Summary: Jesus was found in his fathers house. The most uninspiring of all the stories, yet there is a Gospel message at its core, and the plan unfolding about Jesus’ ministry.
This sermon was delivered to St Oswald’s, Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 30th December 2012; St Oswald’s is a Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries.
“Please join me in a short prayer from Psalms 19:14, and ” Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. Amen.
Today’s gospel reading is taken from Luke chapter 2, verses 41 to 52:
Verse 41 “Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
Verse 41 “And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
Verse 49 ”And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man”.
Prayer: In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit let these words bring you honour, and prepare us to live in the world which you have given us. Amen.
Today’s service according to the lectionary is the “First Sunday after Christmas” and the gospel reading is a very familiar passage. The reason why it is so familiar is because most of us learn it at Sunday school; and I must say that I for one find it one of the most boring, uninspired verses of scripture; with the corniest of endings.
Lets us go through it again quickly, in the vernacular to remind us. Basically, Jesus goes to Jerusalem at the Passover with his parents, and gets lost. His parents are up to high doh, and search for him everywhere; and three days later they eventually find him in the temple sitting talking to the so called “teachers”. And then the ending, “Did you not know that I would be in my fathers house”.
Yuck, what a horrible ending, such an anticlimax, … it just crawls all over you. I mean we are taught all over Sunday school that Jesus was the son of God, the most important man that ever lived, and now we are told that he could be found in the house of God. What a revelation that is! Is that not worth getting out your bed on a Sunday morning to hear that?
God how I hate this passage: and possibly the bible school teachers who taught me it; with their perfume, and fur coats, and the wee broach on their lapel. Well it was maybe not them I did not like; it was certainly the word school being mentioned on a Sunday, God I hated Sunday SCHOOL as well.
And now, I have to use this passage to make a sermon, and you know how I love to fit the Gospel in, just where can I fit the Gospel into this? ... Where can I say, God needed to save man from himself, and so he sent his son Jesus to live and died for us here on this earth, to free us from our sins so that we can be at one with God, and have our eternal home in heaven. Well I have just said it, but where does the Gospel fit in today’s reading. Do you see my problem? Just where do we start?
Well here goes. The first thing we notice is that these are the first words spoken by Jesus who was 12 at the time, and as with anything Jesus said, his words are full of meaning, and therefore have an impact on all of our lives. Let us look at four major topics from this passage.
The first is the reaction of Jesus to his parents, because no matter how special they may be, children should obey and bring honour to their parents. Parents, on the other hand, should encourage, and make room for their uniqueness and support them.