Summary: Joseph and Mary lost Jesus in Jerusalem but they weren't the last people to lose him. Insights on how we lose Jesus in our lives
So, where were you when you lost your kid? Seriously, if you have children you’ve lost one at some point or another. And if you haven’t lost one yet you will. Maybe it was in a grocery store, or on a street, at Disney Land or perhaps at church. But you remember the moment when panic set in and you realized that you didn’t know where your child was.
When I was little my mother looked on the street from our apartment and thought “I wonder what type of mother would let their toddler in diapers wander down the middle of the street.” Then it dawned on her that she was that type of mother and I had escaped again. Once when I was locking up the church in Truro I realized that I had an extra three year old with Deborah. Kellie’s parents had arrived in separate vehicles and when they left they both thought Kellie was with the other one, it wasn’t until they got home that Ron and Kim realized they had misplaced their youngest.
Our moment came in Arlie Beach in Queensland Australia. Arlie Beach is about a 12 hour drive from Brisbane where we were living at the time, it is a beautiful little resort town on the very edge of the great barrier reef and it is full of strange people.
We had spent our day on the reef, first on a semi-submersible and then snorkelling and scuba diving on the reef itself. It was a full day. When we got back to town and had supper we were visiting some of the shops and Angela and I split up and it was only when we got back together that we realized that we had our nine year old but we didn’t have our six year old, again with the “I thought she was with you” discussion. Panic ensued as we started to retrace our steps looking for our “baby”. We eventually found her back at the dive shop we had visited earlier looking at pictures from our dive. She assumed that we would come back, if not for her at least for the pictures.
And most parents have a similar story, perhaps more dramatic perhaps less but you know that sudden hollow feeling in your stomach.
For the next six weeks we are looking into the book of Luke, which is the 3rd book in the New Testament. The Author of course is Luke; some of these are just too easy. Luke was probably a gentile Doctor and he also wrote the book of Acts.
The book was written somewhere between AD 59 -63 and was actually written to a man named Theophilus, who was likely either a new believer or someone seeking to know more about Christ. Interesting name Theophilus, it was my great grandfather’s name but more than that in the Greek it meant Lover of God. And the reason for the book, to explain to readers that God’s love was meant for the entire world.
And it is in the book of Luke that we find the only accounts of Jesus as a child and in one of those short snippets we read about the time Mary and Joseph lost their oldest kid. I’m sure that Mary and Joseph told the story of their trip to Jerusalem on many occasions, recounting the horror of that day. The story starts in Luke 2:41-42 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual.
Culturally we are told that it was required by Jewish law that every adult male who lived within 20 kms of Jerusalem should go to the temple in the capital city for the Passover celebration. It was also decreed that under Jewish law that at 13 a boy became a man. So this was a very special occasion for Jesus. Perhaps it wasn’t the first time that Jesus had been in Jerusalem for the Passover, but it would be the last time he would celebrate the feast as a child and I’m sure he was looking forward to next year.
The Passover celebration lasted for several days and culminated in the Passover Feast; it was the biggest holiday in the Jewish faith and was a major celebration. Mary and Joseph and their family would have been there with friends and extended family from Nazareth and we are told that they probably didn’t travel alone,
Those in the know tell us that in all probability the women and children would have travelled as a group and the men would have travelled as a group. You only have to go to a social function today to realize that things haven’t changed much. We are also told that the women and children would have left earlier in the morning and travelled slower while the men would have left later but travelled faster, and every one would have ended up at the destination around the same time.