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Don't Leave Jesus Behind

Updated on November 19, 2017
revmjm profile image

Rev. Margaret Minnicks has been a Bible teacher for over 50 years and loves sharing nuggets from the Bible with others.

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” since he just reached 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.

Jesus Stayed Behind in the Temple

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.

A Day's Journey

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 Nazareth 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 was with family and friends when he was not.

After Three Days

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!

Mary's Question

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.

Listen to "Don't Leave Jesus Behind."

About Jesus Being Left Behind

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    • revmjm profile image

      Margaret Minnicks 6 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Betty: I felt the anointing all over again as I read your comment. Those I teach and preach to tell me that I paint pictures as I preach; that I put the person right there in the scene. The way you commented lets me know you were right there with Mary and Joseph as they looked for Jesus up and down that caravan and back in Jerusalem until they found Him. I have truly been edified by your comment. Thanks

    • Betty Johansen profile image

      Betty Johansen 6 years ago

      You bring up several things I never thought about. I had never pictured the actual scene with Mary and Joseph walking up and down the whole Nazareth caravan, trying to find Jesus. And I had particularly never thought about (1) here we hear the first words of Jesus and (2) Mary speaks of Joseph, while Jesus speaks of God. A fascinating insight into this early event in the life of our Savior. Thank you!

    • revmjm profile image

      Margaret Minnicks 6 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Treasuresofheaven: So, now you know how Jesus was left behind. I'm glad I could answer that for you. Thanks for the R & R - Reading and Responding!

    • Treasuresofheaven profile image

      Sima Ballinger 6 years ago from Michigan

      I have often wondered how Jesus was left behind. This answers my questions. The life of Jesus teaches us many things. Thanks for this hub and nice blog. Vote Up!

    • revmjm profile image

      Margaret Minnicks 6 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Well, Dave, if God had sent one of His messengers to Mary and Joseph to tell them not to worry, then the story would have been entirely different with a whole new set of life applications. I think this story was meant to teach us that while we think Jesus has been "misplaced" it is us who have walked away from Him. There is a whole lot I could say about your point of view, but I leave it up to you to write a hub about that concept.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      revmjm: I have enjoyed this story about Jesus as a youth many times too. The one question that always comes to mind though is:

      Why did God not send one of His messengers to Mary and Joseph to tell them not to worry, that Jesus was being watched over?

      I mean I have misplaced things again and again, but Holy Spirit always tells me exactly where I am going to find what is lost and tells me not to worry.

    • profile image

      Dian Ramsey 6 years ago

      I find that we run ahead of Jesus on a daily basis. We think in our minds that what we are about to do is good and it would be the will of our Lord, when actually it is not. Sometimes when he allows us to go ahead the results are not what we expected. I have found in my own life that when I do as the game we used to play when I was a child and ask 'May I," and ask him for his input, the results are much more fruitful. this is a great hub. thank you and have a Great Day in our Lord.

    • revmjm profile image

      Margaret Minnicks 6 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Of all the sermons I have ever preached, this is my favorite. I have preached it about ten times at different churches, of course. I hope you enjoy reading it just as much as I enjoy preaching it. You may also listen to it at