And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind the Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him…
It is not how you started that matters but how you ended!
According to the above scripture, “…as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem…” (v. 43) Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem with Jesus but they didn’t come back with Jesus. They started with Jesus but in the course of time, they didn’t know where they left Him. It is possible that as they feasted in Jerusalem, the pleasure and other euphoria of the festival made them to forget that they came with Jesus.
Many Christians are in the same situation right now
Many started well, they started with Jesus, they grew up singing in the choir, praying in night vigils, embarking on evangelism, helping the poor and doing other noble Christian activities. But today…?
Today they don’t know where Jesus is. They gained admission into the university and went to school with Jesus but now they have graduated they don’t know where Jesus is. They entered into a relationship with Jesus but now they have left Him in the man’s bedroom. They entered into business with Jesus but now in an attempt to be connected to “big boys”, they have left Jesus and have joined fraternities and occults. They joined movie industry with Jesus, but in order to land a major role in a movie, they left Jesus. They entered politics with Jesus but left Him when they went to take some oaths in a shrine. They travelled overseas with Jesus hoping to secure a better life but in an attempt to survive, they left Jesus so that they can do cocaine business.
The penultimate question everyone must answer is “Where have I left Jesus?”
Apostle Paul said, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know that Jesus Christ is in you?” (2 Corinthians 5:13). It is time to take inventory of your relationship with God.
Is Jesus still in your life? Is your relationship with God as it was when you met Him? Are you still a candidate of heaven? If the rapture is to take place right now, will you still fly with the saints? The Bible says, “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.” (1 Corinthians 11:31). If you sincerely answer these questions, then you need to do what Mary and Joseph did.
…But they, supposing him to have been in the company… (v. 44)
Mary and Joseph supposed he was in the company. They thought Jesus was still with them! This is exactly the problem of many Christians—they always assume. Somehow they always feel that everything is the way it was as it was in the beginning. Samson made a similar mistake:
Judges 16:20 says:
And she said, ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.
Samson thought that God was still with him but he didn’t know that He had departed. Many Christians think that after cheating in the examination hall or after bribing to get a job that God will still be with them. So many Christians think that after adultery, fornication, masturbation, watching pornography, as so on, that God will still be where He was.
There is nothing as painful to God as when Gehazi runs after Naaman, lies to him to collect what Prophet Elisha rejected, hide the items somewhere and comes back to the prophet to stand before him as if nothing happened! “When he came to the citadel, he took them from their hand, and stored them away in the house; then he let the men go, and they departed. Now he went in and stood before his master. Elisha said to him, “Where did you go, Gehazi?” and he said, “Your servant did not go anywhere.” (2 Kings 5:24-25). He stood as if nothing happened. As an usher in your church, do you sleep with your boyfriend on Friday night and then come to church on Sunday to usher people into the presence of God as if nothing happened? The heart of God bleeds when a choir member commits adultery on Saturday night and picks the microphone on Sunday morning and begins to lead praise and worship as if nothing happened. Do you as a Pastor falsify figures in church account so as to buy a new car and yet you pick the microphone and preach as if nothing happened? Friend, those things matter go God.
…And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him… (v. 45)
Seek Him when you can find Him
Stop assuming that everything is perfectly okay as usual. Leave everything you are doing and search for Him. Trace Him to where you left Him. God promised “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13). Seek Him with all your heart. Let it come from within you that you need God in your life. The Father desires and seeks those that will seek Him in truth. (John 4:23). Prophet Isaiah said, “Seek the LORD while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:6-7.
Interestingly God rewards diligent seekers. “…for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6). When Mary and Joseph sought Jesus, the good news is that they eventually found Him!
…they went a day’s journey, and sought Him … after three days they found him… (vv. 44, 46)
It took a day before Mary and Joseph discovered that Jesus was not in their midst, but I took three days to find Him.
Even though it is a good news to find Jesus, it is a better news not to lose him in the first place. The cost of finding Him is higher! What they lost in one day took three days to be found. Many years ago, I adopted a personal law of life that says, “if your house is on the mountain top, it is better to build a fence around it than to build an orthopaedic hospital at the foot of the mountain.” The fence will prevent you from failing, the orthopaedic hospital will fix you up should you fall and break your bones. The orthopaedic hospital will inevitably leave you with scars!
It takes more to build than to destroy
1 Kings 9:10, “Now it happened at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the LORD and the king’s house,” (1 Kings 6:38-7:1). Solomon used 7 years to build the temple and 13 years to build his own house. The temple that took King Solomon 7 years (B.C. 1012 – 1005) to build was destroyed in one day by Nebuchadnezzar. The second temple, buildt by Zerubbabel and Jeshua (B.C. 520) was torn down and it took 46 years for Herod the Great to rebuild the temple as recorded according to John 2:20. “Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”
Whatever you lose will take more to recover. Whatever you recover will never be exactly as it was before
First temple during Solomon’s time took 7 years to be built and the temple during Jesus’s time took 46 years. The devil knows this truth and that is why he makes sure that you lose your relationship with God. You need therefore to do everything possible not to allow anything to damage your union with God in the first place.
In any case, there is still hope if you discovered that Jesus isn’t with you any longer. All you need to do is to come back to Him, repent of your sins and start a fresh walk with Him as the Bible says, “Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works…” (Revelations 2:4-5)
“Nobody is too far to be reached,
Too lost to be found,
Or too damned to be saved”
Pray with me:
“Lord Jesus, forgive me for abandoning you. Receive me back. I rededicate my life to you today in Jesus name—Amen!”