Don't Leave Jesus Behind
The only record of Jesus' childhood is found in Luke 2:41-52.
Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem every year to attend the festival of the Passover. There were three such festivals, but this was the only one that was required for poor people who had to travel a distance. On this particular trip, Jesus, who had just reached the age of twelve went along with his parents. We may imagine how the holy city and the temple and the sacred rituals fascinated him. He was now considered a “Son of the Law” being at the age of accountability. From this point on, Jesus would be required to attend the festivals in Jerusalem each year just as the adults had to.
After seven days, the parents of Jesus left, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they did not know it.
Let’s not label Joseph and Mary neglectful or careless parents. They were not riding in an automobile where they could just look in the back seat and see if Jesus was with them. They were not traveling on an airplane where they had to check in at the airport. Neither did they go by train or by bus where the conductor stamped all tickets and all passengers were accounted for. No, they walked the 80 miles to and from the festival. And this was done in groups, or companies, or caravans. Family, friends, relatives, neighbors all formed groups whose members would furnish assistance to one another in case of illnesses or danger. Some of the groups would walk more leisurely than others. On the return trip, all the women and small children left first, then the men and the older children followed. Now do you see how Mary could have thought Jesus was with Joseph, and Joseph could have though Jesus was with Mary? Jesus, who had just turned twelve could have been in either group.
They went a day’s journey’ without knowing Jesus was not with them.That was about 26 miles. But when they discovered he was not with them, they went back to the place where they first lost Him. Joseph and Mary looked for Jesus among their relatives and acquaintances. The Narareth caravan was so long that it took them a whole day to look through it, but they did not find Jesus. It is so sad to think Jesus is with family and friends when He is not.
After three days, they found Jesus in the temple. Can you imagine being without Jesus for three days? On that third day, they found where they had lost touch with Him — in the temple. Jesus had been lost by holy people who loved him. What we have here is a story of the most unlikely people losing Jesus. We must also keep in mind that they lost him in Jerusalem, that holy city of God. They lost Him in the place where most people find him — in the temple. They lost Him in an instant, but it took three days to find Him.
When they found him, he was sitting in the midst of the teachers of the Law in the role of a pupil listening and asking questions. All who heard Jesus answering the questions were amazed at his understanding and his answers. Jesus was attending Bible Study!
Joseph and Mary were amazed at what they saw and at what they heard. Mary asked, “Son why have you done this to us? Your father (meaning Joseph) and I have sought you anxiously.” And Jesus so gently gives an answer indicating that He is now becoming aware that He is the Son of God. He said to them, “Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” These are the first recorded words of Jesus. And they were about His Father.
Notice Mary asked a question in reference to Jesus’ earthly father, but He answered it in reference to His heavenly Father. Also, notice the urgency of Jesus’ answer: I MUST be about my Father’s business.
in obedience to his parents, Jesus left with them. We see or hear nothing else about Jesus in the Bible until He was thirty years old when He was baptized in the Jordan by John the Baptist.
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