Summary: Jesus the Trailblazer and Author of our salvation enters the sanctuary and sings.
1.3.21 Hebrews 2:10-12
10 Certainly it was fitting for God (the one for whom and through whom everything exists), in leading many sons to glory, to bring the author of their salvation to his goal through sufferings. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified all have one Father. For that reason, he is not ashamed to call them brothers. 12 He says: I will declare your name to my brothers. Within the congregation I will sing your praise.
Jesus Goes to Church, And It Is An Amazing Thing
My mom used to read me a children’s book called Bedtime for Frances. It was about a badger being put to bed. Most would look at such a title and say, “Who wants to hear about that?!?” But I wanted her to read that one and “Bargain for Frances” all the time. It was exciting to me I guess.
It might seem like a strange and boring thing to have a worship service talking about someone going to church. What is the big deal? We go to church all the time, sit in the pew, sing some songs, and head home. It’s not worth writing about. But when 12 year old Jesus goes to church, here is a kind of a profound thing. God is right in the pew next to us, singing to Himself in a sense. It’s kind of a strange but beautiful phenomenon. What’s He doing in the pew with us? What does it matter to us?
Well, let’s start here. Christmas first of all brings us this profound truth that God HAD to come down here and become one of us in the first place. Think about it. We live in a very humanistic society. We like to hear about how we can do anything we want to do. Even in the realm of popular Christianity, they like to claim that we have a divine spark within us and that there is some divinity within, if we just follow ourselves and discover ourselves then God will accept us.
Biblical Christianity realizes that we can’t just divinely figure out who we are, discover ourselves, find our destiny, and then live out our truth to get to heaven. The Fall into sin makes that impossible. Adam and Eve had a child in THEIR sinful image, in THEIR likeness. The divine image was lost. So some changed the narrative a bit - changed to make God in the flesh more palatable. Jesus becomes the example of the super-Christian. God comes down here to show us HOW to do it RIGHT.
So is that why Jesus went to church? To show us how to worship with more vim and vigor? The writer to the Hebrews said that Jesus had to SUFFER. For some people going to worship is tantamount to suffering. They put in their hour of time, but it’s like an eternity! Jesus did so too! He paid attention and even asked questions! If, with the eternal LORD, a day is like a thousand years, then what would one hour of the day be? 41 and ? of a year in one church service! Jesus was there for at least three days! That’s like 3,000 years in church to God. Oof! That’s a long time to be in church! But He’s going to do it and show us how to do it right! So pay attention! Worship like Jesus did, right?
I don’t think so. The Bible says all our righteous acts are like filthy rags, even our worship. We can’t follow in His steps. Even if we spent day and night in the worship area as Anna did, and even if we tried to praise God as best we could, and even if we stayed awake through every boring sermon, we still wouldn’t do it right. Our worship is always sinful even when it is at its best.
So why does 12 year old Jesus go to church? Well, the Gospel says that He is asking questions. What kind of questions is He asking? What kind of answer is He giving? We really don’t know. We know that Jesus came in humility, which means He didn’t use His power. We know that the first miracle He performed was the turning of water into wine at the wedding of Cana. What else is there? If Jesus is in true humility, how MUCH does He know about His own mission and His own purpose at 12 years old? Imagine Him reading through Isaiah -
7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. . . . it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.