"My Father's Business"

The first recorded words of the Lord in each of the gospels furnish an index to its character. For example

In Matthew 3:15, "Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness," we see the King, Who will rule His kingdom with equity and truth, Himself marking out the way of righteousness for all His subjects.

In Mark 1:15, "The time is fulfilled," etc., we see the great servant prophet making known the testimony of God to His people.

In John 1:38-39, "What seek ye?" — "Come and see," we behold "the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father," inviting others to share His rich inheritance; and this is Christianity.

And in Luke 2:49, "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" we find even more strikingly still that which governed and altogether characterized the Lord in His lovely pathway, as we may see it all through Luke's gospel.

In the gospel of John the words and works of Jesus called forth the bitter enmity of the leaders of the Jews, for these words and works were the evidence of who He was Whom the Father had sent to declare Himself.

But in Luke's gospel they find another reason for their hatred and contempt — He went after sinners! In chapter 5:30 they complain that He ate with sinners.

In chapter 7:34 they say, He is "a friend of sinners."

In chapter 15:2 they murmur, "This Man receives sinners."

In chapter 19:7 they murmur again, saying, "He was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner."

But this of which they so constantly complained, and for which He was despised and reproached, was "His Father's business"

The very first words of His public ministry fully confirm this, for when He had opened THE BOOK, He found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord was upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor, He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord" (4:18-19).

And amongst the last words that fell from His blessed lips ere He returned to His Father were: "Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (24:47).

Never for an instant did He allow Himself to be turned aside from this blessed mission. The taunts and revilings of His foes did but serve to give it emphasis. So that when they murmur in chapter 5, He replies, "I came to call sinners to repentance."

In chapter 7 He answers by drawing the sinner of the city after Him, and when Simon despised Him for this, He propounds the lovely parable of the creditor who found his great delight in pardoning even a five-hundred-pence debtor.

So also in chapter 15, when they complain that He receives sinners, He replies by telling them of the Father who runs and kisses the returning prodigal, and fills the whole house with merriment because he was safe and sound. It is as though He said, "Yes, I receive sinners, but the reason is because God receives them, I am but manifesting amongst you the grace that is His!"

But not in the activities of life only was the Lord controlled by this one "business." Even amid the unspeakable sorrows of the cross He blessed and gladdened a dying malefactor, which only Luke records. There seems to be a special ring of triumph in the words, "Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise," for in that is demonstrated the fact that His mission had not been in vain. He had come from heaven to gather gems out of the sin and sorrow of this sad world, and the converted thief of Calvary was a sample of these — the earnest of the countless multitude that shall fill heaven to its utmost. Such will be the blessed result of the Father's business having been so perfectly accomplished by Jesus our Lord on earth.

Now every chapter in this precious gospel is stamped by the same things. The miracles and parables all exhibit most strikingly the grace of God which Jesus brought down to sinners. And not only so, but He Himself was the very embodiment of that which His works and words expressed.

We delight to admire, but we are also called upon to imitate, for in this gospel alone the words occur, "Go thou and do likewise." His business has become ours, and that which controlled Him has now to govern His disciples.

We may enter with Him into the joys of the Father's bosom in the gospel of John, but it is equally our privilege and responsibility to come out for Him in the midst of sinners, and be His witnesses there, as in Luke. But in order to do this we shall need to sit at His feet as did Mary (Luke 10), and have hearts and eyes that can weep for sinners as did His (Luke 19). May we have grace to tread this blessed pathway, and be about our Father's business, in the power of the same anointing which He received (Luke 24:49).