"...Did you not know that I must be about my Father's business?" (Luke 2:49)
What are your plans and dreams for this new year? We have just celebrated Christmas - the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. Today we are going to look at Luke 2 and learn what Jesus did as a child and what this has to do with us. Jesus said that He must be doing His Father's business. And, we must also be doing our Heavenly Father's business.
When Jesus was 12 years old, He went with Mary and Joseph to Jerusalem from Nazareth to participate in the Passover feast. Now that He was 12 years old, He was considered a man. At this age young men began their trade, as it was required of all Jewish men to learn a trade. Jesus would from that age be taught by Joseph the skills of carpentry. It was also required of the Jewish men to go to Jerusalem for 3 feasts during the year.
So, we read that after being in Jerusalem for the Passover feast, Mary and Joseph returned to Nazareth. Family and friends travelled home in a big group. At the end of the day's journey they realised that Jesus was not in the group. So, they returned to Jerusalem to find him. So, another day's travel back to Jerusalem. Then, they began to search for Him. On the third day (from the time they had left to return home), they found Him in the court of the temple speaking with the teachers (the Jewish rabbis). He was listening to them and asking them questions. (Perhaps the searching type of questions a teacher asks his students to see if they have been learning).
Verse 48 says that Mary and Joseph were amazed to find Jesus there and Mary asked, "Why have you done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously."
Jesus simply replied to them, "Why is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"
After that, they all returned to Nazareth. Verse 50 says Mary and Joseph did not understand the statement that He spoke to them. Jesus returned with them and was obedient to them, continued to grow in wisdom and bodily height as well as in favour with God and people.
Jesus told the disciples years after this incident, to pray, "Not my will, but Yours be done." (Matthew 6:10) Matthew 7:21 says, "Not every one who says to me 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in Heaven." Luke 22:42 records Jesus' words when praying in the garden before facing death on the cross: "Not my will, but Yours be done." In John 5:30 Jesus said, "I do not seek My own will, but the will of the Father who sent Me."
There are some things that we know clearly from the Bible that are God's will for everyone.
It is God's will that I have my sins forgiven. "For He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9). John 3:16 and many other verses tell us similar words.
It is God's will that I be sanctified. "For this is the will of God, your sanctification." (1 Thessalonians 4:3) "I urge you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:1-2)
Why do we need to be saved? Because sin separates us from God. We need to ask God to forgive us.
Why do we need to be sanctified? Read 1 Thessalonians. It tells about the problems we as Christians experience in life. We need the cleansing and power of the Holy Spirit to live in this evil world. "For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness." Do you reject that idea? Verse 8 goes on to say, "He who rejects this does not reject man, but God who has given us His Holy Spirit." (1 Thess. 4:8) How do we receive the Holy Spirit? By faith! And we have this promise: "He will do it!" (verse 23)
If you have asked the Lord to forgive your sins, if you have allowed Him to sanctify (to cleanse and empower your life), then walk in obedience to His Word, the Bible. 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 gives this advice: (from verse 12): "And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and warn you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. Be at peace among yourselves. Now we encourage you brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from the very appearance of evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:12-22) We need the Holy Spirit in our lives so we can live like that! It is only through His might and power that we can do that!
So many Christian people seem to struggle with "knowing God's will' for their lives. Our part is to do what is shown to us in God's Word. Be saved, be sanctified (filled with the Holy Spirit), walk in obedience with the Lord, and He will show you step by step what His will is for you. It is in the daily trusting in God with everything in your life that He will make His will known to you. Our part is to stay close to Him in prayer and in reading our Bible, and in trusting Him for everything. "Knowing God's Will" is not some mystical thing that we have to struggle and grasp for. It is simply knowing our master and walking with Him in obedience day by day so He can give us His assurance that we are doing His will.
It is like a little child, going on a walk with their loving Daddy. They feel His hand holding theirs and they trust him to keep them safe. Does a little child ask "Do you know where you are going, Daddy?" Do they pull away from their Dad and tell him he is taking them the wrong way? Our Heavenly Father is far greater than the best of earth's dads. He knows what lies ahead and we can trust Him to guide us and do what is best for us. We know God's will by walking closely with our Saviour.
"What does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8)
There is no lasting pleasure or fulfilment apart from living righteously.
Give God your best. The best of your time, the best of your thoughts, the best of your love. Remember the message about the offerings that are acceptable to God? Those bringing sacrifices couldn't give their sick or blemished lambs, etc. God demands the best we have to offer. He wants us, 100%. If we give God 100% of our lives, He will make our relationships with our families, our neighbours, our boss, our community, our country, etc., what it should be. If we are 100% God's, we will be able to love others as He wants us to. Can we love God with all our heart and at the same time cheat, or lie, or steal, or corrupt, etc.? No, of course not! So, when we give God our all, everyone else is also affected for good.
Satan loves to "sidetrack" us from knowing God's will. He can make things look attractive to us to get us away from God's will. Never just take an "open door" as being God's will. Satan can manoeuvre "open doors." And, sometimes there are several seemingly "open doors." What did 1 Thessalonians 5 say? "Test all things." If you think something is God's will - put it to the test. Does it agree with what the Bible teaches? If we are walking in full obedience to God we will be able to "prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." He will give us His peace that we are walking in step with Him.
Are you doing your Father's business?
Have you ever asked God to forgive your sins? His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, died in your place on the cross. You must accept that by faith. He wants to forgive you.
Have you asked the Holy Spirit to cleanse and fill your life? He wants you to accept the Holy Spirit by faith.
Are you doing what His Word shows us to do? Are you obeying Him?
Are you trusting Him one step at a time? Then, He will show you His will one step at a time.
Let's be doing our Father's business.
Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New King James Version.
Holiness, godliness, righteousness, and Christ-likeness in personal and church life