How Could You Lose Jesus?

Luke 2:41-50 (New Living Translation)

Jesus Speaks with the Teachers

41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. 42 When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. 43 After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, 44 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.

45 When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. 46 Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. 47 All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

48 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.”

49 “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”[a] 50 But they didn’t understand what he meant.

As I read through this familiar passage this morning the first thing I thought was, “How could Joseph and Mary have lost Jesus?”  I can’t imagine going a whole day’s journey before realizing my child wasn’t along for the ride.  But you know things were different then than now.  They travelled in big family groups and everyone looked after everyone else’s children much more so than we do now.   But a whole day –  Really?  We once lost my son Jerry in a Wal-Mart for about five minuets when he was little and I almost blew a fuse before we found him. 

Then I think about how the author of Luke came to include this story in his writing.  It must have been told by Jesus to some of his disciples and relayed to others in order to reach the writer.  Why would Jesus feel it was important to share this?  I think there is a deeper meaning here that we can learn something from.

Joseph and Mary lost Jesus, but really Jesus was never lost.  The reality was that Joseph and Mary had left Jesus behind and went their own way, and when they realized that they were moving on without him, they went back and found him in the temple, the house of God. 

How many times have we left Jesus behind and went our own way without him?  Some of us (myself included) have left him behind for much longer than a day.  But the good news is that we know where to find Jesus, “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

If you’ve been moving along your spiritual journey without Jesus, maybe now is the time to turn around and find him again.  You know He isn’t lost, you are the one who has moved away from him.  Come back to The Father’s house and reconnect with Your Savior.

If you do not currently have a home church I invite you to join us at Chapel Hill UMC, if you are not within range of us find a good fellowship of faith, love and grace, a place where you feel welcomed and accepted, a place where you can encounter God and get back on the right spiritual path today.


Lord, please help me to always stay focused on you during my spiritual journey and if ever I find myself walking away grant me the wisdom and resolve to turn around and come back to you.

Love Michael


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