We sometimes get so busy that we leave Jesus behind.
None needed. For effect, you might have someone make the "announcement" about the lost child over the church's sound system.
When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you." "Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" Luke 2:48-49 (NIV)
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Has this ever happened to you? You are shopping when an announcement comes over the store's loudspeaker, "May I have your attention please? We are looking for a six-year-old child who is lost. His name is John and he is wearing blue jeans and a red shirt. If you find John, please bring him to the customer service center." How did this child become lost? Perhaps he just wandered off to look at the toys and his parents left him behind. Maybe the child's mother and father each thought he was with the other parent and went on about their shopping. You can imagine how concerned the parents were when they realized that the child was missing. How about John? How do you think he felt? If he was having a good time playing in the toy department, he probably never even knew that he was lost! Have you ever been lost? How did you feel? Were you afraid, or were you confident that your parents would find you and everything would be alright?
Do you think Jesus ever got lost? We don't know a lot about the childhood days of Jesus. The Bible doesn't tell us very much about Jesus as a child, but today's Bible lesson does tell us a story about a day when Jesus became lost.
Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for a festival called Passover. When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. When the celebration was ended, Joseph and Mary started home to Nazareth. Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. At first, his parents did not miss Jesus. They assumed he was traveling with some of their friends. When evening came and Jesus still didn't show up, the became worried. They looked among their friends and relatives but Jesus was no where to be found.
When they could not find Jesus, Joseph and Mary returned to Jerusalem to search for him there. They searched for three days before they finally found him. Do you know where he was? He was in the Temple, sitting among the religious leaders, listening to them and asking questions. All who heard him were amazed at the knowledge of this young boy.
As you can imagine, Mary and Joseph were happy to find Jesus, but perhaps they were a little displeased with him too. "Son," Mary said to him, "why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic with worry. We searched for you everywhere."
"Why did you need to search for me?" Jesus replied. "Didn't you know that I would be doing my Father's business?"
As we hear this story, we sometimes wonder how Mary and Joseph could have been so careless as to go off and leave Jesus behind in Jerusalem. But before we become to critical of Joseph and Mary, perhaps we should look at our own life. Do we sometimes become so focused on what we are doing that we leave Jesus completely out of the picture? When we realize that we have left Jesus behind, we need to do what Joseph and Mary did. We need to go back to the place where we left him. That's where we will find him... right where we left him.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your Son. Help us to keep him at the center of our lives and may we never leave him behind. Amen.