03 January 2017

You and Your Children in the Father's House

Consider here the human nature, the growth and development of the incarnate Son of God, Christ Jesus, as He increases, not only in stature, but in knowledge and wisdom, and in favor with God and man.  It is remarkable, every bit as much as the Incarnation itself and His conception and birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  But this, too, belongs to His becoming like you in all things, that He might redeem you in body, soul, and spirit.  That He can grow and learn and change as true Man, means that He can also hurt and bleed and die, as He will do for your redemption and salvation.

Thus are your reconciliation and relationship with God embodied and secured in the human body and life of this Lord Jesus Christ, from infancy and childhood into adulthood, even unto death, and in His bodily Resurrection from the dead.  For in Him all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily and lives humanly among us, so that we might live the divine life with God in Him.

How then do you, for your part, hold on to Him and keep Him in your sight?  By what wisdom are you able to grow and abide in Him, throughout this life on earth and unto the life everlasting?

And if you are a father or a mother, how shall you secure Him for your children and preserve their faith and life in Him?  For that is the most important thing you are given to do as a parent.

How shall you not lose Christ Jesus to yourself and to your children, so that you and they shall not be lost but found in Him throughout all your days and years and hereafter for eternity with God?

There is first of all the good example of Joseph and Mary, who go up with the Lord Jesus to the Feast in Jerusalem.  They are reminiscent of the Prophet Samuel’s parents, Elkanah and Hannah, who were likewise faithful in going up to the House of the Lord at Shiloh.  That is good and right.

But then consider what happens, and how easy it is, even for such pious and faithful people, to leave the Lord Jesus behind and to lose Him as you go about the activities and busyness of life.

And when you do realize His absence, then there is such anxiety and stress, and the fear of death.  If you are a parent, and if you have ever had a missing child, you know well enough the terror of that situation.  But to lose the Lord Jesus, no matter who you are, is far, far worse than even that.

If you are brought to an awareness that He is missing from your life, that you have lost sight of Him and let Him go, then, to begin with, by all of your own wisdom, reason, and strength, you go about looking for Him in all the wrong ways and in all the wrong places.  Increasingly more frantic, more desperate, and more hopeless, you try to find what is lacking within your family, with your friends, and in that which is comfortable and familiar to you.  Maybe in hard work.  Maybe in reading and studying.  Maybe in recreational activities and hobbies, or in charitable endeavors.

But, no, you will not find the Lord Jesus in any of those ways or places.  For though He has come to be like you, and to live your human life on earth, He and His Kingdom are not of this world but from the Father in heaven.  So it is that His Body and His Life, and His Resurrection from the dead on the Third Day, are there for you within His Church, in the preaching and hearing of His Word.

You should know — because you are taught by the Word and Spirit of God — that you shall find the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, your Savior, within the House of His Father.

Is that not what the Feast of the Passover is all about?  That the sons of Israel are delivered from death and the devil within the house where the father has sacrificed the lamb, where he has marked the doors with the blood of the lamb, and where he feeds them with the flesh of the lamb.  And as for each household and family, so also for the household and family of God within His Temple.

The little Lord Jesus was catechized by the Feast to seek His Father in His Father’s House, that He Himself should finally become the Passover Lamb who is given in the place of all the sons of men.

So are you also taught that you and your children belong to the Lord your God, who has redeemed you, purchased and won you for Himself by the blood of His own Son.  And so it is that you and all your sons and daughters are called to live as the children of God within your Father’s House.

Remember that the Son of God has become like you in every way, so that you might be like Him.  Therefore, what is true for Him has also become yours by His grace and mercy in the Gospel.  For He has made a place for you within the true Temple of God, which is indeed His own Body, crucified for all of your sins and raised from the dead for your justification, never to die again.

It is within the household and family of God, that is to say, within His Church on earth, that the Body of this Lamb of God is given to you from His Cross and from His Altar, that you should Feast on Him and be strengthened and sustained in the one true faith, unto the Resurrection.  And it is in His Church that the Blood of this Lamb now protects you from the devil, death, and hell.

Here, then, is what you’re looking for, whether you know it or not.  Here is what you truly need.  Here is your true home and family in Christ Jesus, and here is the Feast to which you bring your children.  Here your anxious heart and troubled mind are granted Peace and Sabbath Rest in Him.  And here you are raised up with Christ from the fear of death to faith and life by His Holy Spirit.

So it is that you now live — you really live — to and from this House of your own dear God and Father in Christ Jesus; and for His Name’s sake, the grace and favor of God are upon you.

In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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