Luke 2:41-52 – “Boy Jesus in the Temple”

My sermon notes for Sunday morning, Jan 15th.  Remember, these are my personal study notes and not a manuscript of the sermon. They are provided as an outline each week for our Tabernacle Church family. The church provides a live stream of the service each Sunday at 10:30 on Facebook. We also provide the services through YouTube by Sunday afternoon.  You can find Sermon Notes, Family Devotional Guides, Prayer List, and other resources at our Church Website.

Luke 2:41-52

INTRO

  • A few pictures of the life of Christ
    • His early years
    • The fully man and fully God dynamic
    •  Submission to the authority in His life
    • God’s divine timetable

The trip to Jerusalem – vv. 41-42

  • Joseph and family
  • They were faithful to the things of God
  • Celebrating the Passover Exodus 12:1-28; Exodus 23:14-17; Leviticus 23:4-8
  • Passover in the ministry of Christ (here…conclusion at upper room)

Jesus stays behind – vv. 43-47

  • Big group (Caravan) would have traveled to Jerusalem
  • A possibility… men walking together.  12 yr old could have been with either mother or father.
  • Was in the temple (listening and learning)

Mary’s question and Jesus’ response – vv. 48-50

  • Why from both.
  • I must (be in my Father’s House)
  • Diving compulsion
    • Must preach – Luke 4:43
    • Must suffer, die, and raise – Luke 9:22; 17:25; 24:7-9
    • Must complete His ministry – Luke 13:33
    • Scripture must be fulfilled – Luke 22:37
  • My Father – (MY)
    • Unique title. Personal. His Deity
    • John 6:38; John 8:29 – Doing the will of His Father

Jesus’ obedience and maturity – vv. 51-52

  • He honored His Father – God the Father
  • He honored His father – Joseph the father
  • He was fully man (He was 12)
    • Hungry
    • Tired
    • Suffered pain
  • He was fully God
  • He needed to mature
  • From adolescence to adult
    • Perfect maturity
    • Never sinned
  • We can trust God’s timetable
    • 30 years later

Concluding Thoughts

We have been given a wonderful picture of the early life a Christ.

  • His faithfulness
  • His obedience
  • His sinlessness

We are IN CHRIST

Romans 8:1

Colossians 3:1-3

Galatians 3:25-29

Jesus, The Word Became Flesh – John 1:14-18

Throughout this week I am going to share some daily encouragement (gems I have found in my studies) on the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Hopefully, as we consider the biblical truths surrounding His birth, we can all slow down and celebrate the real meaning of Christmas. As you are encouraged… please share with others the hope of Christ this Christmas season! (The running commentary is from The Incarnation in the Gospels)

John 1:14–18 (ESV): 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

Our Christmas celebrations are like Israel’s exodus from Egypt. This great migration took on a great splendor, laden down with the treasures of the Nile, just as our Advent season glitters in red and gold. But the true glory of the exodus was not the shimmering colors of Egyptian prizes, nor even the uplifted faces of the people following Moses to the Promised Land, but the presence of the glory of God in their midst. At the center of their camp was the tabernacle of the Lord, over which rested the cloud of fire that God sent to guide his people. Inside was the ark of the covenant, with the glory of the Lord filling the tabernacle. So it is for Christmas: its true glory is the glory of Christ himself, as he is proclaimed, trusted, and praised in the midst of his people. Indeed, the glory of God’s people year-round is the Christ who is present in the proclamation of his Word. John writes, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

The Word Became Flesh

It was to make this great statement that the gospel of John was written. John’s prologue has been telling the Christmas story in theological terms. He began by stating that Jesus is the eternal Word who was with God before the beginning. The Word came as a light into darkness. Now, John 1:14 tells us how this happened: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

This verse states the doctrine of the incarnation of Christ. Jesus Christ was born of the virgin Mary in the stable at Bethlehem. But the second person of the Trinity did not come into being at this birth. John says, “In the beginning was the Word,” and then at a certain time, “The Word became flesh.” God the Son—the Word—did not come to existence in his incarnation, but he became a human being in addition to a divine being. The Westminster Confession explains, “The Son of God … being very and eternal God … did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon him man’s nature, with all the essential properties, and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin” (8.1). Christ’s incarnation means that the Son of God became human in the fullest sense, without losing any of his divinity. Paul says, “In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Col. 2:9). Likewise, Jesus is sinless without losing his full humanity. His is uncorrupted, true humanity.

We do not understand how one person can be both God and man. But the Bible shows that Jesus possesses two distinct natures—one divine, one human—without any mingling or confusion between the two. The Greek mythologies spoke of gods coming down to earth for a while, until they got tired and returned to the clouds. But nowhere in the ancient world was there any idea of God becoming man, the Word taking up flesh. “Lo, within a manger lies / He who built the starry skies.… Thus to come from highest bliss / Down to such a world as this!” What does this say about God’s desire for our salvation—that he actually stepped into our world and became one of us? This shows the value of every human life, given the dignity God gave to humans above all other creatures. First God created us in his own image (Gen. 1:26), then he sent his own Son to become a son of man, so that we might become in him the sons and daughters of God.

He Tabernacled among Us

John tells us not merely that “the Word became flesh,” but also that he “dwelt among us.” This phrase employs a verb form of the Greek word for “tabernacle” (eskenosen). Literally, John writes, “The Word tabernacled among us.” Undoubtedly, John is directing us back to the exodus, when God dwelt among the Israelites in the tabernacle.

The tabernacle was a canvas structure about forty-five feet long and fifteen feet wide. It had three areas: the outer courtyard where priests made sacrifices and washed themselves before entering; an outer room (the Holy Place) housing the golden candlestick, the table of showbread, and the altar of incense; and an inner room (the Holy of Holies) containing the ark of the covenant, where God himself dwelt. Everything about the tabernacle was symbolic of spiritual realities and especially of Jesus Christ, who came as God’s true tabernacle.

Beholding His Glory

The tabernacle was also called the “tent of meeting.” It was the place where the people met with God and saw the Shekinah glory cloud that shined from within (shekinah = radiance). John applies this to Christ’s coming: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.”

This begs the important question, Do you see the glory of God in the person, provision, and revelation of Jesus Christ? If you trust in him, you not only will see his glory but you will partake of his grace and truth. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36). Then, if you have trusted Jesus, are you drawing from his grace to live for him—for his honor and his kingdom? Is his grace flowing through you to others? “From his fullness” every believer has received “grace upon grace.” The fullest glory of the Christmas Savior is that glory that grows year by year in our hearts and which we share with the world. So Peter urges, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18).

Full of Grace and Truth

John concludes his great theology of the coming of Christ, saying, “We have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Here are two specific aspects of God’s glory that Jesus revealed: his grace and his truth. These are why Jesus is not only more glorious than John the Baptist, but even more glorious than Moses, who delivered Israel in the exodus. John writes, “For the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

To the world, the cross was the most shameful of all things. It involved physical torture, personal humiliation, and a cursed death. This was God’s way of showing us the shame of our sin. But because the perfect Son of God died in this way for us, the cross displays the grace of God to the highest glory of his name. And it is by seeing the glory of God’s grace in the cross that we are saved. Is the cross your glory? Is it your hope? Is it the place where your sins were put away and God’s glory shines into your heart? Paul speaks for every Christian heart when he exclaims, “Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14).

This is why of all the glorious activities of the Christmas season, the most glorious of all are spent with God’s Word. No longer can our eyes behold the Christmas star of Bethlehem, any more than we can see the cloud of fire that hovered above the ancient tabernacle. But with our very eyes we can see—with our ears we can hear—and in our minds and hearts we can know—the true glory of Christmas, the glory of the Savior who has come, from the pages of God’s Holy Word. And if through faith we behold the glory of his divine person, his gracious provision, and his revelation of grace and truth, the light of God will shine out from our lives.[1]


[1] Daniel M. Doriani, Philip Graham Ryken, and Richard D. Phillips, The Incarnation in the Gospels, ed. Daniel M. Doriani, Philip Graham Ryken, and Richard D. Phillips, Reformed Expository Commentary (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2008), 175–187.

Jesus, The True Light – John 1:6-13

Throughout this week I am going to share some daily encouragement (gems I have found in my studies) on the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Hopefully, as we consider the biblical truths surrounding His birth, we can all slow down and celebrate the real meaning of Christmas. As you are encouraged… please share with others the hope of Christ this Christmas season! (The running commentary is from The Incarnation in the Gospels)

John 1:6-13
[6] There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. [7] He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. [8] He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. [9] The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. [10] He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. [11] He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. [12] But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, [13] who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (ESV)

A Witness to the Light

If we were to take a poll asking people what is the world’s greatest need, the answers would be many. Some would say we must end world hunger. Others would say we need to provide education to all. Still others would suggest an end to all wars, or point to the environment with a call for the end to pollution. A famous song from the ′60s said, “All you need is love,” while some today look to self-esteem as our cure-all.

But according to the gospel of John, the world’s great need is belief in Jesus Christ. He wrote his gospel to show that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). What a blessing it is, then, that God has sent us witnesses to Jesus. This is the point of John 1:6–7, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light.”

John 1:6–8 emphasizes the witness of John the Baptist, through whom God gave Israel the gift of a witness to Christ: “He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him” (John 1:7). John’s importance is proved by his inclusion in all four gospels. The other three gospels give more details of his ministry, calling Israel to be baptized to show their repentance and to prepare for the Messiah. But the emphasis in John is the Baptist’s role as a witness to Jesus. Jesus said, “He was a burning and shining lamp” (John 5:35), and through his witness many of John’s disciples went on to become Jesus’ disciples.

John the Baptist’s example shows us how we can be good witnesses to Christ. Indeed, this is yet another witness to the gospel that God intends for our world today: the witness of his faithful people. What better Christmas gift can we give to Jesus than to tell others about him!

The True Light

If we are looking for a summary statement to focus our witness to Jesus, we can find it in John 1:9, “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.” The word true carries the idea of genuine or real. There may be other lights in the world, ideas or products that satisfy us partly and for a time. But Jesus is the true light: no other light can show us the truth about God and ourselves, about life and eternity; no other light can inspire us to become what we truly were meant to be or convey the power needed to change our hearts; and no other light will guide us “in paths of righteousness” (Ps. 23:3), so that our souls arrive safely in heaven.

The greatest thing about Christ’s true light is what it does for everyone whose heart opens to receive it in faith. John tells us, “To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12–13).

Faith means believing and receiving Jesus Christ as he has revealed himself—in his person, his character, and his saving work. It is not enough to have vague notions about Jesus. People say, “I believe in Jesus,” meaning that they accept that he existed or even appreciate him in some sense. But that is not what is meant by receiving Jesus Christ and it does not constitute saving faith. Faith requires us personally to receive Jesus as he has offered himself as the Savior for our sins.

Light for a Darkened World

Jesus came into the world with a purpose, to bring his light into darkness: “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:9). This does not mean that everyone actually believes on Jesus, as the following verses prove, but rather that Christ’s light has shined on the whole human race. Some people turn away from that light, but in his coming Jesus has nonetheless brought light to us.

This is why what John 1:10 describes is one of the greatest tragedies in the world, “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.” When Jesus was born, and even when he ministered in the power and grace of God, the world did not recognize him as its Savior. What a tragedy! An even greater tragedy is recorded in verse 11: “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” Here, John is pointing to the particular people called to be Christ’s own, the nation of Israel.

So let us shine the light, telling people about Jesus, risking our comfort and, yes, if needed, even our lives. Let us take Christ to those who do not know him—whether around the corner or around the world. Let us not merely decorate our homes with Christmas candles, but let us be Christmas candles that shine Christ’s light throughout the world. Despite every kind of opposition—spiritual darkness, moral evil, ingratitude, and pride—let us believe the power that Jesus has to overcome the greatest opposition. For though the world does not know him, he will make himself known to many through us. Then they will join us as bearers of Christ’s light, and we will together live and walk in that light forever as dearly beloved children of God.[1]


[1] Daniel M. Doriani, Philip Graham Ryken, and Richard D. Phillips, The Incarnation in the Gospels, ed. Daniel M. Doriani, Philip Graham Ryken, and Richard D. Phillips, Reformed Expository Commentary (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2008), 161–173.

Jesus, The Light of Men – John 1:4-5

Throughout this week I am going to share some daily encouragement (gems I have found in my studies) on the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Hopefully, as we consider the biblical truths surrounding His birth, we can all slow down and celebrate the real meaning of Christmas. As you are encouraged… please share with others the hope of Christ this Christmas season! (The running commentary is from The Incarnation in the Gospels)

In Him Was Life

The first of these theme-words appears at the beginning of John 1:4, “In him was life.” The word life appears 36 times in the gospel of John, far more than any other New Testament book. It is one of his most important themes. The preceding verses say that “the Word was with God” and “was God,” and that “all things were made through him” (John 1:1–3). The second person of the Godhead, the “Word,” who is the subject of this gospel, is the source of all life in this universe. Not merely does he possess life, but life itself is found in him and comes through him. Jesus said, “For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself” (John 5:26).

This is what John wants us to see in Christ: “In him was life.” Are you really living? Do you feel that your life matters for something important? Are you excited about things, or just keeping occupied? Jesus has life to give to those who trust in him. “I came that they may have life,” he said, “and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

The Light Shining

This is the very connection John makes, that the life in Christ comes as a light shining in the darkness. “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness” (John 1:4–5). Light is another of John’s great themes. The first recorded words of God are, “Let there be light” (Gen. 1:3). Light is an image that everyone understands, and it brings a rich array of meaning.

The first thing light does is reveal. When you walk into a dark room, you turn on the light to see. This is what Isaiah prophesied about the coming of Jesus: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined” (Isa. 9:2). Man was living in a spiritual darkness, ignorant about God and living in superstition. So Jesus came to reveal God. “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father,” he said (John 14:9). James Boice comments, “Jesus is revealed as the One who knows God the Father and who makes him known.… Before Christ came into the world, the world was in darkness. The world did not know God. Christ came. His light shone before men. Then men had light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Do you know God? Do you know what God is like? Jesus came to reveal God to you. Do you know God by personal acquaintance, by his presence within your spirit? Jesus came also to bring us into fellowship with God as worshipers in spirit and in truth.

Light not only reveals but it also warms. To “walk in the darkness” is to walk in sin and moral depravity, but the light of Christ warms the heart so that it is changed. This spiritual transformation is what Jesus meant in John 12:46, “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.”

Thirdly, light not only reveals and warms, but it also guides. We think of the glory cloud of light that guided Israel through the desert during the exodus. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Likewise, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). If you come to Jesus Christ in faith and follow as his disciple, he will be a light to guide you “in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Ps. 23:3).

Fourthly, light conveys and stimulates life. If you want a plant to grow, you place it in the sunshine. Likewise, you will grow upward as the light of Christ’s Word shines in you. His light shines with the power of his life through his Word.

“In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). This great verse summarizes what it means for us to be Christ-like. Jesus wants you to be a lamp that reflects his light in the world. He wants you to reveal God to those around you; he wants you to warm others so they will seek after truth and love; he wants you to be a guide to others; and he wants his light shining in and through you to bring others to life. He said: “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

Darkness against the Light

The third image John uses is darkness. This is the opposite of light. If light stands for the knowledge of God, darkness represents the spiritual ignorance in which the world is perishing. If light stands for warmth and goodness, then the darkened world is that which is enslaved in sin and evil. If the light leads us in good paths, darkness is the realm of the lost and blind. If light brings life, then darkness is the realm of death.

Darkness is opposed to light. John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.” This indicates that the coming of Christ as the light meets the opposition of the darkened world. Jesus said, “This is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

Nothing has ever condemned this world more than its response to the coming of Jesus Christ. If people tell you the world or the human race is basically good, remind them what it did to Jesus. He came without any sin, healing and teaching the way to God. He was a light shining in the darkness. But for that very reason the world hated him. The hypocritical Pharisees resented him for exposing their legalism. The priests and scribes envied his popularity. The power-hungry Romans thought him a threat to their military domination. And it wasn’t just the elite, for the ordinary people also called out for Jesus’ blood: “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” they demanded of Pontius Pilate (John 19:15). When God’s Son came into the world, the world nailed him to a cross—the cruelest form of execution they could possibly devise—to suffer and die. People today similarly despise Jesus; for all their supposed admiration they refuse his claim to be Savior and Lord and resent his holy example that exposes their sin.

The Light of Christ

“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” These are great themes that John unfolds all through his gospel: life, light, and darkness. But remember that John is really pointing to Jesus. What matters in life, then, is not what we are and have been, not what others have done, not what challenges or trials the future might hold. What matters is that Christ has come with life through his light that shines in the world, and the darkness cannot overcome it.

That is the way to life and light: to cease trusting in yourself or in anything else of this world that might commend you to God, and surrender your case into the hands of Jesus. “I have come into the world as light,” he said, “so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” (John 12:46). That light is still shining, and through him you can have life everlasting, life abundant, life in Christ[1]


[1] Daniel M. Doriani, Philip Graham Ryken, and Richard D. Phillips, The Incarnation in the Gospels, ed. Daniel M. Doriani, Philip Graham Ryken, and Richard D. Phillips, Reformed Expository Commentary (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2008), 149–160.

Jesus, The Word – John 1:1-3

Throughout this week I am going to share some daily encouragement (gems I have found in my studies) on the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Hopefully, as we consider the biblical truths surrounding His birth, we can all slow down and celebrate the real meaning of Christmas. As you are encouraged… please share with others the hope of Christ this Christmas season! (The running commentary is from The Incarnation in the Gospels)

John 1:1-3 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made

Jesus, the Divine Word

John starts by reminding us that Christ’s life did not begin in the Bethlehem manger, but, “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1). This mirrors the way the Old Testament began: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). John places Jesus where we expect God: “In the beginning.” The subject of this gospel, the man Jesus who lived and died and rose again, is thus identified as the eternal God.

As A.W. Pink put it, “The One who was heralded by the angels to the Bethlehem shepherds, who walked this earth for thirty-three years, who was crucified at Calvary and who rose in triumph from the grave, and who forty days later departed from these scenes, was none other than the Lord of Glory.”

Jesus, the Saving Word

Jesus is the Divine Word. But John wants us to understand not merely Jesus’ person but also his work. He wrote this gospel “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31). Christ means Messiah, or Savior. Jesus, the Divine Word, came into the world to be the Saving Word.

This means that the babe born in a manger is the One who gives meaning to life in this world. People today are living without purpose or meaning, which is why our affluence fails to content us. We are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26), and it is only as we know God and do his will that we find meaning and joy. Speaking in Greek terms, John says that Jesus is the Logos, the Word who bears to us the mind and heart of God. Later in this prologue, John says, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Life does not make sense until we meet Jesus. Peter realized this, and when Jesus asked whether he was going to go elsewhere, Peter replied for us all, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

God’s Word for Us

Jesus is the Divine Word and the Saving Word. But most important for us, Jesus is God’s Word for us.

Because Jesus is the eternal Word of God—and because, as John 1:14 tells us, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us”—we can know God. This flows from John’s description of Jesus as “the Word.” We all reveal ourselves through our words and, in Christ, God’s speech is most eloquent. Hebrews 1:1–3, giving yet another theological definition of Christmas, says that in the past, “God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son … the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” This is Jesus’ own testimony in the gospel of John. He said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), and, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). If you want to know what God is like—and this is the greatest of all questions—you need only learn about Jesus Christ.

Do you see who Jesus is and perhaps admire him, yet remain indifferent? Jesus, the Word, who “in the beginning was with God, and was God,” and who came into the world to be God’s Savior for us, calls for our faith. He calls us to believe not merely in him but on him. As one writer puts it, “We are called to worship him without cessation, obey him without hesitation, love him without reservation, and serve him without interruption.” “These things are written,” John tells us, “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).[1]


[1] Daniel M. Doriani, Philip Graham Ryken, and Richard D. Phillips, The Incarnation in the Gospels, ed. Daniel M. Doriani, Philip Graham Ryken, and Richard D. Phillips, Reformed Expository Commentary (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2008), 137–148.