Luke 2:41-52; Exodus 20:12

Jesus was more than the Son of God he was also God the Son. He always lived in perfect harmony and unity with his Father. Then, submitting himself to his Father’s will, God the Son became a human. Born as the baby in Bethlehem.

It seems remarkable to us that Jesus not only became human – born as a baby – but that he submitted himself to his earthly parents.  

At 12 years of age Jesus was already very conscious of his Heavenly Father and the special relationship that he had with Him. When he remained in the temple in Jerusalem after the Feast of Passover, he was surprised that his mother and father were looking for him anywhere else but the temple. He thought that it was thoroughly predictable that he would be in his Father’s house. “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49) he said to his parents.

Given that Jesus was God the Son, and that even though he was a child he knew of his Heavenly Father, it may seem remarkable that he returned to Nazareth with his human parents “and was submissive to them” (Luke 2:51). But to see it as “extraordinary” that such a divine being would be submissive to his human parents shows our failure to understand God and human sinfulness.

For us it is extraordinary that God should become man. But the extraordinary thing is that God should come in the likeness of sinful flesh.

Certainly, there is a great gulf between being the creator and being the creature. The gulf between God and his creation must not be minimised lest we become blasphemous or idolatrous. But we need also to remember that we are made in the image of God. Jesus’ birth is the Creator becoming the creature, made in the creator’s image and likeness.   

Far greater than the gulf between God the Creator and his human creatures is the gulf between the holy and righteous God and sinful rebellious humans.

So, when we read of Jesus submitting himself to his human parents, we are tempted to think that it is remarkable. We think that for the great one to be submissive and to subject himself to his parents, or even to obey them, is demeaning, inauthentic, and unreasonable. Our egalitarian, anti-authoritarian traditions and culture rejects the notion of people submitting themselves to others. ‘Submission’, ‘subjection’ and ‘obedience’ are not words that are high on the approval rating of modern spin-doctors.

But God the Son always submitted himself to his Father. And the commandments that reflect the very character of God, that he gave to his people at Mt Sinai include: “honour your father and mother that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).

Being submissive to his earthly parents was as being godly and godlike as he could be. Rather than looking for the divinity of Jesus in his miraculous powers look for it in the miracle of his sinless life. For when God the Son became man, he acted just like God would – honouring his father and mother.

Next Sunday morning we celebrate Mother’s Day. The Bible has a lot to say about mothers that is quite challenging to our world in its rebellious rejection of God. Come and join us in this celebration and bring your family and friends to hear what God says about honouring our mothers.

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