Luke 2: 41-46
“41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.”
Have you ever lost or thought you lost your child? My daughter, Erin, once hid in our dog’s house in the backyard. I searched everywhere and walked by the doghouse numerous times calling her name before I thought to look inside of it.
So, how did Joseph and Mary lose the Son of God?
Joseph and Mary may have traveled to Jerusalem with a large group. In such a group, the women would start the day’s journey earlier than the men and the men started later, catching the women’s group in the evening. So, it is possible that when Mary and Joseph began their journey home, each assumed that Jesus was with the other. It was not until they were both together in the evening that they discovered He was not with either of them.
After they discovered he was not with them, they returned to Jerusalem and searched for him for three days. As a parent, I can only imagine the horror, guilt and fear that they felt. And when you add the fact that their child was the long awaited Messiah, they were probably in a panic.
I can see them in my mind walking on crowded Jerusalem streets shouting Jesus’ name, passing by the temple dozens of times before they thought to look inside. And there they found him.
Many people, who have found Jesus in their places of worship, think they are traveling life’s road with Jesus when in reality Christ is nowhere in their lives. He has been left in the temple.
In order for Christ to be in our lives, we can’t leave him in the temple. We have to walk with him at our side everywhere we go...and all the way home.
May the love of Christ be with you,
Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)