I have found that the Bible can be pretty funny. It is comical to me reading Luke 2 when I hear about Mary and Joseph leaving the city of Jerusalem and traveling all day, several miles down the road, only to realize that their son is not with them and they don’t know where he is. First of all, this is THE Savior of the World!! How could you leave the temple with your people and not realize the most important person in the world is not with you? I can picture Mary looking at Joseph and asking, “Got Jesus?”
The reality of the story is that Jesus is close to the age of being a young man so it wasn’t like he was a toddler that they left behind. Every parent who has lost their child in the grocery store or at a park for a few minutes knows the overwhelming feeling of desperation, anxiety, and devastation. You realize your child isn’t with you and then you become frantic to know where they are or what happened to them and the worst scenarios begin to play in your head. Granted, it wasn’t as dangerous back in Jesus’ time to leave a child unattended but it was still scary.
So, Mary and Joseph travel back to Jerusalem, arriving 3 days after they turned back. They find Jesus in the temple courts listening to the teachers. This is a little comical to me as well. This is Jesus Christ, our Lord, who is all knowing and creator of all things, listening to teachers. I understand, though, that he may have been quizzing them on their own knowledge and faith and probably teaching them the truth in scripture.
When Mary finds Jesus in the temple I completely understand Mary’s question to Jesus, “Son, why have you treated us like this?” When I experienced the anxiety of once losing my daughter at Chucky Cheese for ten minutes I was so upset with her that she had disappeared out of my sight. Once I found her I had the overwhelming urge to hold her and never let go but also to spank her for the anguish I had experienced in those ten minutes. When the reality is I should’ve been watching her every move if I was concerned about her safety. Jesus had the perfect response, “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house”? Truly, Mary and Joseph were the ones who left Jesus at the temple! They left HIM behind.
How often do we leave Jesus behind? We hope to have the close walk with our Lord but most believers are doing pretty good just to attend church on Sunday. We attend church for an hour on Sunday but most fail to take Jesus home. We leave church and travel throughout the week in our routines and fail to spend time in studying scripture, saying daily personal prayers, or sharing in fellowship with other believers. Just like Mary and Joseph returning to the temple, Jesus is right where we left him when we arrive back at church on Sunday.
More importantly, if you seek Jesus only when you think you need him then you may travel too far away from him that it takes A LOT of time to make the journey back. Jesus doesn’t want to be interacted with only at church or when you need him…he wants to be part of our everyday lives with personal prayers, bible studies, and growing relationships with other believers. In this new year, we must evaluate our priorities and make Jesus the center of our lives. It’s easy for believers’ hearts to pull away from Jesus if they lose focus on these priorities and then their sinful natures and desires can overtake them. Don’t forget Jesus and turn to him later in desperation and ask where he has been. He is always there waiting for you to sit at his feet and listen to his teaching.