No Other Name // Part 1
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.
/// Colossians 1:15-22 (NKJV)
This week, we are going to begin a study of Jesus. It is impossible to know God without knowing Him. He is the icon – the gateway into all that heaven possesses. He holds a place among us that no other does or ever will. He is the key that unlocks all the treasures of wisdom and understanding. He is the heartbeat of the Father. Knowing Jesus is knowing and experiencing eternal life. We are going to walk with Him and get to know Him. The celebration of His birth is rapidly approaching. So we are going to begin beyond that but still early on in His life.
His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”
And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.
Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
/// Luke 2:41-52 (NKJV)
No biblical writings exist that speak of Jesus’ life from the time He was visited by the Wise Men until He is twelve years of age. According to the commandment, Jesus’ parents would make the trek to Jerusalem to worship God with the community at the time of the Passover. When the days of the Feast were completed, the family, along with many others from their area began the journey home. Unbeknownst to His parents, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem instead of joining the caravan back to Galilee. When Mary and Joseph got ready to bed down for the night along the way home, they began to look for Jesus expecting Him to be with some other family members or friends. But, they didn’t find Him so they returned to Jerusalem. Three days later, they found Him in what was probably the last place they expected to find a twelve year old boy – in the Temple. They found Him there sitting with the teachers of the law, both listening to them and asking them questions. Wouldn’t you love to know what those questions were? The teachers were astonished at His understanding and His answers to their questions. There is no biblical basis for the rite of passage among the Jews that has become known as the bar mitzvah. It appears that this practice came into being long after the time of Jesus. What is a bar mitzvah?
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a milestone in Jewish life. It not only tells the world that the child has reached adulthood and is taking greater responsibility for his or her actions, it strengthens his or her identity as a Jew. In Jewish law, Jewish girls (at age 12) and boys (at age 13) become responsible for observing Jewish ritual law, traditions, and ethics. The rite of passage associated with this observance is the Bar Mitzvah for boys and Bat Mitzvah for girls. The term “bar mitzvah” literally means “son of the commandment”. Now, while there is no biblical basis for such a ceremony, it is interesting to see Jesus passing through a “rite of passage” leaving His childhood and becoming the “Son of the commandment”. This story is rich but there are two very important aspects of it that we will focus on tonight:
1. Jesus’ transition in identity.
Since we don’t have records of Jesus’ life before this event, we are not sure what He was like. It is amazing to speculate. Was He some type of savant – a Child with an abnormally adult perspective on life? Or, was He amazingly childlike and joyful? The absence of a sin nature made Him different in His obedience. He would be what we might call “an unusually obedient Child”. But, He most likely did things as any other child – playing with your friends, studying the animals and plants, laughing and being carefree. Think about the incident of the trip to Jerusalem. First, His parents didn’t worry about Him. They assumed Him to be among their troop. Maybe this was because He was always where He was supposed to be so they weren’t concerned. Second, notice that His parents assumed Him to be enjoying the company of others, just as a child might. Can you see the glory of God in the life of a Child? But at the time of this story, a transition was occurring. Jesus’ identity was being formed firmly in His Father and His business. He already knew why He was alive – for the Father’s glory!
I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. /// John 14:30-31 (NIV)
Why do you live? What is your identity placed in?
2. Jesus’ trust in the Father’s methods.
It is amazing that Jesus’ revelation of His identity didn’t corrupt His walk. He could have become a child evangelist but He understood a couple of things that are very important in fulfilling destiny:
- He trusted His delegated covering.
- He trusted His Father’s timing.
So much to learn from a twelve year old boy!
What determines your identity will determine your destiny. Don’t chaff under the yoke that God has placed you in. There is a perfect timing for the revelation of your dream.
- Colossians 1:15-22 (NKJV)
- Luke 2:41-52 (NKJV)
- John 14:30-31 (NIV)
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