Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 4 Study # 4
Thesis: God will invariably get around to addressing our "loyalty" issues.
Introduction: As we have looked into Luke's record of Jesus' behavior at the Passover of His twelfth year, we have seen that it is his desire that his reader(s) pick up on the "Child's" qualifications to be God's Redeemer of humanity. Front and center in the issue of those qualifications is the "integrity" of the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12:5 says it was to be without any kind of physical blemish). Behind that requirement stood the reality that there could be no deliverance from evil by an evil instrument. Hebrews 9:14 and 1 Peter 1:19 both emphasize that the redeeming death of the Christ was of One Who was absolutely morally faultless. At the very roots of this moral faultlessness is one issue that combines both love and faith: the issue of loyalty. It is this issue that is at the core of the paragraph which has been before us for the last four weeks: the loyalty of Jesus to His Parent.
This morning we are going to take yet another look at what Luke told us as it addresses this very critical issue.
October 9, 2005
- I. The Complicating Factors.
- A. First, there is the "Child" factor.
- 1. The significance of the fact that Jesus is again called "the Child" is apparently missed by our translators.
- a. That it has little, to nothing, to do with "age" issues is important for our understanding.
- b. The translation tends to create a sense of juvenile immaturity -- a totally false mental image that is contradicted by our understanding of the fact that Jesus has gone through a complete set of cycles of four in which He was subject to the grace of God pouring wisdom into Him in regard to the tensions of life (two is the number of contrast and four is a doubling of the reality of contrasting issues).
- 1) We must understand that living twelve years in a perfect body without any degradation of the brain by sin would, of itself, produce a kind of maturity that probably none of the human race ever achieve even over a long lifetime.
- 2) In combination with the twelve years of life in a perfect body, Luke pointedly declares that the grace of God was pouring wisdom into Him unto a magnificent moral strength.
- 3) At twelve, Jesus was not even close to the "typical" twelve-year-old as we identify pre-teens.
- c. The issue of the "Child" is that He is on the receiving end of a totally committed Father's heart.
- 2. The "Child" factor, though it tends to throw us off the scent, is actually the factor that is supposed to keep us on it.
- B. Second, there is the "ignorant parents" factor.
- 1. This is a weighty issue within the paragraph.
- a. First, it is introduced here in regard to Jesus' behavior.
- b. Second, it is deliberately highlighted in 2:49 by Jesus' response to Mary's unveiled accusation of fault which He turned around upon her.
- 2. A careless reading tends to give us a kind of harmless "oops" perception that is completely false.
- a. These facts exist: Jesus knew He was remaining in Jerusalem; and He knew He was not telling Joseph and Mary of His intent.
- b. This was not a benign "oops" event that just played itself out.
- 1) Something had been going on for twelve years in the household of Joseph and Mary that was not acceptable to the Father of the children.
- a) Jesus was not the only "child" in the story.
- b) Joseph and Mary had the same place in the Father's heart.
- 2) The Child Who, in His own words (John 5:19), never did anything that He was not led to do by the Father, was being led by that Father to address some issues in the lives of the other children.
- II. The Issues Luke is Raising.
- A. First, there is the issue of going up to Passover and taking part in both Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
- 1. There are two major issues involved.
- a. Passover is the evidence of the "target" identity of the children in respect to the "aim" of the Father's heart.
- 1) By the death of the Passover Lamb, the "children" are kept from suffering the consequences of their sins.
- 2) The provision of the Passover Lamb was the ultimate demonstration of the Father's sacrifice as Genesis 22:8 declares.
- b. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was supposed to be the response of the children to their identity as the target of the Father's loyalty.
- 1) Paul declares to us (1 Corinthians 5:7-8) that the feast was designed to be the children's response.
- 2) In that declaration we see the nature of the response: a reciprocity of loyalty that puts the Father in the target zone of the children's heart-aim.
- 2. There is one huge danger: the danger that people will go through the motions of celebrating God's love for them without ever buying into the reciprocity issue.
- a. Love cannot be one-sided; sacrifice in not just about God.
- b. Loyalty, as the combination of love and faith, is as necessary to the child as it is to the Father.
- 3. Jesus, as an inhabitant of the household for twelve years, had been observing a kind of glazing over of the spiritual eyes that had allowed Joseph and Mary to settle into a celebration of God's commitment to them without being sufficiently sensitive to the question of their loyalty to Him.
- a. We know this because of their ignorance: Jesus would have never turned Mary's accusation back upon her if it had not been a festering fault.
- b. We also know this because Joseph and Mary had gotten to the point in twelve years of simply assuming (presuming) that Jesus would fit into their mold of "life by undiscussed presumptions".
- 1) What would have happened if Joseph had simply asked Jesus on that last evening in Jerusalem, "Well, Son, are you ready to head on back to Nazareth in the morning?"
- 2) But the fact is, he did not ask -- neither the Son, nor the Father.
- 3) The implication of prayerlessness is readily apparent and the associated implication of "loyalty to the life of unfounded assumptions" rather than to a Father with a Plan is also plainly before our eyes.
- 4) The consequent lesson is this: there is a lot of complaining going on about how we are being treated while we are blind to the question of how we are treating God.
- a) There is never, not ever, any basis for complaint about anything.
- b) That we complain is only a statement of our disloyalty to the Father Who refuses to be disloyal to us.
- B. Second, there is the deliberate action of Jesus in keeping Joseph and Mary in the dark as to His planned course of action.
- 1. He would not have done it if they had been in the habit of simply talking things over with God.
- 2. He did not do it on His own initiative; He never did anything that way (John 5:19).
- 3. He did it because the Father was dissatisfied with the way Joseph and Mary were handling life in the very presence of His Son.
- a. This is the heart of the matter.
- b. The "shocks" of life typically affect the prayerless, disloyal children far more than they do those children whose heart-target is the Father.
- 1) There is no commitment by the Father of revealing all the details of life to the children, but there is a commitment of bringing them through with no real damage (Romans 8:28).
- 2) Those who scream and complain are only revealing how committed they are to having God be their slave while refusing to yield to the reciprocal reality that all of the godly are the slaves of God and, by that, have no complaints about His treatment of them.