Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Bethany Bullet-Tuesday, January 6, 2009

“Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When Jesus was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us like this?’” Luke 2:41-48a

The Destination – The family traveled to Jerusalem, a full-day’s journey from home, to celebrate the Passover. This is the celebration of what God had done for His people. “With an outstretched arm and a mighty hand” He worked His wonders and the firstborn of Pharaoh died and through the blood of the lamb, the grace of God and the power of His Word the children of Israel found deliverance from the land of bondage and were brought to the land God had promised on oath long ago to Abraham. For the faithful in the days of Jesus’ this was Christmas and Easter rolled into one. This was a big deal!

The Exasperation – They traveled in the company of family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. The word Luke employed for this company is one which we are, or at least should be, familiar with: ‘synoida’, i.e. Synod. In our church body, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, the term means ‘walking together.’ That definition is derived from this text, the ‘synoida’, the company, traveled together. The holy family was frantic. Jesus was not with them. They had lost their son, God’s Son. You can imagine the exasperation. The church is the holy family of God. How much of the church’s exasperation is based upon journeying to and from religious custom and spiritual duty but leaving that which makes us holy, Jesus, behind?

The Temptation – As soon as they found Jesus they asked, “Why did you treat us like this?” Mary and Joseph accuse Jesus of mistreatment. Their charge, he has acted against their best interests and well-being. Jesus, according to his folks, has betrayed the ‘synod.’ They felt justified in leveling that charge – as do we. We too have asked why God has mistreated us and caused us to lose a child, a marriage, a job, a home, a hope, our health and the list goes on and on. We have just assumed that God would be ‘in tow’ follow our lead, our timing and do what we thought was best.

The Revelation – For the sins of those who raised Him and all of us who have followed Him, for the guilt of His parents and we His children, as a boy Jesus gave answers on Passover, and as a man Jesus became the Passover answer. He is the very Lamb of God. By His blood we have been delivered from sin and opened for us is the Promised Land. What is lost is the power of guilt to threaten, the grave to beckon, and the devil to frighten. For in Christ we have been provided forgiveness and ‘synoida’ – a company with one another and more importantly with God Himself, who in Christ, journeys with us through life into eternity.


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