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Summary: how Jesus was a perfect child by staying at the temple - as our substitute

December 28, 1997 Luke 2:41-52

41 Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. 43 After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."

49 "Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?" 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (NIV)

Over the Christmas season we have received many pictures from friends and relatives. I made an observation while looking at these pictures - all of the pictures of children are taken while they are young. Why don’t families take as many pictures after the children grow older? Maybe it’s because they’re no longer as “cute” as they used to be. Maybe it’s because their children are going through a rebellious stage and aren’t so “loveable” anymore. We aren’t sure.

This past Thursday, God sent us His wonderful annual Christmas card. It had a beautifully drawn portrait of the baby Jesus laying in a manger, drawn by Luke. This message was sent out world wide, as people all celebrated the birth of the cute little Christ child. But God didn’t stop sending pictures of Jesus after His birth. He wasn’t embarrassed of anything that His Son did. So today, we take time out to gaze upon one special picture that God draws of the Christ child, twelve years later. Jesus didn’t have wild hair. He didn’t become a smart mouth. No. Today we will see that even after Jesus grew up, He was a very respectful and obedient child. Actually, the Christ Child was a Perfect Child, all throughout his youth.

The Christ Child was a Perfect Child

I. He was about his Father’s business

II. He was obedient to His parents

We pick up today’s story in the middle of a religious festival. Once a year Jews from throughout Judea and the surrounding country sides would gather together in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. This was the one festival that the Israelites were expected to attend. Every year they would celebrate the night that the Angel of the Lord swooped down over the Egyptians and killed their firstborn sons. This was the final straw that broke the Pharaoh’s back - allowing the Israelites to escape from their bonds of slavery in Egypt. Mary and Joseph had spent a full week in Jerusalem with their relatives celebrating the Passover. Now they had started on their way home. But to their surprise, after a day’s journey, Jesus wasn’t with them. Their perfect child was suddenly gone from their presence.

Now, if I lost my son in a big city, there are several places that I would check. I would first of all tell the police department. Then I would probably check the shopping malls, etc. If we were visiting Madison or Wausau, however, I would first of all check my brother’s house. It would seem like the logical place for him to go - his uncle’s house.

Mary and Joseph thought this way as well. They first of all checked around their friends and relatives who were traveling with them to see if Jesus was among them. They thought Jesus was with one of them. But they forgot that Jesus had more relatives than they did. They forgot that Jesus came from a different Father, and therefore He had different place to visit in Jerusalem. Remember, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. So while in Jerusalem, Jesus had gone to His Father’s house. This was completely logical to Jesus, but it didn’t make sense to Joseph and Mary, since they forgot about His unique relationship with God the Father. When Joseph and Mary finally found him they asked, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” This once again shows us that as blessed as Mary may have been, she was far from perfect. She didn’t understand why Jesus did what he did.

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