Sunday, February 25, 2007

Jesus Loved God

Jesus Loved God


Gustave Dore was an European artist who lived during the middle of the 19th century. His art, much of it being religious, survives primarily as black and white engravings

As Gustave Dore was putting the finishing touches on the face of Christ in one of his paintings, an admiring friend stepped quietly into the studio. She looked with bated breath upon the painting.

Dore sensed her presence and said graciously, “Pardon, madam, I did not know you were here.”

She answered, “Monsieur Dore, you must love Him very much to be able to paint Him thus!”

Love Him, madam?” exclaimed Dore, “I do love Him, but if I loved Him better I would paint Him better!”

If we loved Christ better, we would indeed serve Him better. 1

During the next few minutes I want to look at the one who loved God the most – Jesus Christ.

Read: Luke 2:41-52


Trans: The passage can be divided into four movements, four sections, that help us understand Jesus' love for God.

  1. Jesus' Atmosphere

    1. The passage that we are looking at is unusual – it is the only passage in the New Testament that gives us glimpse at Jesus' childhood.

    2. I am a bit surprised though. You see if God had commissioned me to write a story about Jesus' childhood, I would not have been so silly as to include an incident where Jesus managed to scare the wits out of His parents.

    3. I mean, since Jesus was perfect, and I don't think any of us doubt that, I would want to show those who had never met him what a perfect child was like. Instead Luke chooses one incident that makes it appear that Jesus is a normal child. A child that sometimes did things his own way instead of his parents way.

    4. Jesus certainly knew what was expected of Him – His parents had been going to Jerusalem for years to celebrate the Feast of the Passover

(Ill.) Passover was one of the earliest feasts celebrated by the Israelites. It was a celebration of God's work in bring His people out of Egypt – specifically a reminder of the mercy God showed those who followed His instructions and painted lamb's blood on the door posts. For over 1400 years it had been one of the high points of the religious year for the faithful Jew. And it had been the practice of Jesus' family to make the trip to Jerusalem each Spring.

(Ill.) Many of us have regular plans for the holidays. Let me tell you of two of ours. We have dear friends in Kearney, NE. I have told you of Franklin Saltzgaber before – he was one of those prayer partners who met with me at a time when I was struggling with my Christian life. Franklin and Linda had another practice that made them special to us. Every Christmas, they opened their home to those who had no family in the area. Except for our kids, we had no family in the area – and Franklin and Linda invited us to join them for Christmas dinner. And they continued to do so ever after we moved away from Kearney. For ten years we became part of their family. More recently, we have established a new tradition – one which you have been part of – our annual trip to the United Methodist Congress on Evangelism. Family traditions are not new – and Jesus' family had them too.

    1. And Jesus's family's tradition laid the foundation for Jesus' growth. Year after year they made this trip to Jerusalem.

    2. It was this atmosphere that allowed Jesus to develop His love of God.

  1. Jesus is Absent

    1. Though the annual trip to Jerusalem was not unusual, the trip home was not.

    2. His parents had every reason to expect that Jesus would return with them.

    3. But, like many 12 year old boys and girls, He had a mind of his own.

    4. Mary and Joseph thought they had it under control – Jesus was most likely with the friends and relatives that had made the annual journey with them.

    5. But when Jesus started missing meals, they began to worry, and started asking around – and when they could not find Jesus, they went back to Jerusalem.

(Ill.) Perhaps they were like the mother I heard about recently who mother attended a service in a the large and crowded auditorium of a large megachurch with her little daughter, Mary. In some manner the two became separated.

The mother sent a note to the platform which was read aloud: “If there is a little girl named Mary Moore in the audience, who is lost, will she please raise her hand so her mother can find her.” No little girl raised her hand so the mother had the police searching the city for the child. Still not finding her, the mother came back and stood at the door of the auditorium as the people filed out. Among the last of them was Mary.

Her mother snatched her up, crying, “Where were you, Mary?”

“On the front row,” replied the little one.

“Didn’t you hear the man read the notice, ‘If there is a little girl named Mary Moore in the audience, who is lost, will she please raise her hand so her mother can find her?’“

“Yes,” said Mary, “I heard it.”

“Then why didn’t you raise your hand?”

“Why, Mother, it couldn’t have meant me,” said Mary, “for I wasn’t lost. I knew where I was.”2

    1. It is pretty obvious why Mary and Joseph went back – it was the only place where Jesus could be. But I do wonder why it took them three days to find Jesus in the Temple. I mean they knew more about Jesus than anyone, at that point. And yet it took them three days to find Jesus at the temple.

(Appl.) If the two people who knew Jesus best, the two people who knew more about where His heart lay took three days to find Jesus, should we be surprised that it sometimes takes us time to understand what Jesus wants of us?

  1. Jesus' Answers

    1. It did take three days – but they found Him.

    2. He was in the temple – and He certainly was surprised it took them so long to find Him. Jesus expected that His parents would know where to find Him, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Didn't you know that I would be home?

    3. But two things hit me as interesting – First, Jesus was sitting with the most scholarly Jews in Jerusalem. His parents found Him "sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions." Even at this point, He was a serious student – listening to his teachers and asking them questions. It would have been fun to sit there with Jesus and listen in on those three days of conversations.

    4. But there was something else – look at the next verse. "Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers." Here is the other reason I would have like to be in that temple – to hear what answers Jesus was providing

(Ill.) Ronald Reagan once pointed out that "the answer to each problem is to be found in the simple words of Jesus of Nazareth, who urged us to love one another."3

    1. Here's the kicker – Jesus loved God. He spent his time learning more about Him and sharing what He knew. It was the focus of His discussions.

(Appl.) How often is Jesus the focus or our discussions?

  1. Jesus' Advances

    1. But even at twelve, Jesus was not done growing. In the last verse of passage this morning, we a wonderful picture of the growth that Jesus experienced, even as His love of God grew.

    2. "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." Jesus was not static – he grew. If you look closely at this passage you will see that Jesus grew mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially.

    3. If Jesus grew, it makes sense that we also need to grow.

(Appl.) There is another lesson here – we have to let others grow as well. It is too easy to fall into the trap of expecting other Christians to be here (hands up high) and then being disappointed when we find they are someplace down here (move hands down). If Jesus grew and he was the only one to ever make it here, we need to let others be down here. And sometimes that is hard – life would be so much better if everyone were perfect. It would not even be so bad if everyone were perfect except me or you. But then it doesn't work that way. All of us are in here in the middle some where – and it is only when we let both ourselves and those around us live where God knows we live that we can be most happy.

Conclusion: Jesus did love God. If we are going to love like Jesus loved, we too need to love God.


1Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

2AMG Bible Illustrations. 2000 (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; Bible Illustrations Series. Chattanooga: AMG Publishers.

3Federer, W. J. (2001). Great Quotations : A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Quotations Influencing Early and Modern World History Referenced according to their Sources in Literature, Memoirs, Letters, Governmental Documents, Speeches, Charters, Court Decisions and Constitutions. St. Louis, MO: AmeriSearch.

1 comment:

John said...

That was a really good sermon illustration. But I'm an art geek, so I'm likely to react that way.