Summary: Have we left Jesus behind in our lives by being distrated with other things. Are our priorities the same as those of Jesus.

Luke 2:41- 52 - Leaving Jesus Behind

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Parents, have you ever left your children somewhere by mistake? What was your reaction? A bit like this mum?

Has anyone ever been left somewhere by mistake. As a child, I was left behind at church several times that I can remember. I’d be playing out in the playground with friends and then they’d have to go and I’d realize that Hey - Mum & Dad had gone also. I can actually remember once seeing our car drive off without me. Talk about rejection!!!. Mum & Dad got home only to find that I wasn’t in the car and had to come back for me. I don’t really know how they managed to do this. Maybe it was just that I was a rather forgettable person, or maybe, my parents wanted a breather!!! It was probably more likely that they took 2 cars on those days or something and Mum thought I was with Dad and visa versa.

Has anyone else been in that situation before?

Well tonight, I want to talk about a time when Jesus was left behind. Imagine that - losing Jesus, leaving the God of the universe behind. I mean a brat like me I can understand, but not Jesus - this special child. Mind blowing isn’t it. I want to tell you, though, that leaving Jesus behind is a relatively easy thing to do and I wouldn’t be surprised if quite a few people here tonight don’t know where Jesus is in their lives. Are you one of these people? Stick with me and find out.

Most of you have probably heard this account of Jesus’ childhood before. In actual fact, it is the only account we have of Jesus’ life growing up. I think it is worth reading again, so please open your Bibles upto Luke 2: 41.

Read Luke 2:41-52

The Loss of Jesus Let’s first talk about losing Jesus.

It was part of the law that all Jewish men were to go to the House of God - the Temple at least 3 times a year. Exod 23:14-17 says that they are to find themselves in God’s house on the occasion of the 3 main feasts - Feast of Passover, Pentecost & Tabernacles. But as people spread through the Roman Empire, this sometimes became impossible due to distance and so it became tradition for Israelite men to go to the temple at least once a year on one of these feasts. You became a man at the age of 13 years when you completed the “Son of the Covenant” ceremony. The Jewish Bar Mizvah ceremony now takes its place. It was considered good preparation for boys aged 11 and 12 to go with their Fathers on this pilgrimage to get familiar with the requirements of the Jewish laws.

We read here that Joseph took his family down to Jerusalem every Passover to fulfill his duty. Apparently Joseph and Mary were very religious and made the 3 day hike from Nazareth every year. On a map it looks a bit like this. They probably would have walked around Samaria due to the hostility of the day.

It was on one of these journeys that they left Jesus behind.

Some, on reading this account would find Mary and Joseph totally irresponsible and neglecting of their parental duties. Imagine – traveling for a whole day and not knowing that you’ve left Jesus behind. But before you condemn them, consider that in ancient times, people traveling used to go in caravans. It was much safer to travel with a lot of other people and besides the time went faster. And the children would have a ball playing with each other around the caravan. But not only this, the women usually traveled separately to the men. You see, the women and young children were slower than the men and so they would usually set off in a group first and then the men would leave a couple of hours later and catch up to them ready for the night’s camp. You can imagine that because Jesus was almost a man, Mary thought that he was naturally with his father. And Joseph thought the opposite. It was only at the end of the day when they came together that they realized Jesus was missing.

Can you imagine the terror that gripped their minds as they frantically searched for Jesus. They’d lost the saviour of the world, the Son of God. How could this be?

The problem was that they were engrossed in their own business. Now there was nothing intrinsically wrong with what they had been doing. They had been obeying the law and going to worship God at the temple. They were being very religious, but in their attempt to fulfill the requirements of God’s law, they lost the one and only Christ. Why? Because what they were involved with – the journey home - wasn’t his priority. They left Jesus behind because they were distracted by getting home.

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