Summary: We study the only biblical story about Jesus as a youth. He is already going about his work as our obedient substitute. Mirror Christ by being obedient to the Lord and his representatives.
The First Sunday after Christmas
During the first decade of life, children tend to view their parents as the greatest people in the world. This is the time of life when kids argue among each other, “My dad is stronger than your dad! My mom is prettier than your mom! My parents are smarter than your parents!” During this stage, parents are almost idolized by their children, and it seems they can do no wrong.
In the second decade of life, parents go from being the smartest people in the world to the dummest, most unfair parents on the planet. “Dad, I can’t believe you bought me that brand of jeans…nobody wear those anymore! Mom, I have the earliest curfew of anyone I know.” At this stage, parents can do no right.
In the third decade of life, the younger generation is beginning to figure out that their parents weren’t so clueless after all.
As we said before, today’s theme is all about obedience. And God teaches us today that we need to have the obedience of a 12-year-old. Now that might sound odd, given what we said about that stage of life. That’s one year before the teen-age years, and when you think of teenagers, you probably don’t immediately think of the word: obedience. Of course, we are not talking about just any 12-year-old. We need to have the obedience of the 12-year-old Jesus. This morning we will learn that this is an obedience that respects the Lord, and it is an obedience that respects the Lord’s representatives.
Maybe you spent some time with family these past few days. And even if you didn’t, you probably make a phone call or two to relatives far away. At a time of the year like this, it’s only natural to reminisce about the old days. You and your family might have told stories to each other about things that you did when you were younger. While some of these stories might be humerous and a little embarrassing, probably parts of those anecdotes reflect the kind of person you are today.
God gave us 4 books about the life of Jesus, but he gave us only one story about Jesus’ childhood. So this one story that we have of Jesus’ youth is God’s way of teaching us what all of Christ’s early years were like. Christ’s early years mirror his later years that we are more familiar with. We can sum up the youthful Jesus with the word: obedience.
We see that Jesus was given good models of obedience with the earthly family that God gave the Christ-child to. Look at our first verse, “every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover.” It was a requirement that all Israelite men who lived within 15 miles of Jerusalem to travel to the city and celebrate the Passover each year. Joseph lived in Nazareth, outside of this sphere. He didn’t have to go. And it was only the men who were required by God’s law to do this…the women didn’t have to go. But look at the devotion…the obedience…that this family shows toward God’s laws, “every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover.” They didn’t want to just give the Lord the minimum…they wanted to give him their devotion year after year.