41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
It was the annual custom of Jesus’ family to travel to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. After the festival people returned to their homes and so it was with Jesus’ family although unbeknown to Mary and Joseph, Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem. After a day Mary and Joseph realised Jesus had not travelled with friends or relatives and frantically headed back to Jerusalem to locate Jesus. They found him safe and sound in the temple listening and asking the religious leaders questions. This left Jesus parents bewildered! It was apparent at a young age that Jesus had a zeal for God’s house.
As a parent I can’t imagine what Mary and Joseph went through trying to find Jesus for 3 days. Searching, asking and looking here there and everywhere until they finally found him – what a relief! From this passage we can learn that it is possible to lose Jesus even if you know him. You can assume he is nearby, with family or friends perhaps but he’s not. I am encouraged to keep my eyes on Jesus, to remain close to him so I can follow him. This Scripture helps me to take stock – where is Jesus in my life, is he close or at the periphery?
Dear Lord, please help me to keep my eyes on Jesus so I can follow him each day. May I not wander off and be distant from Jesus. Amen
Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods