Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What Will You Say?

What Will You Say?


This past Sunday we heard the story of a man named Zacchaeus who climbed up into a tree hoping to see Jesus. Zacchaeus got more than he bargained for and perhaps so did many of us from his story.

Remember the points?

1. Jesus is coming to our town

2. Jesus knows us by name

3. Jesus wants to go to our house today

4. Jesus will give us chances others may never give us

5. It may not be all about you

We wondered together about the rippling affects of one person who repents and gets their life right with God. Perhaps Zacchaeus was called to repentance that day for others whom God had on His mind as well. Maybe that poor widow who needed daily bread or that child of God who had been cheated out of his money by Zacchaeus and his unfair tax collecting practices.

Who knows why God does what He does? God does!

Who hears the prayers?

Who sees the needs?

Who knows the resources? God does!

Tonight we are going to continue with our series as we stay with Jesus on His road to the cross during these important last days of His earthly ministry. Much of the New Testament, perhaps a third or more, is focused on these last days of Christ from Galilee to Gethsemane, from Golgotha to the Garden Tomb, from the Resurrection to the Ascension.

These two weeks are filled with so many of the parables and teachings we know and love. It is during these days that Jesus intensifies His ministry and gives us great and eternal truths.

A few days after Zacchaeus’ conversion, Jesus encounters another prominent man as He continues to minister in and around the city of Jericho … we know this prominent man as:

‘The Young Rich Ruler’

Wow, he had it all:

Young --- Rich --- and In Charge

With His mind on the cross but His heart still on people, lets look and see what we can learn from Jesus as He ministers to this man and gives him his chance, just like He gave Zacchaeus.

These few days were spent around Jericho teaching to the multitudes who were camped along the roadside and near the Jordan River crossing where John the Baptist had baptized Jesus just over 3 years earlier. On perhaps Tuesday or Wednesday that week, just outside the city of Jericho, we pick up in the book of Mark, Chapter 10.

Mark 10 NKJV

17 ¶ Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"

18 So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.

19 "You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’"

20 And he answered and said to Him, "Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth."

21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."

22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Notice that in verse 19 Jesus refers this man to the second table of the law, specifically commandments 6,7,8,9 & 10, although not in order, nonetheless Jesus is telling this man that loving one’s neighbor as one’s self is very much a part of a life on the right track.

So many people feel secure however, as did this particular man, in the fact that they are not murders or thieves or liars. The whole message of this story points us to know that these works in and of themselves, although good, are insufficient to secure eternal life.

There is no argument from Jesus as this man confesses his pious self righteous lifestyle. “I have kept all of these commandments since I was a youth.” And yet Jesus says that even though you have been a perfect citizen and moral role model to which all may testify … yet there is:

“One thing you lack.”

The priorities of eternal life demand that we put God first place in our life even above good works and even above the needs of others.

It’s not always about what we do, but why we do what we do and Who we do it for.

God demands to be first. He will not be second place.

This Young Rich Ruler who had it all: youth, money, position, power, prestige, success, a clean record and good credibility was headed straight to hell for one reason and one reason only … This man was not connected to God.

Perhaps there could be many reasons why this guy did what he did and lived like he lived but it is certain that he was not doing it for God, but rather for himself.

Jesus spoke to this and revealed this man’s idolatry. Even though he was keeping the second table of the law which deals with how man treats man, he was not keeping the first table of the law, commandments 1-4, which deal with how man treats God.

Money was this man’s God. Along with the money no doubt came position, power and prestige which he enjoyed so much. Evidently his status and comfort was pretty important to him. Maybe he was prideful and could not imagine becoming ordinary and just like everyone else.

Who knows? God does!

And that day on a road just outside the city of Jericho, God offered this man his chance to change.

Luke 16: 13 "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (NLT)

Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and money.”

The Apostle Paul would later write to Pastor Timothy:

1 Timothy 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

We are not to love the things of this world but rather to enjoy them.

God does not mind us having things, but He does mind things having us.

So many people read the story of this Young Rich Ruler and hear Jesus saying what this Young Rich Ruler must have heard:

I you want to know God you must give up your money.

Jesus never said that!

Jesus did not say ‘give up’, rather He said ‘give to’ … there is a world of difference.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Who Knows?

Who Knows?


We are fast approaching the Easter season which commemorates the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus as the Sacrificial Lamb during Passover week in Jerusalem near the year AD 30. Our calendar puts this year’s celebration of that resurrection on Sunday, April 8th.

Exactly one week prior to Easter is Palm Sunday, which we celebrate next Sunday, April 1st. This is the memorable Sunday Jesus entered into Jerusalem the week before Passover. He was accompanied by a crowd of supporters who laid palm branches along the path; children cried “Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna to the King of Kings”. This event fulfilled the prophecy of Messiah foretold by the prophet Zechariah in:

Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.

Here we are today, yet one week prior to that event, only two weeks before we celebrate Easter. What a great season this is for the church and for all believers. What a wonderful time of the year.

Without the resurrection Jesus would be just another martyr who died standing up for good and right religious moral issues. The resurrection is God’s seal on the finished work of Messiah.

Today we begin our Easter sermon series following the journey of our Lord, from his home in the Galilee to Gethsemane, from Golgotha to the Garden Tomb, and then the Resurrection. Here we are two weeks prior to this year’s resurrection celebration … but where was Jesus when He stood just two weeks away from that first resurrection celebration?

Turn with me to the book of Luke, Chapter 19

Matthew 19, in parallel commentary to Luke 19, tells us that Jesus had left the Galilee on His way to Jerusalem. As was sometimes the case, He crossed over to the East side of the Jordan River and journeyed down through the land inherited by Judah. Once at or near the place where He had been baptized by John, also the same place where Elijah and Elisha had crossed over the Jordan just before Elijah was taken by a whirlwind into heaven, about the same place that Joshua led the Children of Israel across the Jordan into their promised land, Jesus and His disciples crossed over to the West bank of the Jordan River and soon entered into the city of Jericho.

Many parables and teachings are recorded in the Gospels from this leg of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. Included in this week before His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, we find Jesus here in Luke 19 ministering in the city of Jericho.

So many Jews were making their commanded yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover, just as Jesus had done in years past when a boy with His parents. Multitudes walked along together stopping and lodging at convenient places, like Jericho, which was not only on the road to Jerusalem, but also was famed for its seven cool water springs.

This was the last staging area for most pilgrims on their way to keep the feast in the Holy City of Jerusalem. Much excitement would have filled the air along with anxious conversation as people drew near once again to the temple of the Lord. One of the main topics of the day was Jesus of Nazareth. Is He a prophet, a teacher of the law? Is He a heretic or Messiah? Each had their own points of view. And, of course, we have ours.

This would be Jesus’ last time to make this journey and the last time a sacrifice would be required or accepted by God on this holy day.

Jesus was on His way to be that Sacrifice.

The spotless Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. One Sacrifice for all sin forever.

But, He still had two weeks, and there was work yet to be done. With His busy moment and the pressing crowd, He nonetheless took the time to stop and minister to one person who had need.

We begin today with verse 1 of Luke 19 reading from the NLT.

Luke 19

1 ¶ Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town.

2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was one of the most influential Jews in the Roman tax-collecting business, and he had become very rich.

3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowds.

4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree beside the road, so he could watch from there.

5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. "Zacchaeus!" he said. "Quick, come down! For I must be a guest in your home today."

6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.

7 But the crowds were displeased. "He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner," they grumbled.

8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have overcharged people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!"

9 Jesus responded, "Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a son of Abraham.

10 And I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those like him who are lost."

There are at least five truths we glean from this story which apply to us today.

1. Jesus is coming to our town … and it may be the last time!

* This speaks to us of the urgency and the fleeting opportunities of life which we need be aware of.

* We should not pass up one opportunity to see and hear Him.

2. (Without regard to how big or small we may be), Jesus knows us by name

* He wants us to have a personal relationship with Him … He already has one with us, only we may not know it.

* He knows the number of hairs on our head. (Luke 21:7)

* Sometimes we have to climb higher to see Him, but we should never think, that God has not taken notice of us, does not love us dearly, or does not have a plan for our life.

* He may only be waiting for us to make the effort.

3. Jesus wants to go to your house today

* If Jesus can get into our homes, our inner sanctums, our safe havens, our private places … He can change our lives.

* Jesus knows your secrets and He still wants to be with you

* Take Him to your house today with great joy and excitement

4. Jesus will give us chances that others might never give

* If you have been bad, Jesus will give you the chance to be good

* If you have been wrong, Jesus will give you the chance to be right

* Zacchaeus, like the woman caught in adultery in the Gospel of John, chapter 8, was not accused, condemned, criticized or rejected by Jesus. Rather he was loved, forgiven, trusted and blessed. So will it be with all who will make the effort and invite Him in.

5. It may not all be about you

* What about that person in Jericho that day who had been robbed of their possessions, cheated out of their income, who could not afford to pay their rent, buy food or clothing for their family, pay their just and honest debts and perhaps had to endure humiliation or even be put into debtor’s prison?

* Who was praying for Zacchaeus to get right with God? Whose cry was heard from heaven and responded to on earth? Why did Jesus take such an interest in Zacchaeus and lead him to make amends? Could others have been included in God’s plan?

* Which poor widow moved the hand of God to touch Zacchaeus and make him a supply for her daily bread?

* Who hears the prayers? God does!

* Who sees the needs? God does!

* Who knows the resources? God does!

Perhaps it’s not always all about those it seems to be about. Maybe you are but a resource God wants to use.


We need Jesus to come to our homes.

We also need a new day, a fresh chance, a clean start.

We must humble ourselves and make every effort to see and hear Him.

But just as certain:

We need to be willing for Him to use what we have to meet needs we cannot imagine.

Hear Him calling to you?

Invite Jesus into your home today!

It will bless and change your life.

Climb a little higher for Him.

Who knows the impact … God does!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Three Life Stories

Three Life Stories


We are either coming from our greatest day, at our greatest day or on our way to our greatest day … the choice is ours.

This morning we are going to look at three bible characters and their life stories.

Key Scripture: Psalms 27:13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.

Although I am not quite middle aged yet, I have nonetheless lived enough years to know that beyond life’s ups and downs, stands the will of our Father God drawing us onward and upward to greater planes of truth and service.

I know that if the devil cannot make us bad he will try to make us busy, doing anything he can to keep us from participating in God’s plan for life.

If the devil cannot defeat you then he will attempt to defeat someone whose defeat will defeat you.

It seems relentless as the scripture says:

1 Peter 5 NLT

8 ¶ Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.

9 Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.

The devil is roaming around looking for his next victim and we have to be very careful and watch out for his attacks.

It was so in the days of Esther, Queen of Babylon. She was a young Jewish girl who became queen during the time when her people were captives under King Ahasuerus. No one in the royal palace knew that Esther was a Jew.

The right hand man to the King had a great hatred for the Jewish people. He wanted them all to be destroyed and made a plan which was approved by King Ahasuerus and signed into law. Esther was the only one who could speak to the King on behalf of her people to save them from certain destruction.

Esther’s family sent a secret message to her, describing their fate and asking Esther’s trusted servant to:

Esther 4:8b “ … explain it to her and to urge her to go to the king to beg for mercy and plead for her people.”

Esther considered this request but realized just how dangerous it would be and decided against it. She sent the trusted messenger back to her family with a negative reply:

Esther 3: 11 "The whole world knows that anyone who appears before the king in his inner court without being invited is doomed to die unless the king holds out his gold scepter. And the king has not called for me to come to him in more than a month."

Thus concludes the story of Esther, Jewish Queen of Babylon.

· When it came her time to do what was right, she said no.

· No doubt she was a great disappointment to herself and her family.

· She was someone who decided that she had been to her greatest day and was not going to risk losing what she had.

· The end!

What? Not so?

Well for those who know the story of Esther you know that I am telling the truth. She did refuse to help her people … but that is not the end of the story!

Esther’s family made one more appeal giving her some sound advice and encouragement. It can be read in the book of:

Esther 4: 14 "For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

With this additional encouragement Esther reconsidered her role in God’s plan and decided to do her part. She called for a fast from her family and with the plan God gave her, went in to see the King and won a great victory, destroyed all of the enemies of God’s children and went down into the history books as a woman of great faith and courage.

You see, it’s not over until it’s over!

* Esther’s story did not end in the middle of her life.

* Esther’s story did not end in the middle of her challenge.

* Esther’s story did not end with the worst decision she ever made in her life.

* Esther continued to write her life’s story with each and every new decision she made.

We see the same pattern in the life of another bible character named Peter.

This Galilean fisherman was called and chosen to be one of the 12 closest disciples of Jesus. Peter spent more than 3 years in every day service and ministry with the Incarnate Son of the Living God.

Peter heard Jesus’ teachings, received His instructions, ate from the same plate, drank from the same cup, slept in the same house with Jesus. Peter was included in every important moment we read about in the discipleship years. Peter even walked on water, saw the dead raised to life again and witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus in the presence of Moses and Elijah.

Peter was quite a man of God.

However, when Jesus was arrested in a Garden outside Jerusalem, Peter followed the soldiers to the judgment place. Once there he mingled with the crowd to see what would become of his leader.

One of the common girls of the city recognized Peter and began questioning him, accusing Peter of being a follower of this man Jesus. Peter was immediately afraid that he too would be arrested, beaten and condemned to die. He had a choice to make … do I tell the truth or deny my relationship with Jesus? He chose the later. After denying Jesus twice, Peter was once more accused of being a follower of Jesus.

Mark 14: 71 Then he began to curse and swear, "I do not know this Man of whom you speak!"

Afterwards, realizing what he had done, Peter felt so ashamed, so embarrassed, so unworthy and decided to just go back to being a fisherman … evidently he was not cut out to be a follower of Christ.

The end.

What? Is there more? Yes! Sure there is. There is always more!

If it’s bad, God is not finished yet!

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He appears to Peter, forgives him, reaches out to him and restores him to his service and ministry. Peter lives several decades more as a strong Apostle of faith, facing enemies, starting churches, strengthening disciples and participating in God’s will.

Peter’s life and story goes on.

On beyond his challenges

On beyond his bad decisions

On beyond his failures

On beyond his worst days and his worst fears

On and On and On with each new decision he makes.

Peter’s Greatest Days Came After His Worst Failures

1. Jesus re-appeared to Peter John 21:7

2. Jesus recharged Peter’s vision and calling.

3. Peter went on to boldly preach on the day of Pentecost and saw 3000 Jews from all over the world come to accept Jesus as Messiah and Lord.

4. Peter became so identified with Jesus and His healing touch that whole cities would lay their sick out in the streets hoping Peter would pass by and even his shadow might touch them and cause them to be healed, delivered and restored.

* Peter’s story did not end in the middle of his life.

* Peter’s story did not end in the middle of his challenge.

* Peter’s story did not end with the worst decision he ever made in his life.

* Peter continued to write his life’s story with each and every new decision he made.

I told you we would look at three life stories from the bible. Three bible characters:

The first was Esther whose life story did not end with her worst day or worst decision.

The second was Peter whose life story also did not end with his worst day or worst decision.

The third bible character: The third person is You!

You are the target of every scripture in the bible which encourages people to become believers in and servants of Christ.

God has a will and a plan for your life. It will not stop just because you make a bad decision or simply because you disappoint yourself or others at some point in life.

God has a plan for you beyond your worst day and worst decision.

Don’t imagine that your life story ends in the middle of your life, the middle of your challenge or the middle of journey.

There is more to the story than your last success or your last failure.

I can hear Jesus saying now:

Your greatest day is yet ahead!

The journey is your friend.

Turn your life over to Him and His plan. Give it back to Jesus, He is waiting to take you to your greatest day!

Remember our Key Scripture? David said:

Psalms 27:13 I would have lost heart, (fainted), unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.

But what did David know about recovering from bad days, wrong decisions, costly mistakes?

David was: (Not in chronological order)

* Victim of child abuse and neglect (left out with the sheep at night and attacked by bears and lions)

* His adopted parent threw a spear at him

* Was forced to endure demeaning and divisive sibling rivalry

* His motives were continually questioned

* Allowed to fight Goliath & join the military as a minor without parental consent

* He was conspired against to be killed in battle by his own superior

* His Father-In-Law tried to kill him

* His wife was taken from him & granted a divorce without his say

* His wife married one of his war buddies

* David lost his high paying job & credibility

* He became an unemployed homeless bum

* He was wrongly convicted of treason

* His life choices caused his parents to lose everything

* He began an outcast gang and became a gang leader

* Was a fugitive from justice

* Worked as a secret double agent in a foreign country

* Captured and jailed: offered a plea of insanity & was acquitted

* David’s best friend died young

* His wife, children & friends were kidnapped and taken hostage

* He ran a political campaign and was not elected

* He remarried his first wife

* His wife was barren

* He was a polygamist

* His daughter was raped

* He became a peeping Tom

* He committed adultery

* There was incest in his family

* He betrayed and murdered a friend and supporter

* One of his sons murdered another one of his sons

* David’s newborn child died

* He had to judge & banish his first born son from the country

* David’s friends betrayed him

* His father-in-law betrayed

* His children betrayed him

* He lost his kingdom, his throne … his job late in life

* He was publicly ridiculed

* He was pelted with rocks

* His wife was raped

* David was old and homeless

* His son slept with 10 of David’s wives in public

* David battled an employee takeover

* His firstborn dies in a senseless war

* David’s troops rebelled against his leadership

* God passed over David to build His church house

* David lost the circulation in his body

* He aged and became feeble

* He went through a second attempted take over by a son

* David was forced to choose between his children

* David gave up his throne

* David died


Turn your life over to Jesus and His plan. Give it back to Jesus, He is waiting to take you to your greatest day!

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.)