“The Perfect Kid”
Luke 2:41 52
Second Sunday after Christmas
“A Perfect Kid”
Some of us work with and know kids better than others but think about a twelve-year-old kid you know, or think about when you were twelve years old. How many twelve-year-old kids have you ever known who never talked back, never had an attitude problem, always did their chores without nagging them to do it and without complaint, bed was made, bedroom picked up, and generally always did what they were told? I would be willing to wager that you do not know of anyone personally who matches this description. However, in the Gospel lesson for today, we see where Jesus did. In the Gospel lesson for today, we see that Jesus, when he was 12 years old, was perfect, and was obedient, to His earthly parents as well as to His Father father. This morning we are going to examine this text, and we are going to realize that Jesus was “A Perfect Kid,” and we are going to see how this perfect kid helps us today.
In setting the context here this morning, in the verses before this text we read the Christmas account, as well as Jesus being presented in the temple. So Luke jumps from the days when Jesus was an infant to the time He was twelve years old, which brings us to the text this morning.
The first verse tells us that Joseph and Mary went to the Feast of the Passover every year in Jerusalem. It was a Jewish law that every adult male within 15 miles of Jerusalem was to attend the Passover festivities in Jerusalem. When Jesus was 12, the family set out, “according to the custom.” Now this Passover observance would mean a little more to Jesus this year than in the past, for he would be “Bar Mitzvahed” the following year, the traditional Jewish ceremony where a Jewish boy became a man in the eyes of the community. After the seven days of the feast, Mary & Joseph set out with the rest of their caravan. They traveled a whole day, and when they stopped for the night, they figured out that Jesus was not with them. The next morning Joseph & Mary took off to return to Jerusalem and it took them another whole day to get back.
On the third day, they went to the temple, and they found Jesus discussing things with the Jewish priests and religious leaders. It would be like if Matthew (and I realize my youngest is 14) would go to the Seminary and talk theology with the professors there. Now Jesus was not there TEACHING them, that would be disrespectful. But the people there were amazed at his understanding, and the answers He gave to their questions. Mary & Joseph were kind of stumped here, and Mary approached Jesus and asked Him what He was doing. Then she said, “Your Father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” The Greek here literally means, “sorrowing,” that’s how upset they were. And if your kid was missing for three days, you would be upset too. Remember the story I told when I couldn’t find Matthew for thirty minutes?
At any rate, it is at this point that we find the first recorded words of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. And it is interesting to hear what He says. Jesus reply is not a reproof, but an expression of amazement. He says, in effect, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know I would be in my FATHER’S house?” The first thing Jesus said that we find recorded in the Gospel’s, was a statement from Jesus that He was the Son of God. I think that’s really interesting, but Mary & Joseph were apparently too distraught in the parent mode to get it at the time.
Therefore, it is at the age of 12 that we see that Jesus knew who He was and what He was about. But even though He knew all this, He went to Nazareth with His earthly folks and was obedient to them. He had no attitude problem, He obeyed them. He also didn’t do any showing off. And the text ends by telling us that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and grew in favor with God and men. In other words, He did all things well.
So that is who Jesus is. This then leads us to ask the question, “Who am I as a child of God?” So who are you? How do we consider this question from within Baptism, our identity as the children of God? Do you think to yourself that you are your own person, your own boss, the master of your domain, or do you remember that by your Baptism you belong to Jesus? When we think of Sunday School and Catechism, do we think of it as school, as a chore, as something we do, or do we see it as living out our relationship with our Father, and getting to know Him better? Do we think of going to Church and being here on Sunday mornings as an obligation, or something we have to do because God said we had to (Third Commandment) do? Or do we see coming here as a chance to praise, thanks, and be blessed by the Triune God who gives us all good blessings?
If we find ourselves distracted by the other stuff of this life, our jobs, our sports teams, the news, whatever, if we are focused on those things, what does that say about us? Our identity is built on Jesus, the Son of the Father. But do we live, and think, and speak and act as if we know this to be true?
Jesus did. The thing that is important for us here this morning is to realize what this perfect kid means to us. One of the true miracles of this holiday season, and a sign of the love of God for us, is how God made Himself so accessible to us through His son Jesus. He started out with us as a baby, and now we see him as a 12 year old kid. But He is one of us. He is one of us so that He could do that which we are unable to do. We sin. He never sinned. We should die for our sins. JESUS died for our sins. He rose again. And now we have eternal life through Him.
The bottom line, my brothers and sisters in Christ, is that when we see Jesus here in the temple in His dialogue with the Jewish teachers, we see a kid who was truly perfect, who never stayed out too late, who never got into a fight, who never got a speeding ticket, and always minded his folks. And when He grew up, He continued the pattern: He resisted every temptation, taught people God’s word, healed the sick, comforted the mourning, He raised the dead, died for the sins of the world, and rose again. The “Perfect Kid” we find in the Gospel today, grew up to be the “Perfect Man,” our Savior and Lord. (New Year/Not a New Decade) Should any of us get a touch of the post-holiday blues or be discouraged in any way today or at any time in the future, God grant that He remind us of all that He has done for us through that Perfect Kid.
In Jesus’ Name.