Thursday, January 8, 2015

“In the Family Business” (Luke 2:48-49)

S-1470 2SAC/3B 1/04/2015 Hymns: (O) #2; (S) #133; (C) # 50

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

Theme: “In the Family Business” (Luke 2:48-49)

Question: “Do you enjoy your work?”

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen! Indeed! Alleluia. The text is from the Gospel lesson: “And when His parents saw Him, they were astonished. And His mother said to Him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 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 2:48-49)

Precious children of the heavenly Father, if you’re the father of a little boy, there’s a good chance that right now you are enjoying a very close connection with your son. He probably idolizes everything you do—dressing up in your clothes, imitating the way you read the paper or the way you stand when you talk. He tries to do everything you do and works hard to make sure he has your attention and your approval. You can see in your little boy’s eyes that he is utterly convinced that you are without a doubt the ultimate man in the world.

And if you are a dad whose son has gotten a bit older, you can stop for a moment and smile when you recollect those special days with your young son. As time goes by, though, your son gets older and your relationship changes. When your son begins to develop into a young man, both of you face challenges that mean working a little bit harder to maintain your bond. The relationship you develop now will set the course for a lifetime bond between you and your son.

That bond comes when every father builds a strong relationship between him and his son. To be sure, every father dreams of his son[s] following in his footsteps. Whether you are a pastor, painter, farmer, pharmacist, carpenter or grocery store owner, you hope and pray that one day your son[s] takes your trade and keeps the family business going.

When a child follows in his father’s footsteps, the father is proud and happy to see that the family business is carried on. He smiles and cherishes the fact that father and son are a team—working hard to build a future for years to come. Joy fills dad’s heart and maybe even a quick step in his feet. PAUSE.

The Gospel of St. Luke’s text for this morning, is such a beautiful story of a father and son working together to build a future not for themselves but for those who have broken the relationship with them. Having celebrated the birth of the Savior, witnessed His circumcision on the 8th day and dedication on the 40th, we now move fast forward when he is 12 years old.

Luke tells us that His parents’ custom was to travel to Jerusalem to worship at the Temple. But something unusual happened. When the parents return to their home—Nazareth, the young lad—Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem. It took 3 days for His parents to realize that He wasn’t with them. Now don’t dial up the Social Service Agency because His parents were uncaring, callous or heartless. On the contrary, they were very loving. The only difference is when the parents traveled; they traveled with other family members and friends from the same village. So deep in their hearts they knew He would be with someone from Nazareth.

With earnest and broken hearts they began to look for Him. They found Him back in Jerusalem at the temple teaching. They asked Him: “...Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” He said to them {emphatically}: “Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?”

Even at the tender age of youth, Jesus was about the Father’s business, not as a carpenter but as the One who is set out to redeem us; carrying on the great mission of redeeming us from the destructive powers of hell, the devil and sin. PAUSE.

In the book of Exodus we read these words: “You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments” (20:5-6). With these words Moses tells us God visits the iniquity to the 3rd and 4th generations of them that hate him, and shows mercy to the thousands of them that love Him and keep His commandments.

Parents have a tremendous impact. We see what dad does. And any father knows the heartaches, headaches and sleepless nights when his son breaks the bonds of love and walks out from under His care. Fathers know firsthand what happens when the son doesn’t carry the family business. Broken relationships! Broken hearts! Broken dreams! And broken lives!

That is the life we live in. I don’t need to remind you of how many father and son relationships have gone sour and south. When that happens you know the pain. You have seen the distraught faces and heard the angry words of many father and son. And this relationship affects the whole family. This even happens in the church, when sins rear its ugly head and relationships are broken, hearts are torn apart and people leave never to return again.

That is the real world we live in—life of suffering, pain, anguish and hardship all because of sin that rules and ruins our lives. But that is why the Savior was sent to earth.

We see this in Jesus, the 12 year old boy, the Bar-Mitpha’d man, as He saw His Father reflected in the way His earthly father cared for Him and for His mother. He saw His true Father’s love and perfectly, reflected it perfectly (Hebrews 1:3). On both levels, Jesus was a faithful Son - He became a carpenter, one who joins two or more separate pieces together, who cuts, who sands and shapes, and varnishes, and who brings beauty forth... and He was true to His Father by completing the mission to once again join the separated and fallen race to its true Father (John 20:17), removing the rough spots, sanding and shaping it if you will, in the forgiveness of sins (1 Peter 3:21); covering us not with varnish, but with His Holy precious blood and the garment of salvation.

This is indeed what Jesus came to do and did. He came to carry on the family business. He was by His Father in the Garden of Eden, in the Wilderness of Sinai, in the Red Sea, into the Promised Land and in Jerusalem. In the Temple He taught and explained the love of the Heavenly Father. From the Temple He was carried to a cruel tree to hang on until dead; and put in a tomb. But 3 days later He completed the family business of saving us by rising from the dead. He did this so that He can make us part of His family and that, we, by grace carry on the family business. PAUSE.

Beloved and precious children of God, recently I heard of a story that took place in Los Anglos. A man was standing in line to buy some jewelry for his wife from a vender. Before him stood a woman. As she approached the vender’s table and began to look at the displayed items. She said, “LOOK A MAN ON A PLUS SIGN, HOW INTERESTING!” A man on the plus sign, she didn’t know the story of Jesus and His death and His word in the family business. Pause…

Today, beloved children of the heavenly Father, we are called to be in the Father’s business. This message of life and salvation IS the family business. We have been adopted into the family in the waters of Holy Baptism. His business becomes our business. We share it with our brother Jesus. We are about it every time the Lord gathers us to His house. Here we are gathered around His Word and Sacrament. Here we serve in the family by serving our brothers and sisters and our neighbors by becoming His hands and feet as we proclaim the Good News of our salvation and share the hope of glory with all people that they too, maybe part of this great and blessed family.

By the Spirit’s power you are in the family business. God has made us His very own. For that we say blessed be the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who keeps us working with Him to share His love. Amen.

Now the peace…


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