Joseph believed the word of the Lord and married Mary. Everyone in Nazareth assumed Joseph was Jesus’ father. Even if some may have figured that Mary must have gotten pregnant before they were married, they still believed Joseph was the father. They lived normal lives like any other Jewish family in Nazareth, and Jesus grew up working alongside Joseph in the family’s carpentry business. But all this changed when Jesus was 12 years old, when His first recorded words were spoken.
It was the time of the Jewish Passover, and they went to Jerusalem to celebrate. They would travel in caravans of family members and friends. When it was time to return home, Jesus stayed behind without His parents knowing it. Like today, it was probably customary for the youth to hang together, so it was not until a whole day's journey had passed that they realized Jesus was not with them. They returned to Jerusalem seeking Him. The city was overflowing with people who had traveled from all over Israel for the Passover. They searched for three days and finally found Him where He had been all along, in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors and counselors, both hearing and asking questions: “And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers” (Luke 2:47).
His parents were equally amazed; yet Mary said: “Son, why have you dealt with us like this? Your father and I have sought you sorrowing” (v.48). There was no apology from Jesus, but these, His first recorded words:“How is it that you sought me? Knew you not that I must be about my Father’s business?”
With this Jesus declared His true Sonship! At 12 years old, He knew who He was, who His Father was, and what His life mission was!
His answer caught them both off guard, “but Mary kept all these sayings in her heart” (v.51). If anyone knew who Jesus’ Father was, it was Mary. While He was still too young to embark on His mission, she knew that Jesus was in touch with His Father and He was already purpose-driven to be about His Father's business. Over the next 18 years, she watched as Jesus “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with man” (v.52).
Time to Join the Business!
Fast forward to age 30: Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River at which time a voice spoke out of Heaven: “You are my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). Then He was driven into the wilderness by the Spirit for 40 days to be tempted three times of Satan. Immediately Satan taunted him, saying, “If you be the Son of God, turn these stones into bread.” He knew that Jesus had not eaten for 40 days and was weak, but he was not really so much goading Him to perform a miracle, as he was attacking His identity!
But the last words Jesus had heard His Father say were: “You are My Son, and I love you!”
Jesus didn't fall for it! He knew who He was at age 12. He knew who He was before He ever heard His Father's voice from Heaven. Passing His wilderness testing, He was ready to go be about His Father's business! His first mission was to His hometown of Nazareth. On the Sabbath, He went to the synagogue and read from the scroll of the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 61: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me…” The eyes of every man in the room were fixed on Him when He closed the scroll and said: “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” They all wondered at His gracious words, yet they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”
Here we go again! For the next three and half years, He would face the same thing again and again: Who is your Father? Where is your Father?
Another Sabbath He entered the temple at Capernaum where a demon possessed man cried out: “What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Are you come to destroy us? We know who you are – the Holy One of God” (Lk.4:34).
If anyone knew who Jesus was – it was the devil! Mary knew that God was His Father, and the devil knew He was God's Son! Demons knew that He was not just another rabbi or teacher, but the Christ, Messiah, the Anointed One, and He had authority from His Father to cast them out.
Jesus operated in “Sonship authority”, and it all hinged on the fact that He knew who He was, because He knew who His Father was. If Satan could have gotten Jesus to doubt His Sonship, then he could have succeeded in canceling His authority, because identity determines authority.
We Too Have Sonship Authority
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12). In Greek, power — EXOUSIA means “authority.” The devil knows who are the true children of God and who are only imposters. In Acts 19 is the account of seven brothers whose father was the chief priest, and they decided to cast demons out of a man using the name of Jesus as they had seen Apostle Paul do. However, they were not truly born again and had not received Sonship authority. The demons in the man jumped on them, beat them up, and tore off their clothes, but not before saying: “Jesus I know, and Paul I know — but who are you?”
The question is: Does the devil know who you are? If you are a true child of God, he knows it!
In order for you to know who you are, you must know who your Father is. If you know who your Father is, you know who you are, and you know 1 John 4:4 is written to you: “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” Little children are under the authority of their parents, and we are under the authority of God our Father, and we are under the authority of His protection. 1 John 5:18 says: “We know that whosoever is born of God sins not; but he that is begotten of God keeps himself, and that wicked one touches him not.” If I don't touch sin, the wicked one cannot touch me!
“My Dream”: Do You Know Who I Am?
I was walking up the street in front of my house as I do on my daily walks. I became aware of an approaching car that was slowing down to my pace. I turned to see a young woman driving a small white car. She rolled down her window to ask me, “Do you know where Ann lives?” She was pointing to an apartment in a building up the street. I told her that I didn't know anyone by the name of Ann, and that an elderly man lived there. At this she became irate, slung open the car door, and got out in full attack mode. I was shocked to see that she was not small as she had appeared in the car, but she was over 6 feet tall and was built more like a man.
She came toward me, and I looked across the street at my house where I saw my daughter, Sarah coming out the door, but she did not pay attention to me. Instead, she walked to the edge of the lawn, turned her back to me, and was looking up at the sky. Then my husband Benny came out and did the same thing. At the same time, other neighbors who were outside walked over and joined them. They all had their backs to me, looking up at the sky. Not one came to my rescue!
At this point, the woman lunged at me, knocked me to the ground, got on top of me, and seemed ready to choke me. Then I caught sight of my neighbor’s dog, and I quickly called out to him: “Doc, Sic her!” Guess what the dog did? He ignored me too!
Finally, realizing I could not expect earthly help, I mustered the strength to push her off of me, and then I jumped on top of her! I began banging her head on the ground repeatedly as I shouted in energized righteous indignation: “Do you know who I am? I am the apple of God's eye, and you better be afraid to touch me!”And it's in the Bible too: “Thus says the Lord of Hosts… for he that touches you, touches the apple of his eye” (Zechariah 2:8). Because if He is your Father, He loves you!
“And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” He could have said: “And everyone who goes for the gold…” While Christians are called to live a selfless life, doing all that we do for the glory of Christ and the advancement of His eternal kingdom, by bringing souls to Him, and sustaining the Saints to finish their course strong, it is not prohibitive for us to give great thought and effort to eternal rewards.
Cold? Hot? or Lukewarm?
In His last letter to the seven churches of Revelation, Jesus indicted the Church of Laodecia: "I would that you were cold or hot. But because you are lukewam, I will spew you out of my mouth!" Did He mean, as some have said, that it's better to be cold... a sinner or backslider in the world, or hot... an on-fire believer in the church, than to be lukewarm... mediocre, or worse, a hypocrite?
Scripture proves there are no circumstances where God wants anyone to be cold in sin. And while Jesus sharply rebuked hypocrites, calling them serpents and sepulchres, He was not referring to them in the lukewarm category.
So what did He mean by lukewarm? Laodecia's ill-famous aquaduct and her two sister cities' water supply hold the key.All Sermons by Sharon Hardy Knotts and R. G. Hardy