that He has risen from the dead “after three days,” He reigns. He dispenses the wisdom of God. That wisdom is the promise that your sin is forgiven. That you are blessed in the “heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” That God “chose you in Christ before the creation of the world – predestined you to be adopted as his sons through Christ.” That you now know God’s will. His will is to save you through Jesus His beloved Son.
So He bids you to the Sacrament today. His crucified and risen Body with the bread. His Good Friday and Easter Sunday Blood with the wine. That very Body and Blood that He obediently sacrificed once for all as the Passover Lamb on the cross. He has brought you into His house. God’s house. He temples Himself here for you. Bestowing on you His forgiveness. And with forgiveness– salvation.
Thanks be to God for His Son’s total and complete OBEDIENCE for you.
In the name of Jesus.