Author: Ron Graham
Just about the whole world was travelling on the big road, and Jerusalem had been packed with people and excitement at this year’s Passover celebrations. Mary and Joseph hardly noticed the first day’s journey homeward.
There was one thing after another to talk over with the several friends and relatives in the company of travellers. Mary and Joseph had not even checked up on young Jesus, but why worry? He was sure to be with his friends or cousins, playing happily. He was old enough now to look after himself for a day without having to be watched continually.
It was later that the elongated shadows and the movement of people preparing for the night hours made Joseph uneasy. "Jesus should have come around by now," he mused, "Do you think I should look for him, Mary?"
"Never mind," his wife called back, "I suppose Elizabeth has given him food. He will come by directly. He will not be in a hurry to leave his friends."
We do not know exactly what Mary and Joseph thought and said, but it was probably something like that. We do know, however, that Jesus did not come back to them that night. He was nowhere to be found. Disdraught with worry, Joseph and Mary turned back to Jerusalem, retraced their steps seeking for the lost Christ child.
Three despairing days later they found him — in the temple. He offered the explanation that he must be about his Father’s business. But this was just another of those statements this boy made which Joseph and Mary could not understand. Mary stored up his sayings in her heart, awaiting the day when she would understand.
It may be that this story was told without the intention of teaching us the following lessons. Nevertheless, in Luke 2:44-46, we can take note of these things:
1. They "supposed him to have been in the company". In the first day’s journey of life, through teens and twenties, many people just suppose Christ to be with them, somewhere in the company they keep, because that company is more or less Christian.
2. After a day’s journey, they "sought Jesus among their kinsfolk and acquaintance", but they found him not. As the sun sets in their day of youth, many people begin actually seeking Christ, instead of simply supposing him to be around. Often they find that Christ is not where they thought at all — not among their relatives and friends.
3. They "turned back again to Jerusalem". Many people who seek Christ try turning back to Jerusalem. That is where Christ's church was first built, and his gospel first preached. People who have travelled away from Christ need to go back to where they left him. This means going right back to the first century when the word of the Lord went out from Jerusalem and there were people who had Christ with them and in them.
4. They "found him in the temple". The Church of Christ is God’s temple today (1 Tim. 3:15; Eph. 2:19-22). Today we will find "the Lord in his holy temple" (Psalms 11:4). Let us go back to that temple and worship again in the ancient church of God: worship and obey according to the faith of the gospel as it used to be in the first century A.D. We will find Christ.