Wednesday, March 14, 2007

God's Family Choice, Continued

God’s Family Choice, Continued


Last week we began the last message in the Family series. This week we hope to conclude it. Allow me to recap a little from last Wednesday evening.

God chose to send His Son to be born into and raised by a family. What kind of family did God desire for His Son?

In brief we catch a glimpse of this family early in the book of Luke. Let’s look verse by verse to see what we can discern and how we might apply it in our families today.

Luke 2

41 ¶ His (Jesus’) parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.

* In accordance with the Law of Moses, all men were obligated to go up to Jerusalem three times each year (Deuteronomy 16:16): Passover; Pentecost; Tabernacles, however not all men did.

* Women were not required to attend the feasts at all, but if they chose to, the feast of Passover was preferred. Mary’s choice to make this arduous journey, walking for a week in rough terrain down rocky and dusty dirt roads with children to manage was representative of her personal commitment to thanksgiving and worship and her loyalty to the things of God.

* In today’s New Testament terms, this assembling of ourselves together is still a mandate for believers, and with good reason.

Hebrews 10

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,

25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

* Mary and Joseph had a Son in their house that was able to teach them better than all the rabbis or teachers of the law at Jerusalem however they understood the admonition of God to assemble for His purpose and glory. They did not forsake that law.

42 And when He was twelve years old, they (the family) went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.

· 12 years old is a significant age which many believe represents the age of accountability.

· The Jewish teachers tell us that at circumcision a male child becomes a son of the covenant while at the age of 13 a son of the commandment (Bar Mitzvah = Son of the Commandment) fully responsible to perform the duties of an adult under the law of God. (12 years old for a girl, Bat Mitzvah, 13 years old for a boy, Bar Mitzvah)

· The 12th year for a boy is a year of finishing and presentation to show one’s self fit for adult responsibilities and community life. At 13 they are accepted to serve on jury, give testimony, participate in reading of the Torah, marry and be judged as an adult by both heaven and earth.

43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it;

· It is only required that one spend the first two days at the feast, however this family completed the full seven days in reverence and respect of their faith. They went above and beyond the basic requirements revealing their personal convictions and their loyalty and commitment to the things of God.

· This is the type of home and the kind of parents which God chose His Son to be influenced by, raised in and nurtured by.

· The parents assumption that Jesus was with them in the company of people is a reflection of their trust in Him.

44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances.

* It seems reasonable to assume that a good and responsible son of this age would be with family or close friends for the expected journey back home. However, it was not so 12 years earlier when there was no place found for Mary to deliver this child. Her circumstances of life brought such suspicion, rumor and disrespect to them that they were not welcomed to associate with family, not even in their most difficult times.

Now, 12 years later, they are evidently accepted and respected once again as members of the community in Nazareth and their son, once thought to be a result of sin, now embraced as well. This signifies that we can long outlive the past presumptions and suspicions of others should we live with integrity and true virtue day after day throughout the years of life.

* Mary and Joseph were conscious and questioning as to their son’s whereabouts but were not too concerned since a good and responsible son should be trusted with a day’s journey among family and friends.

* As a child gets older we must ready them for the responsibilities of life by lengthening the leash and granting more freedom to make decisions and handle challenges.

We are not raising children but adults. We only have their brief childhood years to accomplish this task.

Parents have dominant influence over their children only during the childhood years.

* However, even when trusted, it is reasonably necessary to know the welfare of one’s child especially at nighttime.

45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.

* Those who seek Jesus will still find Him today.

* They journeyed a day out from Jerusalem and now begin a day’s journey back up to Jerusalem. It will be nighttime once again before they arrive in the city and there is no telling where or with whom He may have lodged. They can’t begin to look for or expect to find Jesus until the third day.

46 Now so it was that after three days (on the third day) they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.

* So, on the third day they find Jesus in His Father’s house, sitting, not standing being instructed or examined, but sitting amongst the teachers interacting with them on a peer level.

47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.

* All who hear Him today are still astonished at His understanding and His answers.

It was on this next point that we had to conclude last Wednesday evening. So for tonight, lets begin afresh here and see what else we can learn about the family God chose to raise His only biological child.

48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously."

* When our children grow up to have knowledge and wisdom of their own which we know we did not impart to them we are all, as Jesus’ parents were, amazed at them.

* This is a typical response from someone who is disappointed with another’s behavior: “Why have you done this to us?” We must take care not to take everything so personal. For Jesus to have respect to His heavenly relationship meant no disrespect to His earthly relationship. Often there is meant no personal harm to those whom we hurt the most in life. Seeking one thing above another does not mean that we do not love, respect and value the other.

There will come a time when all children should look to someone else as their primary focus. Their priorities and loyalties shift, as they must. However, when we see this beginning to occur, we should not automatically read this as disrespect for or severing of the relationship we have enjoyed, just a shifting, re-casting and re-prioritizing of that relationship into a new mold. Children are meant to become friends and peers when we have completed our work of parenting. Our only hope is that it does not happen too early in life or for the wrong reasons.

49 And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?"

* There is similar amazement by the adolescent that the parent cannot see things the same as they do. To the child everything seems very basic and focused on the moment while the parent often sees much farther embracing the bigger picture and the rippling affects.

* In the recognized stages of child development there is a stage where one is fixed on one’s own perceptions, thinking that everyone else sees things from the same point of reference. We know that we are maturing mentally, emotionally and socially when we can also recognize things from someone else’s perspective.

* However, it is different with spiritual growth and maturity. We know we are becoming more spiritually mature when we begin to recognize that there is really only one perspective and it is not ours but our Father God’s. He sees things right and we need to change.

* Though this was Jesus, the parents were right in this case. So, if the parents were right then Jesus, from the parent’s perspective, was wrong. Not that He sinned, for being wrong or making bad or short-sighted decisions does not constitute sin. God gave Jesus parents and expected Him to be submissive, respectful and obedient to them for the time of His raising. God would not have taken His Son disrespecting or dishonoring or disobeying His mother any more than any other good and gracious father would allow that in his home today.

50 But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.

* This is the process of each generation, not only in this case with Jesus and His family but also today. The coming generation often speaks truth which is on a new horizon beyond the grasp of their parents. This, however, does not give the son or daughter a right to be disrespectful, disobedient or to disregard their parental oversight. Your day will come … and often much too soon!

* Just because they did not understand their Son, they did not use this for a time of belittling or hazing, arguing or intimidating. The parents simply heard what he said, did not understand, made a decision which spoke above the differences and went forward in life.

* We as parents today need not pick apart all of those things we think foolish in the conversations of our adolescent children or put them into a small box of thinking … this can stifle creative development and critical thinking/problem solving skills. We might give our children guidelines but make the box big enough to explore as they grow.

51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.

* So, Jesus in all His wisdom, understanding and grace, obeyed Mary and Joseph and went home with them and submitted Himself to them as God would have it.

* Mothers often think deep and long about the future of her child, wondering how the things of life fit into God’s plan for their life.

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

* Children who follow the prescribed pathway of God in respect to the family plan and are obedient and submissive to their parents, honoring them as God’s gift and their guide for instructions of life will also increase in wisdom and standing and in favor with both God and man.

* We all want our children to grow personally and in favor and standing with God and man. Let me tell you the story of my own son’s adventure and how honoring one’s parents can lead to growth and increase in standing and favor with both God and man. (To hear the content of this story, log into the Church Online archives on’s webpage and listen to the message or order the CD or DVD online or from our church offices.)