Being About God’s Business

“And He said to them, ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?'” (Luke 2:49)

You are, I’m sure familiar with the story. Jesus was at the temple at the age of 12. He had accompanied his mother and father to the Passover feast. When the feast was over, Mary and Joseph traveled along in the caravan back home. They thought Jesus was with the group. Suddenly, they discovered that he was missing, and they retraced their steps back to Jerusalem. They found Jesus talking with the educated men of the day in the temple. When they expressed their concern for him, he replied that they should have understood he must already be about his Father’s business.

This story has always fascinated me. It presents many questions that I don’t have answers to and forces me to simply accept, by faith what is recorded in the Scripture. There is nothing wrong with asking questions — in fact — you should ask questions. The problem comes when you continue to question things AFTER you get the answer just because the answer is beyond your ability to comprehend or understand. The Bible teaches that God’s ways are not our ways, so therefore there will be times (many times) when we won’t have a humanly logical answer to all our questions. We simply accept that God is sovereign and holy and that whatever He does is ALWAYS good and right.

One of my biggest questions surrounding the life of Jesus has always been…when did Jesus realize his unique relationship to God. The Bible teaches clearly that Jesus was 100% human and 100% divine. As a boy, I’m sure Jesus studied the Scriptures (our Old Testament). On the other hand, God must have revealed to him early in his life his role as Savior and Redeemer. Again…this is one of those questions that far exceeds my pay grade and I simply accept that Jesus knew exactly what He was supposed to know at every level of life.

I bring that up to illustrate that answering the question I asked is not the point of this passage of Scripture. The ultimate question that confronts us in this story is this…What is the Father’s business? What was Jesus referring to when He said, “I must be about my Father’s business?”

We have very little information about the childhood/teenage years of Christ. I imagine that time was used to prepare Him to launch out into God’s work. There are some wild tales that are told in non canonical literature concerning Jesus’ childhood — but don’t take them seriously. Traditions and stories abound of how Jesus astounded his playmates by performing miracles as a child — but there is no historical proof to go along with those stories. We simply don’t know how God used the time of Jesus’ youth to prepare Him for ministry.

What we do need to understand is this. The work Jesus had come to do was REDEMPTIVE. Even as the Old Testament is not a history of Israel, but a history of God’s redemptive work, so the New Testament is not a record of Jesus’ life nor the life of any other person. The New Testament is a record of God’s redemptive work. The gospel writers were not compiling a biography of Jesus. They were telling the story of the redemptive grace of God that was given to us by His Son, Jesus. THAT is the work in which Jesus was constantly engaging.

Interestingly, Luke says that Mary and Joseph didn’t understand what Jesus said to them. That’s not surprising. I get the same reaction from people in the world today when I preach about the work of God. Those who do not know Jesus Christ in a personal way do not understand the mission of Christians. Those of us who have been saved, have a job. We are witnesses concerning the grace of Jesus Christ and the change that can come when the Holy Spirit transforms a life.

The secular world simply does not understand. They don’t understand our emphasis on GOING to all the world to carry the Gospel. Years ago, a preacher was attacked by a secular newspaper in an editorial. The paper wrote, “I simply do not understand how a red-blooded he-man could devote his life to preaching such a message.” The preacher replied the next day from the pulpit. He said, “I completely agree with that editor at the newspaper. He does not understand.”

Those of us who KNOW Jesus Christ as our personal Savior DO understand and we consider it a great privilege and joy to invest our lives in doing our Father’s business.

Have a great day.

God’s Last Word

“God, who at various times and invidious ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;” (Hebrews 1:1-2)

Happy New Year!

I realize I’m a few days into 2016, but here I am nonetheless. I look forward to sharing some of my thoughts with you during this year and I pray you are blessed by these devotional thoughts.

The Bible is God’s Word.

“Really Pastor? You’re going to start with that one? Thanks for the newsflash!”

I see your sarcasm has not diminished with the dawning of a new year. Yes…this is where I start every year. The Bible is God’s Word. It does not contain God’s Word…it IS God’s Word.

Because of that fact, millions upon millions have had their lives changed by the message of the Bible. Many attempts have been made to destroy the Bible, but all have failed. In A.D. 303 Diocletian, emperor of the Roman Empire, set out to destroy all the Bibles in the land together with the people who possessed them. He believed that Christians could not exist apart from the Book they claimed as their rule of faith. Thousands of Christians were cruelly martyred in this bloody onslaught. Within a few years Diocletian felt his drive had been so successful that he erected a column over a burned Bible and wrote on the column these words: extinct nominee Christianorum (“The name of Christian is extinguished”). Yet by A.D. 313 the new Roman emperor, Constantine, had declared himself a Christian and had adopted the symbol of the cross for the standards of his Roman army.

The Bible remains, not because of some magical power it possesses, but because of the risen Christ who stands behind it. Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us that JESUS is the ultimate Word of God. He is God’s last word in at least three ways…

Jesus is God’s last word in communication. Ever since the Garden of Eden, God has sought to communicate to people the message of life. The Bible is not only a record of God’s communication, but is itself a part of God’s communication. People can discover many things about the created universe, but only God can reveal to us the spiritual truths that we need for life.

In revealing Himself to people, God had to lead a step at a time. Sin had so blinded the minds of people that God could reveal only a small portion of truth at a time. God worked slowly because we are so slow to understand. The Old Testament prophets worked like people putting together a giant puzzle. Here and there God handed them a piece of the picture. Each fragment was accurate but was only a part of the total picture. The puzzle took its final shape with the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. God began a communication to people thousands of years before He was to present His final communication — His last Word — as Jesus Christ.

Jesus is God’s last word in salvation. Prior to Jesus’ coming, people experienced salvation through faith in God’s promised Savior. Since Jesus’ coming, we have experienced salvation through faith in the revealed Savior. If you continue reading Hebrews 1, you see Christ described as “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person” (v. 3). Jesus Christ was the exact reproduction of God’s being. Jesus Christ is our Redeemer. Christ personally effected the removal of our guilt. He provided the necessary cleansing of our sins. We don’t need a human priest because Jesus is our ultimate High Priest. He did for us in salvation what we were and are incapable of doing for ourselves.

Jesus is God’s last word in exaltation. When Jesus came to this earth, the Jews were anticipating a conquering Messiah who would dispose of their Roman captors. Jesus made it perfectly clear that was not His purpose for coming to earth. However, there would be a final triumph — a final exaltation. The final exaltation will come when Jesus comes again.

Paul reminds us in Philippians 2:9-11, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Heaven and earth as we know them will pass away and grow old. Christ will roll them up and exchange them for new heavens and a new earth (Rev. 21:1). Scientists have set forth what they call the “second law of thermodynamics,” which says that the universe is gradually losing heat and is thus slowly running down. The Bible says it more poetically by describing the universe as an old piece of clothing that gradually is becoming worn-out. In the face of those prospects, God promises a final exaltation…and Jesus will be the last word there too. Revelation 11:15 says, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”

Jesus Christ is God’s last word to us — what more could He say? The salvation He offers us through Christ is never obsolete or irrelevant. I pray that throughout 2016, you and I will listen and follow as God speaks to us by His Son through His Word.