Jesus is Missing!!!
His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it ; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that 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 2:41-47
In our last study, we considered how Anna saw Jesus and how she spread the news to all those around her. We also saw the reason why Jesus never sinned When He walked on Earth as a Man. We noted that it was because the Grace of God was upon Jesus and as Long as You are under Grace, Sin cannot rule over You. Here we shall be considering How Jesus got missing in the Temple. And this is a very important and instructive Lesson for Us. If someone Like Mary and Joseph can Miss Jesus, How much more We? Let us therefore see How it happened that they missed Jesus and did not know it.
His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it : Mary and Joseph were religious. They were regular in the Temple. They never missed the passover feast. Mary and Joseph were not careless, ungodly people. They went every year to the feast of Passover. They were not people who had absconded from Church; They went regularly. May be you are such a person who has never missed any of your Church meetings and programs, Joseph and Mary were people like you. The Bible records that when Jesus was twelve years old, they went with Him up to Jerusalem as they had always done. Now if such people that has been working in the service of God, walking with a heart turned towards God, and in holiness, missed Jesus, then I would again like to remind you to consider this very closely. It could happen to us also!
What could have happened to Mary and Joseph that they missed Jesus from their lives? Remember, that Mary carried Jesus for nine months in her womb. She stayed with Jesus for twelve years. How could they have missed Him and not know it? How could you that have been a Christian for some years now still miss Jesus? How could the reality of Jesus, the reality of the Christian life, and the reality of the power of God, disappear from your life and you will not know it? Is it possible to continue in Church and religious activities, going from one meeting to another, and from one conference to another, yet in reality be a backslider? Is it possible that, with all the religious titles, positions, reputations, and privileges around you, Jesus is already missing? What happened to Mary and Joseph?
(1) The Passover became a Custom Feast to them : The Passover day was the day that God delivered the Children of Israel out of Egypt. So it became a Law for them to always remember that day and be grateful to God for what He did for them. But for Joseph and Mary, it was only a Custom and a feast. The reality and conviction of what God did has gone despite they went year by year. A Christian loses Jesus from his life when the experience that changed many people’s lives in the past becomes an ordinary feast to him. When church attendance is no more to encounter, or to have an experience with God, but an ordinary feast and entertainment to a man, he will soon lose Jesus in his life. Do you know that singing choruses, praise worship, hymns, etc. for instance can become a feast? It can degenerate into a Church Custom for praise and worship to be sang. Songs that Men of Old sang and made them go places for God can become a mere feast to us. Even prayer as spiritual as it is can become a ‘feast’. When prayer time is no longer a genuine fellowship with God, but a routine of vain repetition and meaningless words, or even in the name of ‘speaking in Tongues!!! When prayer is no longer a place of receiving God’s will and the grace to do it, but rather, a routine of “God give me this”, “God do this for me” “God destroy all those who are standing in the way of my blessing and promotion”. Let us therefore be watchful that our Church Meetings and religious activities is not a mere feast and custom we have to keep but a Reality of experiencing God.
(2)Their aim was to fulfill the days and return Home : Mary and Joseph went to the Temple only to fulfill the days. There are many who go to church even today just to fulfill the day called, “Sunday”. They go to church to fulfill the fact that they went to church. Their aim to to go and fill the seat and return back home. They did not see Church service as a meeting where they are to have an encounter with the Lord. Nobody was interested in what happened to anybody at the feasts or what definite things they got there. Nobody wanted to know if there was any spiritual experience or any definite touch of God in their lives. Nobody spoke about that. When they had fulfilled the days, they returned. It is just as men go to Church today; some just put on their goggles as if they are listening, but they are sleeping, waiting for the custom to finish. “And as they returned” – most men just go in and they come out. No difference, no touch, no definite experience.
When we begin to see these things in your life, they are signs showing that we may already be missing the Lord Jesus out in our lives and we do not know it.
But supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey,: Another Thing Mary and Joseph did was that they assumed that He was in the Group. During those days, they all move in group when they journey. So they assumed that Jesus must definitely be in that group. . Many times, we forget to personalize our relationship with the Lord Jesus. We forget to pin down what is happening to us as individuals. But a company experience of your spiritual life cannot carry you far. If all you are having is a group experience, and following the crowd, watch out! If you have no personal experience with Jesus, no internal fire in your heart, I humbly, but firmly call you to order this moment. The Bible says each of us shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give account of our lives. We would not stand together, not as a Church or denomination, nor as a ministry group. In fact we will not stand together even as a family. Husbands and wives will not stand together. Each one of us will give account of his or her own life. A father will not give account for his children; children will not give account for their parents. And friends will not give account for their friends. Your Church Group will not speak for You on that day. The greatest mistake that one may make is to assume that the group experience is one’s personal experience. Are you talking of your fellowship, your Church, your group, your club or your company? They are not the real things to talk about. Talk about your Personal life. Talk about how you are with Jesus today. Don’t assume that He is in the Group!!!
They went a day’s journey. Do you know the implication of that? Every day you move without being sure of Jesus, you take a step farther from reality. Each time you realize that you are not as spiritual as people are thinking about you, you must be sincere to yourself and to the people about it. When they ask you to lead a meeting, teach in Sunday school or accept a new position in your Church and you know you are still sinning [though secretly], be sincere and tell the truth about your life. If you cover it and go on to accept spiritual responsibility, you are going a day’s journey without Jesus. Are you a fornicator and you are still teaching a Sunday school class? Do you want to kill yourself? Surely you do want to kill yourself! I see you going to sit on the platform when you are supposed to sit in the pew because of your life. Do you want to destroy yourself? You are going a day’s journey out of God’s presence.
My friend, where are you rushing to? If your life is not right with God, where are you rushing to? Can’t you lock yourself up and kneel down and say: “God I will not let you go until you revive me. Lord Jesus, why am I like this? Why is my life getting confused? I will not let you go until you revive me”. Why are you continuing in this journey? It may be very costly for you to allow today to pass you by without making your life right with God. For a man to continue in hypocrisy for another week after going through this devotion, it will be very costly. For you to assume that God is with everybody including you is a costly assumption when you know that there is emptiness and dryness inside of you. Naomi cried out when she returned and people called her- ‘Naomi’ She said, “Don’t call me Naomi again. I am Marah; my life is now empty and bitter. Why do you call me Naomi? There is no Naomi in me. All that remains in me now is Marah”. Can you make that an honest confession of your true situation before God that God may restore you? Or do you want to go on in this empty, endless journey unto the unknown? Why do you go on in the caravan? Why join that company of men to live in sin?
Joseph and Mary became aware that there was a void. They became aware just like some of you are becoming aware now and discovering that you have missed it somewhere; and they did something about it. The Bible says;
“…so they traveled a whole day before they began to make an anxious search for Him.”
When they discovered that Jesus was not there, they took a step- a good step, a step to search for Jesus. They decided to look for Him.
Stop right where you are now! Go on your knees and begin to cry to God in search for Jesus that has missed in your life for a while now. Jesus has been waiting out there where you left Him, when you forcefully ejected Him from your life with disobedience. He has been weeping ever since then, waiting and longing for your return. You have travelled far, yes He knows that; but never mind, just go back to Him, dear friend. He will order your steps afresh and guide you on the right path for your life. Don’t waste any more time else some evil overtake you!!
And they sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances: The next thing I want you to consider, and avoid in your steps to spiritual restoration is what I see in this Scripture. Several people seem to have fallen victim of it.
There are times when God wants to revive you and He wakes you up to the issue of the emptiness and the lack of the reality of God in your life, but instead of going to where you can find the reality of Jesus- you seek Him elsewhere. The Bible says; “they sought Him among their kinsfolk and among their acquaintance.” They were looking for Him among men. You may really want to be spiritual but where do you go? May be you really want to repent, but where do you go looking for the Saviour? Are you looking among your companions? Are you looking among your kinsfolk or your relatives? Some of you know that holiness is a condition for seeing heaven but instead of looking to God, you look around and say, “Even my Elders are not holier than myself, even my Pastor used to beat his wife.” Is that enough for you to go on being careless? When you get over there, before the Lord to give account of yourself, your pastor’s life will not be accepted as an excuse.
If you keep seeking Jesus among your kinsfolk and friends, you may be disappointed. You may be disappointed that the people you thought were spiritual or those you thought could help you may have ended up not showing you the reality of the Lord Jesus. So put aside every argument and self-justification and turn to Jesus in humility and repentance. He will abundantly pardon. And there is enough grace in Him to make you live up to God’s standard and requirements. Moreover, God has not introduced any other person to us as our Saviour and as our example…But concerning Jesus, He declared Him to the whole world saying; “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him.(Matt 17:5)” Even the greatest of prophets and the best of preachers are yet not our perfect example for conduct, life and character…We are only to follow them to the extent that they follow Jesus. Make Jesus, and Him alone your standard. Make His words your command and His life style your own, then you shall find peace and restoration, not just for now but for your soul eternally here after.
So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple: That is a very serious step you must take right now! Go back again. Go back to where you missed it. Go back to where the reality of Jesus disappeared from your life. Go back again to where you missed your personal quiet time and your personal reverence for the word of God. Go back again to where you started. Go back to your first love. Mary and Joseph went back again. Take note of that: they turned back again to Jerusalem just to seek Him. They had no other business, no other thing that took their attention. They went just seeking Him. In order for revival to come into your life, you must concentrate on this issue- SEEKING JESUS!
One important thing that I want you to note is that Jesus has not changed. He has not shifted His stand. Where you left Him, there you will meet Him. His standpoint has not changed; you are the one who drifted and changed. You are the one who wanted to become like other people and joined the ‘caravan’. But Jesus remained where He was left. The Word of God has not changed. His love has not changed. You are the one who has changed, so you are the one to go back to Him. He will always be there. When they got back to Jerusalem, they found Him there.
Right now go back again. You will find Jesus where you left Him. His Word is still as sweet. His authority is ever there. His glory is ever real.
Dear Friend, Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? Check whether You have not lost your First Love and Devotion to the Lord. If You notice that He is Missing in your Heart, Go back to where You Lost Him. He is waiting for You. Even if It takes You three days, You will definitely Find Him. May the Lord give us Grace to be sensitive to His Presence and ability to God back in case we have missed Him.(Amen). God bless You. Have a blessed day.
#Everyday with Jesus.