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(not Baptism of our Lord)

Luke 2:41-52

Rev. Andrew Eckert

First Sun. after Epiph.
St. Paul's Lutheran Church  
Wellston, Oklahoma

Sun, Jan 13, 2013 

The Lord revealed His glory in the midst of the teachers of the Word in the Temple.  He did not reveal Himself in His fullness, but only a brief glimpse, like a few rays of the sun slipping through the clouds.

This little Child, only twelve years old, amazed the experts of the Law with His understanding and answers.  Wisdom beyond His tender years resides in Him.  For He has the knowledge of the Ancient One, the discernment of eternity, since His beginnings are from of old, from everlasting.

Yet He did not always use this great wisdom.  In His state of humiliation, He hid His glory and concealed His deity beneath the form of a lowly servant.

His wisdom, of course, is beyond the feebleness of us lowly sinners.  The teachers of the Law, who are well versed in Scripture and ought to recognize the Messiah, nevertheless did not see that here was the Son of God.  Even Mary and Joseph, who had the messages of angels and Simeon to reveal who Christ is, nevertheless did not understand that He had to be about His Father's business.

We sinners are likewise befuddled.  What is the Father's business?  We like to search our feelings, of all things, to determine God's business in our life.  Even if we turn to the Word to find God's business for us, we often turn to a law-oriented view of what God wants.

And it is true that God desires for us to obey His commandments.  But that is not the main thing He is concerned about.

God's primary business is grace.  His work is righteousness given freely to men.  His desire for us is that His Holy Spirit work faith in us through His Word, so that through the work of Christ we might be saved from sin, death, and hell.

We can say those words, but do we act like they are true?  Are we attending to the business of the Father?  That means not following our feelings or man-made rules, but attending to His House and Word.

For Christ gave us a great example.  Did He need to go to His Father's house and listen to the teachers of the Law?  No.  He not only knows the Law perfectly, but He wrote the Law.  He created the teachers of the Law.  He is perfect in knowledge and holiness and in every way.  These teachers of the Law, even if they were not self-righteous Pharisees, were flawed, sin-filled, and prone to error, like all of us.  Why should Christ submit to their teaching?

Yet He did, as He submitted also to His flawed, sin-filled parents.

If He can do that, why do we have so much trouble?  The Father's primary business and desire for us is to be about His business, which means to receive His grace in His Word.  This grace-filled Word is always for our benefit, whether it is combined with water or with bread and wine, whether it is spoken as readings, Bible study, preaching, or holy absolution.  These things are the Father's business for us.

This is no great burden for us.  The burden was on Christ.  He had to obey perfectly, even in submitting to corrupt sinners.  He had to submit to the same suffering and death foretold for Him in the Scriptures.  He had to labor mightily for our benefit, carrying our burdens, being crushed for our iniquities.

Because He did all this, the Father's business for us is a light burden and an easy yoke.  Christ calls out to us, "I have earned it all for you!  Here it is!" and He points us to His Word and Sacraments.

But we sinners love to complicate matters.  We find excuses and reasons to stay away.  We take offense at this or that.  That's what sinners do.  We turn God's free gifts into toil and difficulty again.

Christ knew this about us.  He knew how twisted our hearts are, every one of us.  He knew it even before He came and lived among us for roughly thirty years.  He sees our corruption and sin even better than we do, since He sees even into the depths of our soul that we hide from ourselves.

But He still embraces us as His brothers and sisters.  He is not ashamed to call Mary and Joseph His parents.  He is not ashamed to call His disciples His friends.  He assumed our flesh to show that He does not regard being Man a disgraceful thing.

He lived a human life to show that He is willing to share everything that we experience.  He became a little baby, and He grew up as any normal child.  He felt the struggles and temptations that we have, except that He did not sin.  He allowed Himself to slowly grow and learn as we do, although He is the Mighty God who needs neither growth nor learning.

He even experienced sickness and pain and death, just like us.  For us twisted sinners, Christ laid down His life.  He shattered death and stepped forth from His own grave, for us.  For He desires to live with us, not just for roughly thirty years, but for all eternity.

The Spirit keep your eyes fixed upon the greatest glory of Christ, which is His crucifixion, where the grace of God performed its mightiest work.

In this Name, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Amen.

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