Sermon for Christmas 2 – Jan. 3, 2020

+ 2nd Sunday after Christmas – January 1st, 2021 +

Series B: 1 Kings 3:4-15; Ephesians 1:3-14; Luke 2:4-52

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA

 

“Knowing Jesus”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

I remember one of my professors at seminary once saying that one of the best answers you can give when someone asks you a question in bible study is, “I don’t know.”

 

Wise advice. Especially when you don’t actually know the answer! A good reminder that whenever we approach God’s Word, we do so in humility.

 

I imagine that I’m not alone in finding myself reading or hearing a bible story or passage and thinking… “What does this mean? What’s going on? I don’t know.

 

When it comes to Luke’s account of 12-year old Jesus in the temple of Jerusalem there is a lot about this story we don’t know.

 

We’d probably all love to know what Jesus was doing between Luke 2:40 when Jesus is 40 days old in the temple with Simeon and Anna, and Luke 2:41 when Jesus is back in the temple at age 12 only this time he’s out-rabbi-ing the rabbis asking questions and answering better than Hermione Granger. But, we don’t know.

 

And I bet, like me, you’ve wondered on more than on occasion, “what was said during that conversation between Jesus and the rabbis?” As the Teacher incarnate sat in the midst of the teachers of the temple. As he who formed the ear listened, and he who spoke creation into existence astonished them with his answers. Oh to have been a fly on the temple wall and listen in on the questions and answers that flew back and forth between them like a humming bird, buzzing with biblical intensity and fulfillment. But, we don’t know.

 

In not knowing we find ourselves in good company. Ignorance may not always be bliss, but there is such a thing as a blessed ignorance, where God invites us to lean, not on our own understanding, but rather on his and the way in which He chooses to reveal his Word and Wisdom and Love for us.

 

St. Luke invites us to join Mary and Joseph in seeing, hearing, and knowing Jesus through their unknowing turned to knowing. To join them in their travels from unknowing to knowing who Mary’s Son really is and why he came.

 

The whole time Jesus is in the temple, amazing the teachers, St. Luke places us alongside Mary and Joseph, ignorant of what is going on. With them, we take our leave of Jerusalem. With them, we discover Jesus is missing. With them, we search for Jesus. And, with them, we find Jesus in the Temple. Even after finding Jesus and conversing with Him, Mary and Joseph still don’t understand. They walk away full of amazement but yet empty of understanding. Luke tells us, “…they did not understand the saying He said to them” (50).

 

Like Mary and Joseph there is much we do not know, much we do not understand about our Lord and this life.

 

On the one hand this not-knowing can be a good thing. A time for humility. But, we all know that in our sinfulness, we aren’t always good at exercising humility. Just as we’re not so good about not-knowing either. And so in the darkness of our sinful ignorance, our sinful flesh drives us into one of two ditches, despair or pride. To despair that we don’t know anything and therefore nothing really matters at all. Or to pride ourselves into foolishly thinking that we can know and must know all things. Such is the deeper, darker ignorance of sin.

 

And yet, even in the midst of our ignorance, Jesus is walking with us. Jesus joins us in our ignorance, just as he did for Mary and Joseph. That’s the amazing and wondrous thing about this story. God dwells with His people, even when they do not understand.

 

Faith in Christ does not rest on our perfect knowledge of God, but on Jesus’ perfect sacrificial love made known to you by his death on the cross. Our hope and salvation is not found in how much or how little we know, but in God’s grace made known to you in Jesus who was born for you and lived for you and was crucified for you.

 

And while it’s true that there is much we do not know about in Scripture, God has given us His Word that we might hear and rejoice in what he desires us to know: His unending, unconditional, unmerited love towards us in Jesus.

 

As Paul writes…Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love

 

When Mary and Joseph found Jesus, He told them that He it was necessary to be in His Father’s house, doing His Father’s business. They may not have known or understood exactly how this would unfold. Even so, God was there, with them in their journey on the road.

 

The same is true for you today, in this new year or 2021 with all the unknowns that are racing through our hearts and minds. Jesus is with us on our journey. With us in our unknowing, making known God’s great love for you in him.

 

Jesus knows our sin and He who knew no sin became sin for us. Jesus knows our pain, suffering, and sorrow, and came to make that his own that you might be his own.

 

Jesus came to be the shepherd who walks through the valley of death with you. Nothing will prevent God from being with you. He willingly bears your sin. He graciously dies your death. He victoriously defeats your enemy, that He might rise and walk forever with you.

 

Yes, Luke reminds us how much of God’s wisdom is beyond our understanding. And yet God isn’t beyond our reach. For Luke also reminds us that God has chosen to dwell with us. To enter our lives through His Word, to claim us as His own in baptism, and be present with us in his forgiving and healing body and blood in simple bread and wine.

 

Faith is not always knowing. After all, it’s ok to say, “I don’t know.” Rather, faith is holding-on to a mystery. The mystery of God who comes to dwell with you in Jesus.

 

Yes, Jesus amazed the teachers in the Temple, but there is something even more amazing going on in this story. The fact that Jesus has chosen to be with you. To love you. Save you. To know you and be known to you in His Son.

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977
E-mail
staff@mybslc.com