Summary: Inspired by Conrad Gempf’s latest book, "Jesus Asked.", this series explores the questions that Jesus asked us. This first sermon looks at reasons why people are still searching for Jesus, even if they don’t realize it.
Questions Jesus asked #1
“Why were you searching for me” – Luke 2:41-52
By James Galbraith
Bethel First Baptist Church - January 11, 2004
Sometimes I sit down with the youth and ask them
“if you could ask God one question, what would it be?”
The questions I get are remarkable,
“Why did you make evil?”
“Why did 9/11 happen?”
“What grade will I get on my test?”
“Are you there?”
If Jesus is known as anything, it is as someone who answered a lot of questions!
The crowds asked him questions, His followers asked him questions,
even those who opposed him asked him questions, usually trying to foul him up.
But what we don’t often see is how Jesus,
rather than answering all the questions that came his way,
how he actually tends to ask us a lot more questions than we ask him.
I believe he does this because he knows that we learn more when we’re forced to answer,
rather than ask, questions.
And I believe that Jesus always wanted people to learn, rather than simply listen.
We’re going to spend some time looking at these questions,
and today I’d like to start with the first two questions we ever hear come out of his mouth…
Why are you searching for me? - and - “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
Luke 2:41-52 – short synopsis
- Jesus, as a twelve year old, taken to Jerusalem with family to celebrate Passover, one of the most important holy weeks in Judaism.
- remembering God’s sparing of his people when Egypt was punished for not letting Jews go free
- after the feast is over, family returns home, but they’ve forgotten somebody!
- all those who have ever been left at a game, rest stop, mall or birthday party can know that they are in good company –
Jesus himself got left behind in a city for about five days!
- one day out, one day back, three looking for him!
- family would have been in a caravan of fifty or more,
with kids going back and forth and all around,
so it would be easy to assume that Jesus had simply spent time with other relatives
- Mary and Joseph find Jesus in the temple courts, and guess what he’s doing?
- hanging out with teachers and yes “asking them questions”
- he’s also being asked questions himself,
and evidently the dialogue that ensues is so rich that no one thought to ask
“Why is has this kid been left alone for five days?” or “where’s this kid’s parents?”
- Mary breaks through the crowd and we are treated to what is essentially the first recorded instance of a mother asking,
“Where have you been – we’ve been looking for you everywhere!”
- no wonder some people think Mary’s divine,
she’s scolding the Son of God and getting away with it!
- Jesus, in full pre-teen glory, answers her with our two questions…
Why are you searching for me?
Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house
Tell me now, in all honesty,
what would you do with a twelve year old who gave you this for an answer?
We don’t find out what Mary and Joseph did, for the chapter ends with the family returning home.
Whatever Jesus meant by the questions, it wasn’t rebellion,
for vs. 51 tells us that he was “obedient to them”
And Mary’s left to ponder, and treasure, this and the many other things that Jesus amazed her with as he “grew in wisdom and stature”
It’s a good story, but what does it have to do with us?
Let me do something here that I believe will help us see this episode in a new light.
Take the grown up Jesus, the Saviour we love and long for, and now listen to his questions again…
Why are you searching for me? (pause) Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?
“Why are you searching for me?”
This is probably the easier of the two questions to answer.
We’ re searching for him because we need him.
Chances are those who need him and do not have him may not articulate this outright,
but they are searching for something, and our faith informs us that it is Christ that they need.
He doesn’t need us, he came to save us,
and we need to seek him and learn from him
and ultimately accept him as our saviour and worship him as our Lord.
When people find him they can choose what to do with him,
he gives us that choice,
in his wisdom and his profound gift of freedom we can accept or reject him,
and I hope and pray that we will all accept him as Saviour and Lord.