It’s easy to overlook Jesus’ words, “I have to be about my Father’s business.” We expect this kind of pious comment. Nonetheless, the statement makes an important point: Jesus wasn’t about himself; he was about God, his father. His every teaching explained and every action demonstrated that God, the Creator of the universe, knows and loves us.
Early Christians grew up believing that the Messiah would transform the world: he would overcome, not succumb, to inhumanity. In their attempts to explain how humans could have destroyed the Messiah, the Creator’s Presence, Christians sought a mechanism of salvation that necessitated Jesus’ dying.
One explanation for the world’s history of chaos was that God withheld his blessings because of human sin. Actions contrary to God’s will had thrown the world out of balance. Only when the world was rebalanced, freed from sin’s consequences, could it receive God’s favor – could it become God’s Kingdom. If the Messiah’s execution paid the total price for human sin, it would reestablish balance and make the world worthy of God’s blessing. Jesus’ incomprehensible crucifixion itself accomplished our salvation. This explanation won common acceptance; it also, however, presented serious problems.
Making Jesus’ death the crux of our salvation separated his work from the work of Creation. Everything else good in life is the result of God creating and humans realizing the potential of his creation. From babies to bocce balls, God creates and people build on his gifts. Not so with Jesus’ crucifixion.
For Jesus to “be about his Father’s business” means that he also was about creation. As God’s Loving Presence, his life demonstrated that the Source of all goodness was not alienated from humanity. His entire life, up to and including his acceptance of death, revealed that the Creator was dedicated to the world. For those who knew him, Jesus’ life became the freeing and sustaining foundation for living. Jesus was God’s “you can do this because I am with you.” Jesus’ salvation wasn’t separate from our creation. It was the definitive statement that God’s promise was imbedded in life from its beginning.