Summary: Have you misplaced Jesus?
Has anyone here ever misplaced anything? I’m not talking about losing something, I mean just misplaced it. You know that it’s just got to be somewhere in the house. It could be your keys, wallet or the instructions for the TV.
That happened to me this week. I needed the TV manual to figure out how to program something on the TV. Yeah, that’s right, I was going to look in the instructions! I knew we had it. It just took me a while to find it.
I looked in the filing cabinet, something Wendy refuses to do because she can’t figure out my filing system. Of course, sometimes I can’t either. I looked under “T” for TV. I looked under “R” because it’s an RCA TV. I looked in the storage unit under the TV where it used to be. I looked in the box that holds all our manuals for household items.
I finally found it. Of course it was in the last place I looked. Now, when you misplace something, you never know it’s missing until you need it. Like a pen when you get ready to write down that number. Or you’re running late to get to your Dr. app’t. and your keys aren’t on the hook by the back door where they ALWAYS are. So you have to retrace your steps back to the place you last saw your pen, keys, ……or kid.
The Gospels tells us next to nothing about Jesus’ life between his birth and the start of His ministry 30 years later. Luke does tell us a couple short snippets of his childhood. We looked at the one story last week about his circumcision and consecration in the Temple.
Today we’re going to look at the often told but generally misunderstood story of Jesus in the Temple at age 12. The text tells us a little bit of Jesus as a child but it also tells a lot of his parents. They were very devout in keeping the Jewish Law.
Our text begins by telling us that "every year" his parents go to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. Every year - every year - Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival.
It was in the Law that every adult male Jew who lived within fifteen miles of Jerusalem had to attend the Passover. In fact, it was the goal of every Jew to attend the feast at least once in a lifetime. Despite the costs and the tremendous commitment of time, Mary and Joseph adhered to the traditions of their faith. And although Mary was under no such obligation, she also attended with Joseph every year.
So, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus go to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Passover. When the feast was over the journey back home began. It was evening, when camp was made that they first realized they had misplaced Jesus.
Now before you call them bad parents for not keeping up with their kid, you need to understand that they generally traveled in a large group. Women and children would begin the journey ahead of the men, seeing as how they traveled a little slower. By evening time when they would make camp the men had caught up with the women and children.
I am sure Mary thought Jesus was with Joseph. And Joseph thought Jesus was with Mary. So it was not until that evening they discovered Jesus had been misplaced, and or even lost at this point.
I can imagine the chaos and panic that broke out when they realized that Jesus was with neither of them. They probably started searching frantically, keeping in contact with one another over their walkie-talkies, and calling 911 on their cell phones. Finally, they probably ran up to a WalMart associate calling for a “Code Adam”.
Now, just in case you don’t know, a Code Adam is what happens when a child is “misplaced” in a WalMart store. They close and lock all the doors and search until the child is (hopefully) found. It is named in honor of Adam Walsh, the son of John Walsh, host of America’s Most Wanted, who was kidnapped.
But, lest you get the wrong idea, Mary and Joseph were not careless parents. No, really, this speaks more of the culture in which they lived. One where children were not prey and parents were more secure.
Of course, you might think that Mary and Joseph would have made sure that no harm came to their special son. Herein lies the problem. While they were thoroughly engrossed in their devout religious pilgrimage, they lost Jesus. In their attempt to draw closer to God and demonstrate their love for God, they had misplaced the Son of God.