Jesus the Savior: The Son | Luke 2:41-52
Brian Hedges | January 10, 2021
Let me invite you to turn in your Bibles this morning to the second chapter of Luke, Luke 2. This morning we will be completing a series we began about eight weeks ago looking through the first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke. We’ve been focused on the infancy, the birth narratives of Jesus Christ, the things leading up to his birth, and then the events that are subsequent to his birth, including the passage recorded this morning.
Last Sunday I was out of the pulpit; I’m thankful for the labor of Jamie Woods, who brought the message, encouraging us to have a passion for the word of God in the year 2021. I hope every one of us will take that to heart both in our personal devotion to Scripture, but also we embody that passion as we gather together to open God’s word together as the corporate body of Christ. One of the ways we express a passion for God’s word is by the careful and systematic study of Scripture. One of the reasons why we usually make the staple diet of teaching at Redeemer Church the exposition through books of the Bible is so that we can cultivate a passion for God’s word.
If you’ve been around here for very long, you know that we go through books of the Bible or sections of books, a little bit at a time, a chapter at time. We’re just completing Luke 1-2, and next Sunday we’re going to return to an ongoing series through the book of Genesis. If you’ve been here for any length of time, you know that we’ve looked at the story of creation and the fall, Genesis 1-3. In a separate series we looked at Genesis 4-11, where we looked at the stories of Cain and Abel, all the way up through the flood and the Tower of Babel. That series was called “Salvation through Judgment.” A little over a year ago we looked at the life of Abraham, and we spent I think about 16 weeks together journeying with Abraham in Genesis 12-22. Next Sunday we’re going to pick right back up; we’re going to take the story of the patriarchs—Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph—and for about 12 weeks we’re going to be working through that second half of the book of Genesis. I’m calling this series “God’s Faithfulness to Broken People,” and I think this will be an encouraging series for us as we look at the stories of these fathers of the faith, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.
But this morning we’re going to complete Luke 2, and we’re going to be in verses 41-52; Luke 2:41-52. I just want to begin by reading the passage. This is an important passage for us and a passage that has much to teach us about the Lord Jesus. Luke 2, beginning in verse 41.
“Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day's journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.’ And he said to them, ‘Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?’ And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”
This is God’s word.
This is a unique passage of Scripture because it is the only passage, it’s the only story, recorded in the four Gospels of Jesus’ boyhood. We have the infancy narratives in Luke 1-2 as well as in Matthew 1-2, but then there’s basically silence from the time Jesus was just a baby until he begins his earthly ministry with his baptism, except for this one story, when Jesus is 12 years old.
It’s an important story that teaches us, I think, five important things about Jesus. You get the setting, of course, in verses 42-46. Jesus’ family was a devout Jewish family. It was God’s law that Jewish men would go to Jerusalem, they would take a pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a year for the three primary Jewish festivals or feasts, one of which was Passover. Passover, of course, was the annual celebration of God’s deliverance of the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt. This was the custom of Joseph and Mary, to go to this festival once a year. This year they went, and Jesus was 12 years old.
It was an important year in the life of any Jewish boy. When a Jewish boy turned 13 years old, he would be considered a son of the law, he would be considered legally obligated to keep the law of God. Legally he would be considered an adult. So that 12th year was a special year, the year of transition from boyhood into adulthood.
In this 12th year, Jesus goes to the temple, goes to Jerusalem with his family to celebrate the Passover. When they leave, they leave with a great caravan of people. I’m sure there were many Galileans who were traveling together. And Jesus is not with his parents; they think he’s with someone else. They get to the end of the day and they realize that Jesus is not with them!
You can only imagine the panic, or maybe you’ve experienced this if you’ve ever lost one of your children. I confess, it has happened to us; it’s probably happened to many of you. I remember years ago when we actually, at the end of the service here at church, we could not find Matthew. We did not know where he was, and it took probably 20 or 30 minutes before we finally located. He just liked to wander off and explore the nooks and crannies of the church, and I think that’s what had happened, but we were almost panicked, wondering where he had wandered off to.
Well, can you imagine how Joseph and Mary felt when it took them three days to find their son, Jesus? But when they do find him, they find him in the temple, and you have here not only this interesting story, but you have the very first recorded words spoken by Jesus in the Bible. When you look at this story, you look at what Jesus said, it teaches us five very important truths about Jesus, and I want us to look at those five truths this morning, as well as some of the ways these truths apply to our own lives.
1. Jesus’s Astounding Wisdom
Five truths about Jesus, and the first thing to note is Jesus’s astounding wisdom. You see this in verses 46-47. When his parents finally find him, they find him in the temple. That’s where we are in verse 46. “After three days, they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.”
Jesus here, at 12 years old, is already astounding people, amazing people with his wisdom, his understanding. No doubt they were talking about the Scriptures, the Old Testament Scriptures. It was a dialogue; Jesus was both asking questions and was giving answers. It was a dialogue, but they were astounded, they were amazed at the wisdom, the understanding of the boy Jesus.
Of course, we understand this now because we know, as the apostle Paul said, that in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Jesus was wisdom incarnate, he was the word made flesh, and here he was, in his developing and growing humanity, growing in his knowledge, his understanding of the Scriptures. Of course, it’s a foreshadowing of what will happen in Jesus’ earthly ministry, when he arrives on the scene and he begins teaching, and people say, “No man ever spoke as this man speaks. No one has ever taught with this kind of authority.”
I think anyone who’s ever paid the least bit of serious attention to the words and the teaching of Jesus has to recognize the wisdom in what he taught. Even many non-Christians have recognized the wisdom of the teaching of Jesus. You might think, for example, of Gandhi, who was so formed by his reading of the Sermon on the Mount. Now, Gandhi was Hindu; he was not a Christian. He rejected many of the claims of Jesus, but he still could respect the moral teaching of Jesus. He recognized that there was wisdom there.
When you read the teaching of Jesus, when you read the words of Jesus, when you pay attention to the things that Jesus taught and Jesus said, it becomes very clear that Jesus is the key to understanding God’s revelation of himself, he is the key to understanding humanity, he is the key to understanding our world and life in this world, he is the key to understanding the Old Testament Scriptures. Jesus is the source of wisdom. He is the key to wisdom. He is wisdom itself, and our job as believers is to attend to the wisdom and to the teaching of Christ, that we might know him and know his wisdom.
I ask you, this year, what is your plan for growing in wisdom as you grow as a follower of Jesus Christ? At least a part of that plan should be regularly reading the words of Jesus in Scripture and listening to what he says. Jesus’ astounding wisdom.
2. Jesus’s Unique Identity
Secondly, and this is so important, and it really goes right along with this: it’s Jesus’s unique identity. You see this in verses 48-49. “When his parents saw him, they were astonished,” they’re also astonished at his wisdom, “and his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.’”
Now, you can almost hear a rebuke in Mary’s words to Jesus. “How could you do this to us, Jesus? We’ve been so anxious, we’ve been so distressed because we couldn’t find you.” But Jesus’ words to her—again, these are the very first recorded words of Jesus in Scripture—Jesus’ words to her reveal something very important about Jesus’ self-understanding of who he was. Verse 49, “And he said to them, ‘Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’” Or that could be translated “about my Father’s business.” Either translation would work.
What is Jesus saying there? This is really interesting. Mary says, “Your father and I have been worried about you,” and Jesus says, “Why are you surprised? Why are you looking for me? Don’t you know I must be about the work and the will of my Father? I should be in my Father’s house!” What is he doing here? He is claiming the fatherhood of God, and he is claiming his own unique role as the Son of God.
Now, for us to just get how remarkable this is, we have to understand something. You and I are used to talking about God as our Father, if we’re believers. We regularly pray to God addressing him as our Father. But that’s a Christian reality. That was not common for Jewish people. When you look in the Old Testament, there are only 14 references to God as Father in the Old Testament, and almost always it’s national fatherhood, it’s God as the Father of Israel. But Jewish people would not generally pray to God as their Father, addressing God personally as Father. But Jesus comes on the scene, and every single time Jesus addresses God in prayer, with only one exception (when he’s dying on the cross), with only that one exception, every single time Jesus comes to God and says, “Abba,” Father. He uses this most personal, endearing term of fatherhood to describe God as his Father.
I think what we’re seeing here is that Jesus has already, at 12 years old, an understanding that he is the Son of God and that God is his Father. He is, in a mysterious way, one with God. In fact, it was this claim which would even lead to his crucifixion. You see this in the Gospel of John, where people heard him say that God was his Father, and they said, “You’re making yourself equal with God,” and they’re ready to kill him for it. But Jesus understood this. He understood that he is the Son of God.
In fact, God himself will confirm this in Luke 3. The very next incident we have in the life of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke is the baptism of Jesus, when Jesus goes to John the Baptist to be baptized. Do you remember what happens, Luke 3:21-22? Jesus is baptized, praying as he’s baptized, and the heavens are opened and the Holy Spirit descends on him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice comes from heaven and says, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” I tell you, this shows us the unique identity of Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God.
One of the things this means for us, and many of you have heard me say something like this before—it means this: it means that we cannot consistently admire the wisdom of Jesus’ teaching and at the same time reject the uniqueness of Jesus’ claims. This is the problem with someone like Gandhi, who says, “The Sermon on the Mount is wonderful, this is beautiful; I want to live this way,” and yet rejects the claims of Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus himself actually doesn’t give us that option, does he?
C.S. Lewis and Josh McDowell and many others have put this so well when they’ve said you have to accept his claims; you can’t simply say that he was a good moral teacher and reject who he said he was. He’s either a liar—a deceiver who is claiming to be something that he knew he wasn’t—or he was a lunatic, he was a madman (only deranged people think they are god when they are not), or he is the Lord of glory, he is God incarnate, he is the Son of God, he is the word made flesh. He is liar, lunatic, or Lord. If you accept the wisdom of his teaching, you must also accept the uniqueness of his claims if you are to be consistent in your response to Jesus.
3. Jesus’s Compelling Mission
We see his astounding wisdom, we see his unique identity; then, number three, we see his compelling mission. Look again at verse 49. “And he said to them, ‘Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house [or about my Father’s business]?’”
This highlights for us Jesus’s utter devotion to doing the will of his Father. You see this again and again and again in the life of Jesus as you read the Gospels.
You remember one day Jesus was at a well, he was visiting with this woman, the Samaritan woman, leading her through conversation to a knowledge of himself as the one who could give her living water. When his disciples finally come back, they bring food for him, and do you remember what Jesus says? He says, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” “This is my food, this is what I live for, this is my ambition, this is my singular purpose in life: to do the will of God.”
The words of Psalm 40 are taken in the book of Hebrews, Hebrew 10, and put on the lips of Jesus. This is Hebrews 10:7, quoting from Psalm 40. “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’” Jesus says, “I must be about my Father’s business.”
Underline that word “must.” That’s an important word. It’s a smaller word, but it’s an important word that has been called “the particle of divine necessity.” As one commentator puts it, “From the very beginning, Jesus indicated that there was a divine necessity compelling his every action, and nothing would get in the way of his submitting to that divine necessity.” In fact, that word “must” carries the idea of obligation, of necessity, and it’s a word that’s used again and again in the Gospel of Luke, on the lips of Jesus, to describe what he must do, what he is compelled to do. For example, in Luke 4:43 Jesus says, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well, for I was sent for this purpose.” Luke 9:22, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and scribes and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” Luke 22:37; Jesus has just celebrated the very last Passover meal with his disciples, he’s on his way to the garden of Gethsemane, there he will be betrayed, the next day he will be crucified. And what does Jesus say? “For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me, ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors,’” quoting from Isaiah 53, “for what is written about me has its fulfillment.”
Jesus has a compelling mission. He is under divine necessity to fulfill the will of God, to do the will of God even though it will take him all the way to the cross, all the way to death. Why? Because he was born for this purpose. He was born to be the Savior, and he will be the Savior by becoming the substitute, by becoming the sacrifice, by becoming the Passover lamb itself. This is what Jesus must do.
This was confusing to Mary and Joseph. You see it in verse 50. “They did not understand the saying that he spoke to them.” They were confused. You see this again and again, don’t you, in the stories of Jesus in the Gospels, that people found Jesus confusing. They found him perplexing, even people who loved him. Mary and Joseph loved him, Mary and Joseph had received divine, supernatural revelation from the angel who announced his birth. They had a front row seat to the growing, developing child who is the Messiah, and yet they still were confused by Jesus’ behavior and by his words and by his actions. “They did not understand the saying that he spoke to them.”
Brothers and sisters, even as Christians, there will be times in our lives when we find ourselves confused by Jesus. He is a perplexing, confusing figure. There are times in our lives when the things that he is doing in our lives don’t make sense to us. How are we supposed to respond when Jesus doesn’t fit into our categories, when Jesus does not fit our expectations, when he confounds our minds? I think the right response is Mary’s response at the end of verse 51: “And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.” She didn’t understand, so what does she do? She thinks, she remembers, she ponders, she meditates. It’s an echo of what we’ve already seen in Luke 2:19, after the shepherds had come to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem, worshipping him, Luke 2:19 says, “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”
Mary, as we’ve seen in this series, was a model disciple. Even when she doesn’t understand the ways of God, even when she doesn’t understand her own son, the Messiah, she ponders, she thinks, she meditates, she treasures these things in her heart. That’s what you and I have to do as well when we find Jesus confusing in our lives.
4. Jesus’s Humble Submission
We see Jesus’s astonishing wisdom, we see his unique identity, we see his compelling mission—he must be about the Father’s will, the Father’s business—and then we see, number four, Jesus’s humble submission. Look at verse 51. “And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them.”
Now, this is important, to see that Jesus submitted himself to his earthly parents. Even though he was already conscious of this higher calling, he was already conscious of his unique identity as the Son of God, of his vocation to do the will of God, to be about the business of the Father; yet he submits himself to his earthly parents, to Mary and to his earthly father or stepfather, Joseph.
Why is he doing this? He’s doing this, first of all, to keep the law, because one of the Ten Commandments is, “Honor your father and your mother.” Jesus is the great law-keeper, he is the great fulfiller of the law, and in order to fulfill the law he must keep the fifth commandment, he must obey his parents, his father and his mother.
He does it, also, to give us an example of submission. He was submissive to his parents. I think this is so important. This is important in our day, because nobody in the church or outside the church, nobody likes the word “submit,” nobody likes the word “submission.” To be sure, the word has sometimes been misused. We are very conscious today of the abuse of authority, and we’ve seen authority abused in all kinds of ways, whether it’s in the government or in schools or in the workforce or in the home or in the church. All of us can point to examples of the abuse of authority. But the abuse of authority does not take away the right use of authority, and we need to understand that God has ordained authority, and he’s ordained submission to authority. It’s a part of the way in which God made the world.
Get this: submission to authority does not imply inferiority on the part of the one who submits, because here’s Jesus, here’s the very Son of God, here’s the word made flesh. He’s not inferior to Mary and Joseph—he’s the creator of Mary and Joseph—and yet he submits himself to his parents.
He’s a model for us, each one of us in our lives, to submit to God-ordained authority. 1 Peter 2 says, “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,” and then Peter goes on to detail what those institutions are, both in government and in the household. As Christians, one of the things that we have to do is check our own hearts. To be sure, there are times when to obey man means to disobey God, and that would be a sin. You remember how the apostles in the book of Acts said, “We must obey God rather than men.” There are times when it’s a matter of conscience; we always put God first. God has the higher authority and our highest allegiance belongs to him. But the normal course of Christian living means each one of us is submissive to authority in these various institutions.
The questions for us this morning are, Are we submissive to authority in our particular circumstances? If you’re kids this morning, maybe you’re eight years old or you’re 12 years old or you’re 15 years old; are you submissive to your parents? That’s part of God’s will for you, it’s part of God’s law, and you are under obligation to submit to your parents and to honor them as they honor the Lord.
Students, are you submissive to teachers? Employees, are you submissive to bosses? Wives, are you submissive to your husbands? Now again, I understand that the word “submit” has been misused sometimes by domineering husbands, and that’s wrong; nevertheless, the command is there in Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3, and other places: “Wives, submit to your husbands, as unto the Lord.”
Church members, are you submissive to church leaders? As citizens, are we submissive to our government and governmental authorities, whether we agree with everything they do or not? It’s part of our calling as Christians to submit to every human institution for the Lord’s sake, and Jesus himself, who submitted to his parents, who paid taxes to Rome, who submitted to human authority in his own life, is the model for us of how we are to live.
5. Jesus’s Personal Growth
We see Jesus’ humble submission, and then, number five—this is just amazing—we see Jesus’ personal growth and development. Look at verse 52. It says, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” Jesus grew. That’s what the word “increased” means; it means that he grew. He grew in these three different dimensions: in wisdom (that’s mental or intellectual development), in stature (that’s physical development), and in favor (the word is grace; that’s spiritual development), and he increased in these three things with God and man.
You have similar wording in chapter 2:40, “And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was upon him.” When you look at Scripture, this is often spoken of the men and women of God as they developed, as they matured as individuals.
For example, the boy Samuel in 1 Samuel 2:26. It says that the boy Samuel “continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man,” or John the Baptist, Luke 1:80, “The child grew and became strong in spirit.” The same thing is spoken here of Jesus.
Why is this here, and what does it teach us? It’s here, first of all, to show us the full and true humanity of Jesus. We believe, and we believe with all of our hearts, that Jesus is divine, that Jesus is God, that he is the Son of God, that he is the word made flesh, that he has a real and eternal abiding divine nature, and he didn’t lose anything of that divine nature when he became incarnate among us.
But we also believe that when Jesus was incarnate he took upon himself a genuine human nature, and that human nature, though he was perfect, morally perfect, and never sinned, not one time; yet his human nature had to grow and mature and develop just as any other person’s human nature has to develop. That included both physically and mentally and spiritually. There was development, there was growth in the life of Jesus.
I think the words of David Garland, from his commentary on Luke, are very astute. He says that Jesus “did not come into the world with a brain fully programmed, as if he were a divine robot. He must develop and reach maturity as any other human must do. He will grow physically, mentally, and spiritually, and he will need to pray, as the psalmist did, to know God’s ways, to be led by God, and to be taught God’s truth.” In fact, the author to the Hebrews understood this when he said in Hebrews 5:8, “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.” This is just amazing, isn’t it, that Jesus had to grow, he had to mature, he had to develop.
He took on human nature when he was conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, but then he had to go through the whole nine-month process of gestation and maturity and development before he was born into the world as any other baby would be born. Then he had to grow up. He had to pass through childhood and adolescence and young adulthood, and he had to deal with all of the temptations that come along the way, which each stage of his human development, and he had to grow in all these different dimensions of his life.
Why is this important for us? It’s important because it shows us that Jesus, who took our true humanity, is the example for what true humanity should be like, what it should look like. Just as Jesus had to grow and develop in his humanity, how much more do you and I need to grow and to develop in our own lives.
Sinclair Ferguson is one of my favorite authors—I quote him often—and he wrote a wonderful little book called Grow in Grace. It’s one of the best little things I’ve ever read on spiritual growth, and it’s unique. I’ve never read a book on spiritual growth quite like this. Ferguson begins by talking about Jesus’s growth; in fact, he quotes this passage, Luke 2:52, and he shows that Jesus is both the source of our growth—we grow from him—but he’s also example for our growth—we grow to be like him; and that Jesus exemplified the pattern of growth in his own life as he grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.
Ferguson says this. I think this is very insightful. It’s a brief quote, so listen carefully. He says, “Jesus did not possess any special means of spiritual growth which are not available to us. It is essential to realize this is if we are to understand Jesus, if we are to become like him. The Gospel narratives make it clear that he looked to three particular channels of help and blessing.” Any idea what they are? Number one, "Jesus searched the Scriptures." Number two, "Jesus found fellowship with God in prayer." Number three, "Jesus looked for fellowship with God’s people.”
That’s how Jesus grew. He grew through his attending to the word of God, God’s revelation of himself in the Scriptures. That’s probably what he’s doing when he’s there in the temple, and that’s what he continues to do for the next couple of decades of his life, until he arrives on the scene.
Do you remember—Jamie mentioned this last week in his sermon—do you remember that Jesus, as soon as he’s baptized, he’s driven into the wilderness to be tempted for 40 days by the devil. Do you remember how he defeats the temptation? He does it through the word that he had hidden in his heart. “It is written, it is written, it is written.” That’s the same way that you and I are to fight temptation; we do it with the word of God, and Jesus, just as he had to grow in his knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures, committing it to memory, reading it, studying it, his human mind developing along the way and his grasp of the word of God; so you and I must do the same. Jesus, over and again in his earthly life, you see him withdrawing and spending time in prayer. He’ll go to a mountain and spend an entire night in prayer! The Son of God has to do this; how much more do you and I need regular times of prayer in our lives.
Jesus builds a community around himself, a community of disciples, and yes, he is mentoring them, he is discipling them, he is teaching them; but they are also his friends, they are his confidants, so that he even brings three of them with him into the garden of Gethsemane, asking them to watch and pray with him. Of course, they fail him, but he’s looking in that moment to his friends to encourage him. You and I need friendship, we need spiritual community, we need people around us who are encouraging us in our walk with God.
I just want to ask you, as we launch into 2021, you’ve already heard last week a challenge to be passionate about the word of God; I want to ask you, What is your plan for spiritual growth this year? You need a plan. You need to set before you some kind of pattern that you will follow, where you are in the word, where you’re seeking God in prayer, and where you are connecting with the people of God as a faithful church member, as a member of a small group, someone who’s connecting with other believers, with other Christians. It’s only as we use those means that we grow in our own lives. Jesus sets the pattern, he is the example, he is the model; we are to follow him in this.
We’ve seen these five things, haven’t we? We’ve seen Jesus’s astonishing wisdom, we’ve seen his unique identity, his compelling mission, his humble submission, his personal growth. You put all of this together, and I think it shows us that Jesus is what Paul the apostle will call the last Adam, or the second Adam. He is the man that Adam, the very first man, never was. In every point in which Adam failed, Jesus comes and he succeeds. In every point in which Adam was tempted and succumbed to sin, Jesus is tempted and overcomes sin. He perfectly embodies humanity. He is the true man, the true Adam, and he is the head, then, of a new humanity.
One of the church fathers, Irenaeus of Lyons, in the second century grabbed hold of this and taught that Jesus had to pass through every stage of human life in order to reverse Adam’s sin and restore humanity to communion with God. It’s what he called the doctrine of recapitulation. It means becoming the new head, or the head of a new humanity. He recapitulates things in himself by being this new Adam.
That points us to the beauty of the gospel, that Jesus the Son of God, Jesus the Son of Man, is the pattern for us, and he is the pioneer of our salvation. As the second Adam, he is the one who goes before us and he leads the way. He goes before us all the way to the cross and through the cross to resurrection, leading us into new life.
I love the words of John Henry Newman in the words of this hymn (these are good words with which to close). He said,
“O loving wisdom of our God,
When all was sin and shame,
A second Adam to the fight
And to the rescue came.
“O wisest love, that flesh and blood,
Which did in Adam fail,
Should strive afresh against the foe,
Should strive and should prevail.
“O generous love, that he who smote
In man for man the foe,
The double agony in man,
For man should undergo,”
because Jesus, this second Adam, this new man, has gone all the way to the cross for us, he’s gone all the way to the agony of Golgotha, of Calvary; he’s taken the judgment that we deserved, having obeyed the law in our place, and now has risen in new life to give life to all who trust in him.
Do you trust in him this morning? Do you trust Jesus the Savior, Jesus the new and the better Adam? I hope you do, and I invite you to do so. Let’s pray together.
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for the good news of what Jesus your Son has done, that he has come as our substitute, as our representative, as our Messiah, our Lord, our King, and as the one who opens the way to relationship with you as our Father. We thank you for who he is, for what he taught, for what he did. We thank you for his example.
We submit ourselves now to you to follow his example, to be imitators of Christ, and to follow in his footsteps. Lord, would you give us the grace of your Spirit, that we might do that?
Thank you for the union that we have with Christ through faith, and we thank you, Lord, for the celebration of that relationship as we come to the Lord’s table. May we come with humble hearts, may we come with believing hearts, so that as we take the elements of bread and juice we are by faith laying hold of Jesus Christ, his salvation, his grace, and all that he came to do for us. Draw near to us in these moments. We pray this in Jesus’ name and for his sake, Amen.