little boy lost

I vividly remember a Thanksgiving Day some 25 years ago. I don’t remember the meal or the weather, or the football games. I remember that our younger child, two or three years old, went missing. I remember the stages we went through. Calmly looking, calling out his name and then frantically searching the house. Next, my brother-in-law and I walked around the block looking for him. Then I called the police (who apparently didn’t take the report seriously). My sister-in-law looked upstairs one more time. He was hiding under his bed, against the wall with a blanket covering him. After he realized everyone in the house was in a panicked search for him, he thought it best to stay hidden. I will never forget the feeling of relief that came over me in waves when I saw his aunt carrying him down the stairs. You may or may not be aware that there is a similar episode concerning Jesus in the New Testament.

After three days they found Him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard Him was amazed at His understanding and His answers. When His parents saw Him, they were astonished. His mother said to Him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” “Why were you searching for me?” He asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what He was saying to them. Then He went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:46-52 (NIV).

There is so much to unpack here:

  • After three days (two days of travel and one day searching Jerusalem) they found Jesus. Does that sound familiar? Three days after his death, Jesus would appear to His followers.
  • Jesus didn’t run away, Joseph and Mary left Him behind. He was right where He knew He was supposed to be. They walked away from Jesus and then wondered where He was. Have you ever done that? I certainly have. When God feels distant, it’s an us thing and not a God thing.
  • Yet, they blame Jesus: “Son, why have you treated us like this?” They didn’t intentionally leave Him behind, but it was they who left. We often unintentionally leave Jesus behind. When we hang onto old habits, when we ignore promptings of the Spirit, we are walking away from Jesus. And when we finally notice Him missing, we blame Him.
  • “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” This episode is the first time we see Jesus speak. It’s the last time we hear from Him until His ministry begins 18 years later. But Luke is telling us He was always there.

What about you? Have you ever noticed, in panic, that Jesus is gone? Have you wondered where He has gone? The answer is nowhere. He’s right there. And we don’t have to make a day’s walk to Jerusalem. All we must do is turn around and accept Him again. What an amazing blessing. Whatever we are going through He is there. We just need to see Him and hear Him in our lives.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 (NIV)

Pastor Jerry Bader

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