There is a fascinating story in the gospel of Luke that gave me pause. As I read the passage I thought, "they lost Jesus!" Here's the story of the first people to lose Jesus,
Luke 2:41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. 42 When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. 43 After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, 44 because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends.
45 When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. 46 Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. 47 All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
48 His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”
49 “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
They lost Jesus!
In the busyness of life, as they traveled home, they didn't even notice that they had lost Jesus. They assumed he was with them. When they finally discovered he wasn't they retraced their steps to find him. I can't imagine their thoughts as they frantically searched. THEY LOST JESUS!
He was the Messiah promised.
He was the King of the Jews.
He was the hope of Israel.
God had entrusted him to them. How could this happen? Where did we last see him? Where did we leave him?
How much of our lives can we live without noticing Jesus? How often we travel for days and suddenly realize, hey...where's Jesus? Where was the last place we saw him, met with him? It seems that Mary and Joseph were not the only ones to lose Jesus...we do it all the time. Life gets busy, stuff to do, and suddenly we turn to discover we have lost Jesus, left him somewhere as we have been busy about living life.
He doesn't chase us, he waits....waits at the last place we met....waits for us to return to that place of encounter with him. We may be frantic about our search for him, but he waits. He knows where we are and he waits for us to return to him.
How could they lose Jesus? But they did....and so do we! In the crazy lives we live we leave him somewhere behind. We don't even notice he's not with us and then suddenly think, "Where's Jesus? What happened? Where did we last meet?"
When that happens in your life go back to the last place you met him. He's waiting for you. He's waiting to fellowship with you. He will wait. He waits for us to stop, return to him and walk with him in God's presence on his terms. It might surprise you to realize you've lost him, but it happens to all of us. Return to him. He's waiting.*
*(Caveat: I know, according to God's word, that he will never leave us or forsake us. That truth has not escaped me. The word picture I'm using in this piece is meant to connect the experience of Mary and Joseph with our lives as believers and how busy we can be. Thanks for catching the big idea of the post and not dwelling on the theological nuance of his presence in the believer's life.)