Summary: Have you left Jesus behind all you important stuff forgetting Jesus like Mary and Joseph did.
Have you ever had anything like this happen to you? Parents have you ever forgotten your child somewhere by mistake? What was your reaction?
I can remember, one time when we were on a family holiday and we went on a bus tour of Niagara Falls, we left the flower clock and went to the next tourist attraction, I don’t even remember what it was, because when we got off the bus my brother was not with us. He had been left behind, standing, marveling at the clock, and that is precisely what we found him doing 30 minutes later when we got back to the clock. He hadn’t even noticed that he had been left. But my mother had and I can still remember her response to my missing brother. It was probably, similar to Mary’s response when she figured out that Jesus was not with Joseph, ‘Joseph, where did you leave the boy?’
Imagine losing Jesus, forgetting the Son of God, the Creator of the universe behind. I mean I can understand forgetting my brother, but Jesus, the Son of God!
Yes, Mary and Joseph left Jesus behind, and it was a relatively easy thing for them to do. So easy in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if there were people here this morning who don’t know where Jesus is in there lives.
In the Hebrew tradition all men were to go to the Temple 3 times a year, but as they began to disperse throughout the country this became impossible due to the distances involved, so it became the tradition of Hebrew men to go at least once a year. And in this tradition you became a man at age 13, when you completed the ‘Son of the Covenant’ Ceremony, currently understood as a ‘Bar Mitvah.’ It was considered good preparation for boys 11 and 12 to go with their Father’s to become familiar with the requirements of the Jewish law. It was at the end of one of these religious pilgrimages that Mary and Joseph left Jesus. But, how do you leave Jesus? Some of you may wonder how could they travel a whole day without knowing Jesus wasn’t with them?
Back then it must have been easier to forget Jesus. I mean remember it was common to travel with your friends and families, for safety as well as ease, it was fun to spend time together. And when they travelled they usually split up in 2 groups, the women and children going ahead with the shopping lists, the men leaving later catching up at the end of the day, so they could eat. Thinking the whole time thinking Jesus was with the other parent.
Either way can you imagine the terror that gripped them when they realized Jesus was not with them? They’d lost the Savior of the world, the Son of God! Boy were they in trouble.
The women wrapped up in visiting and bragging about the good deals they had scored at The Temple Mall. The men engrossed in solving the worlds problems, telling new jokes and demonstrating new wrestling moves. Everyone was engrossed in their own business. Now there is nothing intrinsically wrong with what they were doing. They had been obeying the law and gathering for worship, they were very religious. But they lost Jesus because what they were involved with wasn’t Jesus’ priority. They had left Jesus because they were distracted by getting home, they had things to get done..
Do we find easy to get distracted from God’s priorities, filling our lives with all sorts of interests, just like Mary and Joseph, leaving Jesus behind. Even the good things we are involved in aren’t necessarily Jesus’ priorities. The New Year begins and we are off doing our thing, and we leave Jesus behind doing his thing.
What is Jesus’s thing anyway? What is it that we are supposed to be doing? Why glorifying God of course and we do that by worshipping him, giving him praise, honor and offerings. We also glorify God by obeying him, learning about his will for our lives. We glorify God by fellowshipping and working together as a body. We glorify God by ministering to this body of Christ here and those around us. And lastly we glorify God by serving, getting involved in missions, the work of telling other people about God’s love.
Have you left Jesus behind because your priorities in life are not His? Mary and Joseph had been doing some of this, worshipping in Jerusalem. But they were ready to move on to the next task. Scary, isn’t it? How our timing and priorities so quickly, and apparently innocently, come out of alignment with Jesus’s priorities.
Have you left Jesus behind? He was with you, you used top travel together, but now he seems so distant, so far away.