Today’s Reading: Luke 2
One of my favorite quotes about moms comes from the old 1960s’ comedian Milton Berle: “If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?”
With all a mother has to do, it is no surprise when a child gets accidentally left behind in the rush and frenzy of trying to get someplace. Have you ever done that? My wife and I have . . . or should I say, I have. I think each of my children have called me while I was driving in my car to tell me I left them at church.
Have you ever lost a child in a store? In our family when I was growing up, we had a special whistle that my mom had. When we were lost we just listened for that whistle. Every mother has experienced losing a child at one time or another. Don’t be discouraged; even the best mother ever messed up. Ready for this? Mary, the mother of Jesus, lost Him.
That’s our study today as we dive into Luke 2.
It can be embarrassing to lose a child. But what if your child is Jesus—and you lost Him? Then it’s cataclysmic. Let’s read the story:
Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He became twelve, they went up there according to the custom of the Feast; and as they were returning, after spending the full number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. But His parents were unaware of it, but supposed Him to be in the caravan, and went a day’s journey; and they began looking for Him among their relatives and acquaintances. When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem looking for Him. Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. When they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” (Luke 2:41-49)
I love Mary and think she is an amazing woman. This story tells me why Mary could not be sinless, though. You can’t be sinless and lose God.
Let’s get a couple of lessons from our story. Mary and Joseph made two big mistakes in this situation:
1. They supposed Him to be in the caravan;
2. They looked for Him among their relatives.
Let’s consider the first mistake: they assumed Jesus was there without checking. They “supposed Him to be in the caravan.” How many times have we supposed something? We suppose because we are in a church that Jesus is there; or we suppose because someone says they are saved that Jesus is there in their heart. We can’t suppose anything. The question is: “Is He there or is He not there?” How do I know if Jesus is with you? Because wherever Jesus is, change happens. Not change on your weekend when you come to church, but an everyday change!
How long has your journey gone on and you have not stopped even to ask yourself, Is Jesus with me? Or how long has it been until you realized that Jesus is not there with you? Thank God it took Mary and Joseph only a day to figure out that He wasn’t with them; many go on for years.
Their second mistake was that they assumed, If He is with the family, He is with me.
This is really dangerous. They looked for Him among their relatives, but they looked in the wrong place. We do that too. We look for Jesus in a church, a denomination, even on a day of the week. How often have we even thought, My mom is religious, so I am religious too. Your mom may have Jesus, but that doesn’t mean you do. The place you look for Jesus is in your own heart. God only comes where we invite Him into our lives. He is not there automatically. As John 1:12-13 (NIV) tells us: “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
When it was all said and done, it took Mary and Joseph four days to finally find Jesus:
When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem looking for Him. Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. (Luke 2:45-46)
As Tim Keller reminds us:
Every religious founder of every major religion says, “I’m a prophet who has come to show you the way to God.” But of all the major religions of the world, only Christianity has a founder who has the audacity to say “I am God, and I have come to find you.” Do you realize how different that is?
If Jesus is not with us, let’s find Him today. Or let’s get it straight that He is not lost, we are.