Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Wisdom and Knowledge; Gifts of God
He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”(V.49)
What did Jesus mean to convey when He referred to the Jerusalem Temple as “my Father’s house”? In the Old Testament we hear of “son” or “sons” of God but this title did not imply full divinity. Rather, it symbolized a special relationship with God (Genesis 6:2, Psalms 2:7, Exodus 4:22, Hosea 2:1, 11:1, Isaiah 1:2, Jeremiah 3:19). A king of Israel was bestowed this title at his enthronement (Isaiah 9:5, Psalms 2:7) based on God's promise to David that his heir would be a "son" of God, beginning with Solomon(2 Samuel 7:14, 1 Chronicles 17:13). Could it be that, for this reason, Luke felt Jesus deserved the title "son" of God as he was perceived as the Davidic heir and rightful King of Israel?
In the New Testament, the title "Son of God" takes on a deeper meaning than what is conveyed in the Old Testament. The Gospel of Luke seeks to present an orderly account of the life and ministry of Jesus, and is the only Gospel that records events surrounding Jesus’ childhood (2:41-52).The fact that Luke includes a childhood experience of Jesus is meant to highlight the unique relationship between God the Father and God the Son.
A cursory read of Samuel’s childhood story (1 Samuel 2-3) will reveal a striking parallel to Jesus’ childhood story (Luke 1-2): compare Hannah’s prayer to Mary’s song of praise, compare the prophecy against Eli to Zechariah’s prophecy, compare the maturity of Samuel to the maturity of John the Baptist / Jesus. Just as Samuel anoints both Saul and David as a "son" of God and the King of Israel, the angel Gabriel proclaims that Jesus “will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.” Also, just as young Samuel was called by God for service so God called Jesus as a young boy. Even more interestingly, Luke parallels Jesus' childhood experience to that of Samuel's in a context where the corrupt priesthood is specifically targeted by God. In Luke 19:45-46 we read of Jesus entering the temple, driving out those who were selling things there, and proclaiming that his Father’s house was to be a house of prayer but others have made it a den of robbers. In trying to restore God’s house to its original purpose, Luke presents God’s Son as perfect transforming agent. Luke’s Gospel argues that Jesus’ claim to sonship is rooted in history, and proceeds to reveal this father- son relationship through a series of historical events in the life of Jesus Christ such as Baptism, Trial and Crucifixion. Leaving no doubt in the mind of his readers, Luke places Jesus at center of Israel’s spiritual life (Luke 2:46), seating him in God’s own house (the Jerusalem Temple), listening to the elders of Israel as they pour out insight of God the Father, and asking the deeply profound, universal (Luke 2:30-32) and life-altering question: “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49). The lesson here is that whether it was the covenant people of Israel or the worshipping community at the Jerusalem Temple or the body of Christ – the Church – today, if God is our Father, then our ultimate obedience must be to Him, and not to any earthly authority, when the two conflict (Luke 9:59-62, 12:52-53, 14:25-26). At times, following God’s Will and abiding in our Father’s house can entail forsaking family, friends and journeying down the road less traveled.
Prayer: “Give Your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern Your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this Your great people?” (1 Kings 3:9)
Thought for the day: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” ( Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Rev. Roy Abraham Thomas, Youth Chaplain, Houston.