Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jesus - Godly Priorities

This year we will study the life and person of Jesus Christ, his humanity and deity. We spent most of December looking at the birth of Christ. Last week Bro. Al talked about the inter-testament period when the Jews lived with no open vision or revelation from God. For 400 years the Jewish people had no new prophecy. Then the Angels begin to appear and foretell the birth of Christ, these new revelations signal a new period in God’s dealing with mankind.

John 1
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
[The term “Word” is used like a proper noun, as someone’s name. The Greek word is logos is properly translated “Word” but it was a loaded term to the Greek philosophers. They had argued for years in metaphysical terms about truth, and in that debate “logos” was an ultimate truth, or word from God. So in this context Jesus is the personification of God’s ultimate truth, his revelation to mankind. So for 400 years Israel heard nothing from God, then the silence is broken as God reveals his ultimate truth to mankind. This is like going from a drought to a monsoon. God not only gives his word, thus saith the Lord, but the word becomes flesh and stays to live with mankind. So now man has the opportunity to see truth in action, by observing the life of Jesus.]
Luke 2
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.
[During part of the inter-testament period it was a crime to keep the feast and sacrifices of the Law, but once the temple was restored Jews who lived in the region would travel to Jerusalem for the most important observances of the Law. Mary and Joseph did this for Jesus circumcision and dedication, and they did it each year at Passover traveling from Nazareth. So when Jesus was 12 he was considered old enough to go to the temple. He would be expected to keep these observances when he was 13, but at 12 this may have part of his religious training to go and observe.]
43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother[l] 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.
[Mary and Joseph would normally travel in caravans with friends, family and neighbors. So it was like breaking camp, when everyone would know it was time to go. Yet when they did see Jesus by the end of the day his parents began an urgent search, returning to Jerusalem to find 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.
[Travelers would take the opportunity of having access to the Rabbis and Priest to enhance their understanding of scripture and the faith. So the teachers would linger in the temple courtyard and learners would ask questions and have discussions with the religious leaders. They found Jesus in the middle of these discussions.]
47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.
[So here is a 12 year old boy full of insight and understanding regarding the scriptures and the faith. His knowledge reveals, that his deity granted him a level of understanding equaling and surpassing that of the rabbis.]
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.
[So apparently Jesus had not revealed his special understanding of scripture before, because his own parents were “amazed” that he was so engaged in these discussions. Now Mary and Joseph knew who Jesus was, they had heard the revelation of the angels, but it seems that up until now Jesus had appeared to them somewhat normal for a boy his age, so they treated him as they would any of his peers. Now Mary gives a mom reaction “What are you doing to me, I’ve been looking for you for 3 days”. But Jesus answered, “didn’t you know what I was doing”. Some translation say “father’s business” others say “father’s house”, but all the Greek text says is “father”, so another interpretation might be “Didn’t you know I must be with my father”. Have you ever desired to be with God that much?]
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.
[Now we have already studied how Jesus fulfilled the law. So Jesus actions were not disobedient or dishonoring to his parents. He was just revealing he knew who his father was, and making knowing God a priority in his life. Luke clears up any misconceptions here. He was not rebellious, he was submissive. He knew his purpose would be revealed in time, for now his job was to learn and grow to become the teacher who would minister to thousands once his time was come. Also notice how Mary would store these memories away knowing that God was with him in a very special way]
Ephesians 6
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
[One of the distinctive features of Judaism different from pagan religions is that all religions dealt with your relationship to god, but the Law of Moses had as much to say about our relationship to each other as to God. So how we effect each other’s lives is important to God. But knowing God richly and fully, is most important. Here we see Jesus putting his time with God first, but still being noted as a submissive and obedient son of man.

It is sometimes difficult to set priorities that put God first without neglecting our responsibilities to family, friends and neighbors. As we study the life of Christ pay attention to his actions, but understand that he took no wife and sired no children. So his adult life was devoted to God, but he still made himself a servant to man. Let’s focus on Godly priorities this year.]

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