Grace For The Journey
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 797,500 children were reported missing in a single year. Some 200,000 of those were abducted by someone within their family. 58,000 of them were abducted by someone outside of their family.
In our text today, in Luke 2:49, the Jesus raised the question we will look at today, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” As we look at Luke chapter two today, we find a story involving a missing child. The child in question was not just any child, however. This missing child was none other than the young child Jesus.
As you read this interesting story, you realize that even though Mary and Joseph could not find Him, the Lord Jesus wasn’t really lost at all. He was safe and secure in His Father’s house. This particular passage is one of the most intriguing and important texts in the New Testament. It is significant for a couple of reasons.
- In this text, we have the first recorded words from the mouth of the Lord Jesus.
- This story gives us our only glimpse into the life of our Lord prior to the beginning of His ministry at 30 years of age.
The story itself has in it some wonderful lessons for those, who like Mary and Joseph find the Lord Jesus missing from their lives. There are times when we assume we are near the Lord, only to find that we have left Him at some point in our journey.
As we examine this story, there are three truths we draw from it that help us to find Him when we find Him missing. First of all, there is a truth here that deals with the issue of:
1) LEAVING WITHOUT THE LORD.
I read a story once about a couple that were standing in line at the airport getting ready to fly out on vacation, when the husband said, “I wish I had brought the piano.” The wife said, “The piano? Why do we need the piano?” The husband said, “We don’t. But our tickets are on the piano.” As we go through life, there are times that we set out on our path and forget the most important thing. That was certainly the case with Mary and Joseph in Luke 2. The whole family had visited the great city of Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Luke tells us in verse 43, “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.”
Joseph and Mary left without their son. In so doing, they remind us of those who venture out in life without the presence of the Lord going with them. Notice a couple of things we learn from Mary and Joseph about leaving without the Lord Jesus . . .
Verse 44 says, “But supposing Him to have been in the company . . .” It is likely that the family had traveled in a large caravan of people from Nazareth, and Mary and Joseph just assumed that their Son was somewhere with the group.
Mary and Joseph remind us of the danger of supposition and assumption when it comes to the Christian life. It is dangerous to assume and suppose things about the Lord Jesus.
The Christian life is not lived
Based upon suppositions,
But rather upon convictions.
We live for the Lord,
And walk with Him
Based upon what
We know to be true;
Not what we assume.
There are many that assume and suppose that because they attend church regularly, the Lord is therefore with them. Others assume and suppose that because their morality is a step above their neighbor’s, it is somehow an evidence of a right relationship with God. Don’t just suppose He is in the company of your home, simply because you call yourself a Christian. You can attend church, and still raise a pagan family. Don’t assume Christ is present and active in your life.
Notice something else we draw from Mary and Joseph, and their leaving without the Lord Jesus. Notice not only their supposition, but notice also further:
Because Mary and Joseph did not make sure their Son was with them, they traveled an entire day’s journey, separated from the presence of the Lord. There is a very interesting principle illustrated in this scene. What we have here is . . .
A picture of the difference
Relationship and fellowship.
Though they were separated by distance, Jesus was still Mary’s Son. The relationship was intact. However, she could not speak to Him. She could not hear His voice. She could not touch Him. Was there a relationship? Yes. Was there fellowship? No.
In much the same way, we as believers can set out in the journey of life, assuming the Lord Jesus is with us, only to find out that somewhere we have left Him. He is still our Savior. We are still Christians. The relationship has not changed. However, we cannot communicate with Him as we once did. We do not hear His voice or sense His touch as we had when we were close to Him.
Was there a time when you walked with the Lord every day? You read His Word and talked with Him in prayer. Now, it has been weeks, months, or even years since you were truly close to Him. There is a separation. You have a relationship with Christ; but no fellowship.
I don’t think that most Christians intend to leave without the Lord Jesus. However, like Mary and Joseph, through negligence and supposition they find themselves separated from Him, and though they still have a relationship with Him, they are far from having fellowship with Him.
Notice another truth we see in this story. There is not only something here dealing with the issue of leaving without the Lord Jesus, but we find also secondly, something about . . .
2) LOOKING FOR THE LORD.
The later part of verse 44 says, “… they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances.” Mary and Joseph still assumed Jesus was somewhere in the group, but when they hadn’t seen or heard from him in a while, they began to look for Him.
Perhaps like Mary and Joseph, you have been traveling along in life, assuming everything is alright between you and the Lord, but right now you realize that you haven’t heard His voice in a while. You haven’t sensed His presence for some time. Perhaps, like Mary and Joseph, you are beginning to wonder where He is.
From this passage, we learn that looking for the Lord Jesus involves a couple of things. First of all . . .
It Involves a Review.
Mary and Joseph had assumed that their Son was somewhere in the group with which they were traveling. When they begin to wonder about Him, they immediately checked among their fellow travelers to find out if what they had assumed was true.
May I say to you, if it has been a while since you felt the presence of the Lord in your life, perhaps like Mary and Joseph, you need to review your situation, and see if everything is right with your Lord. There is wisdom in frequently and honestly evaluating the condition of your spiritual life. Taking account of your spiritual condition and the health of your relationship to the Lord is critical.
You may assume and suppose that you are where you need to be in your relationship with Christ, but like Mary and Joseph, as you begin to look for Him, you may find that you are farther away than you had ever imagined.
Notice something else we find here about looking for the Lord. Not only does looking for Jesus involve a review, but also . . .
It Involves a Return.
Verse 45 states, “So when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.” What sad words! They searched for Him, but He was not where they had supposed him to be.
What do you do when you can’t find Jesus in your life? What do you do when you realize that somewhere you have left the Lord Jesus? The answer is found in that same verse. The Bible says, “So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.” There it is. You will find Him where you left Him; where you lost Him. He will be in the last place in which you communed with Him and had contact with Him.
When you find Him missing, go back to the last place He spoke to you, and you will likely find Him there. Recall and return to the place where you last felt His touch, and sensed His presence, and there you will doubtless find Him. Maybe it was an altar where you made a commitment to Him. Maybe it was the chair in your home where you used to sit down with His Word and commune with Him. Mary and Joseph had left Him in Jerusalem. When they realized where they had left Him, they returned to that place.
The Bible says in Revelation 2:5, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent”
Notice another truth we draw from this story. We learn something not only about leaving without the Lord Jesus, and looking for the Lord Jesus, but notice with me also something about . . .
3) LEARNING FROM THE LORD.
Luke tells us in verse 48 that when Mary and Joseph found the son they had left behind, Mary said to Him, “So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, ‘Son, why have You done this to us? Look Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” In her panicked state, Mary tried to correct her Son, but instead of teaching Him, she got a lesson herself. The Lord Jesus looked at her and said, “Why have you been searching for me? Didn’t you know that I would be involved in the things of my Father?”
In the Lord’s subtle rebuke, we find a couple of lessons for our own lives. First of all, there is a lesson to be found in . . .
Where He Is Discovered.
Verse 46 says, “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.” If you are looking for the Lord Jesus, where are you more likely to find Him than in the House of God? You are certainly more likely to find the Lord Jesus in church than you are on the lake, at the ball field, or beside your bed.
I don’t want to over-stress this particular point, but those who are searching for the Lord Jesus, and trying to restore fellowship with Him ought to attend the services where He is worshiped, and therefore is likely to be present. We live in a day in which church attendance is in rapid decline, and increasingly people put less importance upon being faithful to church.
If you are looking for the Lord Jesus, get your Bible and go to church. The house of God is always a good place to find the Son of God. He is more likely to be found among His people than in any other place.
Notice another lesson we learn from the Lord Jesus and His answer to Mary. We learn something not only from where he was discovered, but we also learn a lesson from . . .
What He Was Doing.
We read in verse 49 that the adolescent Jesus, no less divine than when He hung on the cross, looked at His mother and said, “… Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” Obviously, Jesus wasn’t referring to Joseph, and the work of carpentry. The Lord Jesus was referring to His heavenly Father, and the business of spiritual things.
When they found the Lord Jesus, He was not only in the Temple, but He was involved in the work of His Father. If you want to get close to the Lord Jesus, and stay in His presence, then spend your life involved in His work.
Those who love the Lord Jesus,
Will love what He loves as well.
To be with Him, is to be about
The business of His Father.
A little girl who lost her doll. Her dad didn’t care about the doll, but loved the one who did. We may not love everyone like we should, but we should love them because we love the One who does. In Psalm 51, David records the heartfelt confession of his sin. He admits his rebellion and failure, and in verse 12 of that Psalm, David says, “Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation …” David did not ask that his salvation be restored, but that the “joy” of his salvation be returned. Mary and Joseph had not lost their role as parents, but for those few moments when they were separated from their son, the joy of being parents was replaced by the agony of finding their only Son missing.
There are times when Christians realize that somewhere, and some point, they have let something come between them and their Lord. They have left without their Savior, and now as they look for Him in their lives, they find Him missing. For those souls, Mary and Joseph offer a wonderful example.
Go back to where you left Him. Return to that place of closeness and communion and you will surely find Him again.
This is God’s Word …
This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”