Make Doing God’s Will a Top Priority

* The following is point 3 from a sermon I preached this last weekend:


Luke 2:48-50


48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.


            When Mary and Joseph found Jesus, they were astonished, literally struck as with a blow. They could not believe that they found him there, calmly answering the questions and engaging in the discussions of the religious teachers.


            Mary shares her exasperation. “How could you do this to us? We’ve been looking everywhere for you. Your father and I have been worried sick.” This is a perfect example of a scared mom who finally gets hold of her missing child. I’d guess that we’ve all received such a scolding at one point or another.


            Jesus has a very strange response, a massive, two-part question, “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Do not read disrespect into this question. This is not some modern American cartoon teenager getting laughs by talking back to his mom. No, this is God the Son. He asks Mary very simply, “Why were you searching for me?” The implied thought is, “You should have known where I would be and that I was safe.” How could he think this? Mary should have known that Jesus had to be in “his Father’s house.”


            Take note of the two times the word father is used in these two verses. Mary said “Your father and I” were searching for you, meaning Joseph, Jesus’ adopted father. Jesus said that he had to be in his “Father’s house.” One thing that is happening here is that Jesus realizes that God, the God of the Bible, is his Father and not Joseph. This thought was not first in Mary’s mind, so Jesus reminds her that he is God’s Son, not your average boy. I don’t know exactly how it all worked, but at this point in his young life, Jesus is expressing that he knows who he is and that he has a mission that is given him by his Heavenly Father.


            Mary has a difficult time understanding what Jesus said. For the past 12 years, her boy has grown up like any other boy. There is no biblical evidence that Jesus did anything out of the ordinary. He grew up and learned like any young man. There are no biblical stories of Jesus taking his turn cooking for the family and somehow only dirtying up one dish while making enough food to feed the whole block. There are no stories of Jesus tricking his little half brothers into trying to walk across a creek without getting their feet wet. No, Jesus grew up like any ordinary boy would—well, except for the whole not having any sin thing.


            For Mary, this was her boy. The songs of the angels in the stories of the shepherds were a thing from twelve years ago. This is why I don’t think she was running prophecies through her head as she ran back to Jerusalem. She just remembered that her boy was missing and she needed to find him.


            There is something for us to learn to do from Jesus’ answer to Mary. Jesus was in the temple because he had to be. It was a divine necessity. He had to be in his Father’s house. Jesus had the will of his true Father to do, and that will trumped everything else in his life.


            Learn from Jesus to make following the will of God a top priority. God has a will for you too. He wants you to follow it. Following God’s will as it is revealed in his word is the most important thing that you can do in your life. More important than buying a car, more important than getting a new job, more important than finding a spouse, the will of God is absolutely your top priority.


            How do you know what God’s will is for you? It is in his word, which we said should be a priority in the last point. If you do not have a relationship with God by his grace through faith in Jesus, God’s declared will for you is that you turn from your sin and trust in Jesus to be forgiven. If you have trusted in Jesus, God’s will for you is that you be baptized as a believer and become a part of a local church family—join the church. If you are a believer who is part of a local church, worship Jesus, grow together in Jesus, and impact the world for Jesus. How do you impact the world for Jesus? You change the world by caring for people and telling them about Jesus. Love God with all you have. Love others as you love yourself. Find your joy in the glory of the God who created you for his glory.


            One more point for parents here. Mary was exasperated because Jesus’ doing the will of God did not fit her comfort. It put her through hardship for Jesus to do God the Father’s will. Parents, are you willing to allow your children to do God’s will, to impact the world for Jesus, even if that will of God does not match your vision for what your little one will grow up to be? Are you willing to raise a little missionary who moves to Africa, to China, or to an Islamic country where they very well might give up their life in the service of the Savior? Are you helping to shape your children for God’s service, or for your own?


            Let’s find the joy of following God’s will. Let’s be like Jesus was at age 12 and do the things that the Father calls us to do no matter what. Let’s follow God’s word totally, as the Bible is where God will speak to us to reveal to us his commands for us.