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Wisdom Jesus

January 5, 2020

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Second Sunday after Christmas                            Trinity Lutheran Church

5 January 2020                                                         Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

 

Luke 2:40-52

 

Jesus.  12 years old.  In Israel if you’re a boy under the age of 12 you hung out with the women in the travels to and from Jerusalem.  But when a boy turned 12 then he could travel with either the women or the men.  That’s most likely how Mary and Joseph lost track of Him.  “I thought he was with you.”  “No, I thought he was with you!”  Typical!

 

Eventually after the initial panic they find Him in Jerusalem.  In the temple.  Holding discourse with the seminary professors and the big wig Bible scholars!  “And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding [wisdom] and his answers.”  It’s as if Jesus is the Bible Answer Man!  As if He is the wisest Biblical scholar in the world!

 

And He is!  As a 12 year old that has now entered manhood!  Jesus is divine wisdom in the flesh!  Holy wisdom – the wisdom of the universe — bundled up in the package of a boy now considered an adult.

 

I must say it again.  Jesus is the wisdom of God in the flesh. Holy, Divine Wisdom! The Wisdom who orders the universe, who sets the sun, moon and stars in their course, who orders and governs all things. There is more wisdom in the tip of 12 year old Jesus’ little finger than in all the teachers of Israel and the world. And yet He deigns to sit among them as a student, answering their tough and deep theological questions, and impressing them. And being obedient to His parents as any Child. But He is not any Child. He is God’s Child, His elect Son come to Good Friday-ly save the world from sin, death, and hell. You wouldn’t know that to look at Him there in the temple, or for that matter in the manger, or on the flight to Egypt, or working in the carpenter’s shop in Nazareth. He just simply blends in as one of us because He is literally one of us, Immanuel, God with us.

He had to be in His Father’s house. The temple was His place, God’s dwelling place on earth. He had to be there because He is the Son of the Father who came to be with us. All of this He does “for us and for our salvation.” To save you. He does our humanity and doesn’t leave out a step. The womb, the manger, the home, the workshop, the cross, the tomb. He does it all. He does our humanity to death and in dying rescues our humanity from death.

 

There is something hidden going on here, “in, with and under” this humble yet deeply wise Child. The eternal wisdom of the ages has come to earth to dwell. The plan of God from all eternity to bring all things together under one Head and to redeem the fallen creation from its bondage to decay was happening. This Child in the manger and the temple is the One who would do it. The Spirit of wisdom is upon Him. There would be hints to come, little glimpses of what lay hidden under Jesus’ humanity – the miracles, the Baptism, the Transfiguration, and ultimately His death, resurrection, and ascension. But like that one last Christmas gift waiting to be opened on the 12th day of Christmas, the gift of Jesus lay largely hidden, a Mystery to be revealed over the course of time in the fullness of time.

Christ is Wisdom, a wisdom we do not have but long for, a Wisdom we seek to gain but cannot, a Wisdom that no amount of study or experience can acquire, a wisdom that comes to us freely as a gift of God’s grace by the Spirit working through the Word, making us “wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Solomon prayed for wisdom. He could have asked for wealth or power, and God ultimately gave him those too. But he sought wisdom. Solomon, the son of David, prayed for wisdom. Jesus, the Son of David, is Wisdom come in the flesh.

Adam and Eve sought wisdom in the Garden. They sought wisdom in knowing good and evil, something God didn’t want them to mess with. Good and evil. To know the creation as good and evil is to stand in judgment over the work of God and call something good or evil. But God doesn’t make evil. He makes good. Evil is the corruption of the good, using the good against God. And so we become the judge and we become our own gods, deciding for ourselves what is right and what is wrong based on our discernment of good and evil. We’ve become gods in our own eyes, rather shabby self-centered gods who exercise our dominion to enrich ourselves and gain an advantage over others. We’ve traded in the image of God to join the animals, following our own instincts and inclinations rather than the Word to which we owe our existence. We have become increasingly “wise” in the ways of the world and fools in the ways of God.

“The foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” God sent a boy to do a God’s job. God sent His Son, born of the Virgin, cradled in a manger, raised in a household, obedient to father and mother, to save this world from the chaos, darkness, and decay of sin. We smile a bit at this gospel reading this morning. The Bible teachers, so wise and learned, being astonished by this seemingly precocious twelve year old who knows all the answers better than they know the questions.

We chuckle and say to ourselves, “If only they knew with Whom they were talking.” We know better. We laugh over the fact that Mary and Joseph seem to have lost the Son of God for a day or so, and wonder “How could this have possibly happened? He’s your son. He’s God’s Son! How do you lose God’s Son? What kind of parents were Mary and Joseph that they couldn’t even keep track of God’s Son on a family trip?”

But that’s the nature of divinity hidden in humanity, the Word become Flesh. It’s so easy to forget and overlook what God is up to in His hidden and foolish ways. We’ll rush the baby to the doctors for his shots, but are we as urgent about Baptism, the washing of regeneration and renewal? We’re quick to call 911 in an emergency, but do we call upon the Lord in the day of trouble? We’re always in search of our next meal and literally complain of “starving to death” if we miss lunch, but do we experience the same pangs of hunger and thirst for righteousness when we miss the Lord’s Supper?

That’s why all these self-congratulatory notions of “how I found Jesus” fall flat on their pious faces. We’d never find Jesus. He’s too deeply hidden for our reason and senses to notice Him. We’re so sin-addicted that we look in all the wrong places. Mary and Joseph searched high and low to find Jesus, when the one logical place is the place where He has to be, in His Father’s house, where the Word and Sacrament are. That’s where you find Him because that’s where He finds you in your lostness. You see, He wasn’t lost. He’s the Lord. We’re the ones who are lost. And He comes to us in deep humility to find us.

Divine Wisdom Jesus has come to you in Baptism in which He gave you His divine and saving Name. You’ve been washed in the Wisdom of God Jesus’ Good Friday Blood, the Wisdom for which Solomon longed, the Wisdom the wise men sought in their travels from the East, the Wisdom that brings light and life and order to the universe and to your life. Baptized and believing, you are wise to salvation through faith in Jesus. And that’s a Wisdom that will bring you to life with God forever.

In the Name of Jesus.

 

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