The Father’s Business

“Now 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 after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” —Luke 2:41-49

On the morning of June 6, 1944, the largest naval armada gathered a few short miles off the coast of Normandy, France. It was D-Day, the allied invasion of Europe to liberate Europe from Nazism.
Among the multiple hundreds of ships assembled off the coast of Normandy was the troop carrier USS Bayfield. The top deck of the Bayfield was jammed with young men—America’s greatest generation—ready to storm the beaches and attack the enemy. The vast majority of these young men had never been in combat. As they looked upon the shores of the beachhead where they would shortly land and attempt to push the German forces back, they witnessed air and naval bombardment like the world had never seen.
There was very little talking among the men. Their thoughts were of possible death, or, even worse, would they let their comrades down in battle?
All of a sudden, from the lower deck of the Bayfield, a solitary figure stepped upon the deck and pushed his way through the throngs of soldiers until he was standing at the rail of the ship. His eyes gazed upon the bombs exploding on the beachheads in front of them. He sensed the uncertainty and fear in his men. That man was General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., the son of former President Theodore Roosevelt.
As his eyes scanned the killing fields his men would soon find themselves in, he started to sing. No one had suggested it. He had not planned it. It just came pouring forth. The song he began to sing rang out on the deck of the Bayfield:
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

Without anyone saying anything, the troops began to sing aloud with their general and became a great choir. They began to sing the fifth verse:
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free;
While God is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

Feast Of Passover
As our opening text plainly states, the occasion of this story was the feast of Passover, a type of our Lord’s death on Calvary’s Cross to atone for humanity’s sin. The Mosaic law commanded all of Israel’s men to go to Jerusalem every year to observe and participate in this feast (Deut. 16:1). Even though the Mosaic ordinance was binding only upon men, generally wives and children came as well.

When He Was Twelve Years Old
Luke 2:42 says Jesus “was twelve years old.” This refers to the age, at which time every Jewish boy became a son of the law. Verse 43 states, “as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem.” In the Greek text, the word child is pais and means “a servant.” Inasmuch as Jesus was now a son of the law, He was also old enough to be the “servant of Jehovah,” which He was.
The phrase, “and Joseph and His mother knew not of it,” presents something understandable only to the Jewish mind. When a Jewish boy turned 12, he was looked at and treated as an adult, so there was no negligence on the part of Joseph and Mary. They trusted that when their caravan departed Jerusalem that Jesus would be somewhere in the group.
After a day’s journey when they stopped to camp, they realized that Jesus was not with the others. This prompted them to turn back and go to Jerusalem where they “found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors.” This referred to the most famous scholars of that day. The Scripture states that these great doctors of the law were “astonished at His understanding and answers.”

I Must Be About My Father’s Business
These words spoken by the Master are His first recorded words found in the Bible: “I must be about My Father’s business.” Scripture gives us very little indication as to how much Jesus knew at this particular time concerning His role as Messiah. However, from His statement we can say that He definitely knew some things, as this account reveals.

What Was The Father’s Business?
This is the question that the church must answer correctly, because His business must be our business.
The answer to that question is found in I John 3:8: “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil,” and the works of the Devil are to steal, kill, and destroy (Jn. 10:10).
Just as there was a physical war that had to be fought on land, sea, and air to liberate Europe from the steel grip of Nazism, there is a spiritual war concerning the souls of men. As men (plural) had to die to win the great conflict, so too did a Man (singular) have to die on a bloody Cross so that the souls of men doomed to die and burn in hell for eternity could be made free.
Man is born in sin, born in total depravity, and incapable of affecting his own salvation. We were all born as the seed of Adam—born in rebellion—but the apostle Paul, writing in Romans 5:19, said, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Then in verse 21 Paul would write, “That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”

What Should The Message Of The Church Be?
The message of the church must be the Message of the Cross. There is only one remedy for sin; there is only one path to redemption, and that is the Cross of Christ.
The only way to the Father is through the Son. The only way to the Son (Jesus Christ) is through Calvary.
For the sinner, the Cross is the only way to obtain justification. And to the Christian, the only means of sanctification is through the Cross.

The Last Words Of Christ
Luke gives us the first recorded words of Christ: “I must be about My Father’s business.” John gives to us the last words of Christ before His crucifixion, and those words were: “It is finished.” In those three simple words we find victory and triumph. In these three words we see the grip of sin and the power of sin broken by His death on Calvary’s Cross. Satan was defeated, the just law of God was satisfied, and now, to all who will believe and accept, eternal life is now available.
The Father’s business was the Cross, so let us proclaim this great message of redemption throughout the world. The Father’s business is finished. Praise the Lord.

It is finished, the battle is over,
It is finished, there will be no more war,
It is finished, the end of the conflict,
It is finished, and Jesus is Lord!

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