Friday, January 7, 2011

“I wished I was Here!” (Luke 2:49).

S-1227 2SAC/3A 01/02/10 Hymns (O) #129; (S) #133; (C) #294

Text: 1 Kings 3:4-15; Ephesians 1:3-14; Luke 2:40-52

Theme: “I wished I was Here!” (Luke 2:49).

Question: “Have you said, ‘I wished I was here!’”?

SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for our second Sunday After Christmas is from the Gospel lesson: “And He said to them, ‘Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house’?” (Luke 2:49).

Introduction: In Nomine IESU

People of God, chosen and beloved, His most holy Bride: I’m certain you are just like me, at times have said, “I wished I was here.” I have said that many times. When I came to this country, I would call home for Christmas or Easter and would tell my parents, oh how “I wished I was here”. Even as recently as November and December I said that. On November 20th, I was saying to my children, “I wished I was here” to hunt deer and on December 11th, I was saying the same thing “I wished I was here” with my family to celebrate our Nour’s Christmas together.

Today, as we gather in the Lord’s house for the first time in the year of our Lord 2011, our hearts, ears and eyes look forward with great anticipation to what the Lord has in store for us and to us. Certainly the boxes and bows are gone, the booming music of Christmas are no longer being heard in shopping malls or on the streets, but the celebration of the babe of Bethlehem continues. Why do we celebrate? Because the Lord of heaven and earth is right here with us.

Yes, the Lord is here and this is not a wish but a reality. From the beginning of time, God’s desire was to be with His children. You might say, He always said, “I want to be here with you.” The Babe of Bethlehem is the fulfillment of God’s desire. The Prophet Isaiah put it this way, “… You shall call His name, Immanuel which means God is with us.” Indeed God’s desire has ALWAYS been to be with His people at all times and in all places.

And today, is no different. Jesus is here, with us, in His Father’s House and being about His Father’s business. It is interesting that Luke 2:49 simply says, “I must be in My Father’s ___.” That blank is either house as we have it here in the ESV or business as with other translations. The key thing is that our thanksgiving, our celebration need never end, for God is here, in Jesus, with us today. He is still about His Father’s ___!

And why is He Here? Why would He want to be with us? What is His business? He carries out His business here. In this place He cares for His holy bride. His business is to forgive you all your sins, smother you with His LOVE, and assure you that you have been restored to the Family and to know you have full rights of adoption through the gift of Baptism! As this New Year dawns, know that you are not orphans and that whatever this New Year brings - God is more than “here” - He is here – “for you” as a Father is for His beloved son or daughter!

Yes, Jesus is here. When His parents asked Him “Why did you this to us?” He responded (dei in Greek = it is necessary) for me to be here to fulfill the Father’s will and carry out the Father’s business which He sent me as His heaven-sent gift. PAUSE.

In the text, Luke tells us that Jesus is now 12 years old. It is important to know that. For every Jewish boy at the age of 12 was to receive his bar-mitzvah (literally son of the Commandments). It was the entree into manhood. This newly minted man would still be obedient to his parents and learn the family trade, giving back 18 years for the 12 of his youth. He would learn the family business and honor his family. Jesus is no exception. He was about the Father’s business down to every minute detail.

He received His bar-mitzvah and going to the Temple in Jerusalem from His home in Nazareth, Jesus was coming home. That is, He came home, for His home is with us, for He is Immanuel. He chose to go to the temple and city where He would prove to be the True Temple (Revelation 21:22). There He sat and learned and listened. There He submitted to the will of both fathers—His earthly and heavenly. With wisdom He gave honor to both. He went where He would ultimately be found guilty of your sin and mine, and He went way, obediently, under the care of His mother and father. He learned the art of carpentry—to “measure twice and cut once” from Joseph. Joseph also taught Him what it meant to love His mother and honor His God.

In this humility and obedience we see that He was about the Father’s business. To honor, love, obey and fear His Father and do His will. In the temple the true and living Temple was speaking to the learned men of Himself and of His Father. He was teaching them what they needed to learn—that the Father of love is His Father and this love encompasses all humanity from the first Adam to the last Adam.

Today, as we gather in the Temple we hear the voice of Him who is love and who has taught us all about love by dying our death and rising to raise us from our graves. In this Temple we see Wisdom in the person of Jesus. Wise beyond any 12 years old man could be—teaching those who would listen and learn from Him of the Father’s love. Here in this Temple, we see again and celebrate often the coming of Immanuel for the purpose of carrying out once-for-all-time sacrifice for sin—yours, mine and the world. By the Holy Spirit’s power we who have gathered in this place—the Temple of the Lord see Him as our Lord and Savior and give thanks for what He has done. PAUSE.

Don’t for a moment forget the GIFT of CHRISTmas my beloved and His beloved. For in the Father’s house you will learn of His love, sacrifice, service, salvation and business. Look around and see what man gives us. Every single gift you have gotten whether a car, Ipad, toaster, Crockpot will not last. We see and know that everything man puts his hand to will decay and fail.

But God in love and mercy has given us something far grander and greater: The True Temple... wrapped in swaddling clothes, laid in a bed of straw in a small and humble village. Now all this comes together in the iron-clad gift that cannot fade and does not fail. Listen to how Paul paints this grand picture of our adoption and salvation—the ever faithful Gift and Gift-Giver: “In Him you also, when you heard the Word of truth, the Gospel of your Salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His Glory.” (Eph. 1:13-14)

Guarantees are only as good as their guarantor. Jesus is the guarantor who is the true Temple spoken of in Revelation 21, the One who welcomes us home, a) to His Father’s House, b) for this is His Father’s business, and this is c) given in His Father’s perfect Love. This guarantee is not limited like those attached to the Wii we received or toaster we gave just 9 days ago. This is the guarantee that is of our Salvation and not just our “salvation” but our Eternal Salvation which is guaranteed by Him whose business it is to love the unlovable and forgive the unforgivable, folks just like you and me. PAUSE.

Saints in Christ, remember how I began my sermon? Saying, “There were those moments when I said, ‘I wished I was here!’” When you love someone so much you want to be with them. When the miles and ocean’s wave separate you, you long to be with them and be near them. And so it is with our loving and amazing God.

Sin had separated us from the love of God. Miles and ocean waves kept us apart. But Jesus had a remedy—He would come to do what we couldn’t do—He came to be our Savior and Redeemer. He came as the Second Adam to undo what the first Adam did—bring about restoration and adoption in order that we may never have to say, “I wished I was I here.” For Jesus is here now and always. Here you see His business of loving you. Here you will touch Him in the Chalice and Wafer. Here you will Hear Him in His Word. Here you will know Him as He comes to you daily with His love, grace and favor.

Oh how He loves you! Merry Christmas, beloved... And thank God with me that the celebration of this greatest moment of History needs not end, because Jesus is here-for you and me. What a grand day this is. Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria

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