Luke 2:41-52 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Boy Jesus Amazes the Scholars
41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.
42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.
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;
44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances.
45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.
46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.
47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.
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.”
49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”
50 But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.
Jesus Advances in Wisdom and Favor
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.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
Where do you find Christmas? Is it in the gifts?
--Shopping? Carols and cards? Decorating the tree?
--The excitement of little children? Family, friends?
--Where do we find Christmas? We find it in Christ!
--Without Christ, we may celebrate; but we really do not have Christmas without Christ, our Messiah.
We know of Jesus' birth, Christmas long ago, in Bethlehem; born of the Virgin Mary, in a stable. Unusual.
--A most unusual birth - "God with us - Immanuel."
--A most unusual Child, announced by choirs of angels.
--And a most unusual star, leading wise men from afar.
--To live a most unusual life - sinless! To save us!
The angel announced, "I bring you good tidings of great joy, for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord"(Acts 2:11).
--Shepherds came to see the "Baby lying in a manger."
--We read of Jesus' dedication in the temple at 8 days.
--The blessing of aged Simeon. And "prophetess Anna."
--"The Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; God's grace was with Him" (v 40).
Twelve years quickly pass, in Nazareth; little known.
--Next we read what only Luke relates, of Jesus going to Jerusalem, to Passover, with Mary and Joseph.
--They went to Jerusalem "every year .. to Passover."
--It lasted 8 days, "when they had finished" they began their journey back home with a group, "supposing (Jesus) to have been in the company!" He was not.
They needed to find Jesus, the Christ of Christmas.
--They looked for Him all of three days, seeking!
--Like we all, they needed to find Jesus; but where?
--"They found Him in the temple," people amazed at Him.
--"All were astonished at His understanding, answers."
We've had the Baby Jesus taken from an outdoor manger.
--That's nothing compared to your own son, missing!
--In a crowded Steel Pier at Atlantic City many years ago our small son got lost. Praise God, was found.
--There was great rejoicing! Also when Jesus is found. "They found (Jesus) in the temple." A good place.
--Fact is, if Christ is missing, is it Christmas?
--Let's find Christmas! Find Jesus! It is His day.
--Christmas is Christ. "God with us - Emmanuel."
--Jesus is the reason for this most wonderful season!
--That's why everyone needs to find Him! As Savior!
What if Jesus had never come, there'd be no Christmas.
--Can you imagine what a dark, cold, cruel world without the love, joy , peace of the Christmas Christ?
--I heard David Jeremiah speak of the necessity of the coming of Christ that first Christmas. We need Him!
--God planned it from the beginning, to save a world.
--There must be a Christmas or the Bible is untrue!
--Without Jesus come down, God would be truly unknown!
--He came to "dwell among us" to show what God is like!
--Without Christ coming, our sins still unforgiven!
--You see, Jesus took our place on that cross.
--Moreover, many of our prayers would be unanswered!
--And, our hope of heaven and life eternal unfounded!
--Friend, by His resurrection our hope is certain.
Many know that Christ is the Savior of the world.
--And that is great. But is Jesus your Savior? Lord?
--We must surrender our all to Him in repentance, and in faith - in godliness, humility, and grace.
Like Mary and Joseph, when we find Jesus, we have the Christmas Spirit of Christ, in our hearts.
--He begins the joy-bells ringing, that never stop.
--The commencement of constant gratitude to our God.
Like any Mother, Mary said to Jesus, "Son, why have You done this to us?" (v 48). They had looked anxiously.
--Don't you know they had indeed, and in prayer also.
--Let's always do that, for our loved ones, friend What did Jesus say? "Did you not know I must be about My Father's business?" So should we. Show our love.
--Let's make clear communication. Always needed.
--Rather than in "the temple," many look elsewhere.
--Thank God, the lost was found - safe.
--"His mother kept all these things..in her heart."
--Jesus, "about His Father's business" at age 12, wow!
--Mary "pondered all these things in her heart."
--That's the way to make the invisible God, visible.
Finding Christ and Christmas includes four things.
I. THE MATCHLESS LOVE OF GOD .. THAT THOUGHT IT.
--The Christmas Story is ever new, with new meaning.
--New insights .. understandings .. and values.
--You see God loves us. He made us - not evolution.
--God created man, knowing man would sin, like Adam.
--Try as we may, we all disobey God's commands.
--That's why you and I need a Savior - Christmas!
"From the foundation of the world" God Himself was to be the One to come, as "the lamb" to take away sin.
--"In the fullness of time," Jesus came as promised.
--To pay sin's debt He didn't owe; we couldn't pay.
What the Law, animal sacrifices, rituals and commands could not do, Jesus did, and does. For anyone of us.
--And "not by our works," but by "His grace."
Friend, Jesus gladly came down, "humbled Himself."
--"Dwelt among us" as our "Immanuel, God with us."
--Showed us what God is like. And took our place.
--Who else could - or would - do all Jesus did for us?
--No greater love! Ever! The love of God thought it!
--It is the kind of love all the world needs.
Do you know John 3:16, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
--Nowhere, by no One else, can you find love like that.
It deserves our response, don't you think? I did.
--God has taught me how to love, and is teaching me.
The Bible says, "Love the Lord with all your heart."
—Jesus said, "Love your neighbor .. your family."
--He even said, "Love your enemies..do good to them."
--The love of God asks us to "love one another."
--How? "As He has loved us," Jesus declared.
That includes all our families. Loved ones, friends.
--Neighbors, others. The unsaved. Unchurched. All.
II. CONSIDER THE LIFE OF JESUS .. THAT BROUGHT IT.
--God the Father thought it, God the Son brought it.
--There is but One God; Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
--The Unity, in the Trinty, as a thought, word to express the thought, and the breath or Spirit to do it.
--Jesus always was, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (Jn 1:1).
--God says, "I know the thoughts I have for you...."
--Thoughts are revealed by words, and they by breath.
--Thus, simply, God became visible and known in Jesus.
--Another divine purpose of Christ's Christmas birth.
Jesus is "God with us!" He is today by His Spirit, in the hearts of His believers, with us. That's great.
--An atheist wrote a book, GOD IS NOWHERE; but his daughter saw it, to read as "God is now here!" He is!
--In Jesus, and in His Holy Spirit, in us.
--And that is marvelous, isn't it? No wonder we read, "His name is called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
--As a result that author became a believer, all because his young daughter had become "born again"!
III. IT TOOK THE CROSS OF JESUS .. THAT BOUGHT IT.
--Remember Christmas, and forgiveness, is a gift.
--But it cost Jesus His life, to bring it to us.
--How much do you and I appreciate His gift, of life?
--Enough, to give Him our life, to live for Him?
Let's open God's gift to us, as we open our hearts to Him, this Advent, and with each coming dawn.
--Jesus is the one gift greater than all others.
--We find it under the "tree" at Calvary, as I did.
--Everything has a price - even salvation, heaven.
--And our Savior, Lord and God, paid it for us all.
IV. DON'T MISS THE GREAT JOY .. OF ALL WHO SOUGHT IT.
--Christmas joy must be sought. Be found of God.
--"Seek the Lord while He may be found..." in joy.
--The Gospel is full of joy .. to and for the world.
--Mary, Joseph, angels, shepherds, wise men, Simeon, Anna, and all the rest, tell of joy. So will you!
Find Christ and you find Christmas in your life daily.
--Just a prayer away!
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 890