The Blessing of Obedience

St. Luke 2:51-52

by The Rt. Rev. Daniel R. Morse

Epiphany 2007


We celebrate the baptism of Jesus on the first Sunday after Epiphany. Baptism is the time when receive our Christian name—it means a new heart, a new disposition—it means we live like a Christian, with the character of a Christian.

I. Jesus Obeyed His Parents

A. Jesus was prepared at home. The boy Jesus had been well taught. Long before he sat in the midst of the doctors, he must have learned at Mary’s knee.

B. Duty to His Parents. This devotion to His heavenly Father was not inconsistent with his duty to his earthly parents, for he “came to Nazareth and was obedient to them.” This applies not merely to his actual childhood but to his whole Nazareth life. Child, boy, and man, he submitted His will, time, and work to his parents’ instructions. He showed his love to God by obeying parents.

C. You show your love to God by the way you treat your parents.

II. Jesus Increased in Wisdom

A. Jesus grew in wisdom because he obeyed his parents. He spent thirty years in private to prepare for three years in public. The best preparation for the future is the present. He did not despise their instructions.

B. We may even learn the needed lesson that it is quite possible to be good even in a bad situation, and that our surroundings are often part of our discipline.

C. If you don’t obey your parents you will grow up to be a fool.

III. Jesus Reminds Us To Obey

A. The Holy Gospel shows us how our Lord willingly assumed the duties imposed on him as the Savior from sin, and that in doing so He was obeying His parents. We celebrate the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of him—in remembrance of his obedience. Let it remind you, Christ says, “To think of Me, of My love for you that prompted Me to give My body and shed My blood for you on the Cross. Let it remind you of My work and My Person, of all about Me, also of My wholehearted devotion to obey my Father.”

B. We are so prone to forget our high calling and blessed responsibility. So the Lord calls us to His Table and says: “Do this in remembrance of Me, your Savior and Redeemer. This is to remind you not to forget that you belong to Me. I have bought you with a price. You belong not to yourself, not to the world. You are My blood-bought property. You are bound to serve Me.”

He said to his followers: “As the Father has sent Me, even so I send you.” He insists that his work on earth is as much ours as the Father’s work was his. Therefore he expects of his followers the same devotion to the Father’s business that characterized his whole life. When we celebrate the Holy Communion in remembrance of our Lord, we are to be reminded also of his wholehearted devotion to the Father’s business.

Remember how fully and completely he gave himself to the work for which he was sent. He said: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” His very existence was to do that for which his Father had sent him into the world. He said: “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” Again: “I must work the works of him who sent me.” At the end of his life he could say: “I glorified Thee on earth, having accomplished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.”

C. We need to be reminded that our Lord expects of all his followers this same devotion to the Father’s work. As you come today and joyously confess your happy conviction that the Lord Jesus has purchased you with his body and blood to serve him, ask yourself what you are doing for him. God has something for you to do. He wants you to obey him and your parents.