Time flies …
Our oldest granddaughter just turned 14 … without her grandparents consent. You know what that means … it means we just got older too.
But I remember a day when she was much younger and our family embarked on a trip to the self-declared “happiest place on earth“.
We loaded up in the car and we headed out to the crazy, expensive theme park. Who doesn’t love forking over $100 per person, to walk around a crowded area only to be reminded of why we don’t go often? Nevertheless, we were here for a good time and we brought the family, so just seeing the excitement on our grandchildren’s faces would be worth it.
Until we lost sight of our granddaughter and had a heart-stopping experience for what seemed like a lifetime. It’s a take your breath away moment that is still hard for this Nani to talk about.
And it’s happened before…
Luke 2:41-47 “Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for Him there. Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions.” (NLT)
Ok, let that sink in for a moment. Joseph and Mary have their party shoes on and are going to a Festival! They head out with their neighbors, friends and family and once they reached Jerusalem, the party started. Not like a typical party, but more of a remembering party … recalling how God delivered them from their bondage in Egypt.
The festival lasted eight days and when it was over, they started back home to Nazareth, which was about 68 miles or roughly a 4 day journey.
Here is where the plot thickens……Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem while Mary, Joseph and the neighborhood started home! And even more surprising is that they didn’t even miss Him until the day was over and Jesus was no where to be found! Oh mercy…
Can you imagine what they were going through? Mary was given the awesome opportunity to birth the King of Kings and then as she is going over her packed luggage, camera, cooler with snacks, she suddenly thinks, “I feel like I’m missing something.” (I’m picturing the mom on the airplane in Home Alone).
Actually, I can imagine Mary desperately calling out, “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!”, as they frantically run in and out of the caravan, calling out His name. No one can remember seeing Jesus join the group for the trek home, but I can imagine their fear as they scramble back to Jerusalem to find their young boy.
The scriptures say that “three days later they found Him in the temple” (vs. 46) THREE DAYS LATER! Our little angel was missing for maybe 3 minutes so three days must have been heart wrenching!
Once we all split up in the theme park, I was the fortunate one to find her, standing in the middle of a crowd, crying and so very frightened. I rushed to her and picked her up and we both just stood there weak and crying. I was whispering in her ear, “Nani will always find you” and it took us a moment before the rest of the family found us and we all kept a much closer eye on her after that!
However, Jesus had been missing for three days and was eventually found by his parents in the temple. He was sitting among the teachers, listening and asking questions. The group of men sitting and listening to Him were mesmerized at his questions and his answers. I can picture his parents flinging open the door …
Luke 2:48-50, “His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” His mother said to him, “Why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.” “But why did you search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
He was found.
He was safe.
“Didn’t you know that I had to be here, in my Father’s house?”
Thankfully, I am not Mary. I’m afraid my sarcasm would have been on high alert. There might have been an “Excuse me?” thrown around with a raised eyebrow and hand on the hip. Again……thankfully I am not Mary.
Interestingly enough, those are the first recorded words of Jesus. He informs them that He has not violated their wishes; and they realized that He was released from their earthly control.
Wow. Jesus had hand. The child was teaching the parents.
Jesus stated that he must be in His Father’s house! Jesus is compelled as the Son of God to be in His Father’s house and gives the title Father (quite appropriately) to His heavenly Father, and not his human father.
The Pulpit Commentary says, “But the twelve silent uneventful years of life at Nazareth, the poor home, the village carpentry, the natural development of the sacred Child, had gradually obscured for Mary and Joseph the memories of the infancy. They had not forgotten them, but time and circumstances had covered them with a veil.”
Mary and Joseph did not have the luxury of reading about their lives in the Bible. They couldn’t look forward in the next few chapters and know the reality of who Jesus was and what was about to take place. They reacted as human parents would act. Fear, frustration, anger and relief.
I am sure that this was not the only lesson Jesus taught his parents. The next verse says that Jesus went home with his parents and was obedient to them. I’m glad that was told to us. It might have seemed that Jesus was being disobedient, but Jesus was going about His Father’s business…..and HE is the Master Teacher because He perfectly embodies the truth He taught.
Jesus has the power.
He has hand.
I am thankful for His power and His hands in my life.