Every parent can relate to the moment when you realize that one of your children is missing! With each passing moment the anxiety intensifies – until finally they are found. The Gospel record only gives us one insight into the childhood of Jesus, and it involves Mary and Joseph losing Jesus! Imagine the emotions they must have felt…their job was to raise the Son of God and they LOST HIM! Luke records the scene in chapter two of his gospel (2:41-52). Having worshiped in Jerusalem in observance of the Passover Feast, Mary and Joseph began the journey back to Nazareth, not knowing they had left Jesus behind.
The story dramatically illustrates how even those closest to Jesus can find themselves running ahead in life and leaving Jesus behind. Here are 4 ways of discerning if you have left Jesus behind.
- When your life is characterized by attitudes that don’t reflect Jesus.
In my own life, I can tell I have lost sight of Jesus when the attitudes of my heart and the actions of my life don’t resemble Jesus. If my heart is anxious – I have lost sight of Jesus. If my countenance is irritable and my words are short – I have lost sight of Jesus.
- When you are too busy to spend time with Jesus.
If my heart is anxious – I have lost sight of Jesus.
Mary and Joseph could have saved themselves a lot of time and trouble if they had just started that day by talking to Jesus. Had they asked Him about His plans, they would have known that they needed to adjust their plans. If I don’t have time to talk with Jesus, like Mary and Joseph I find myself frustrated by His absence.
- When you find yourself frustrated with Jesus.
You can sense the frustration in Mary’s words, “Son, why have you treated us so?” Translated, “Jesus you didn’t do what I expected you to do – and that is frustrating.” We can so easily superimpose our plans and our desired outcomes on His will, “Lord Your Kingdom come, my will be done.” When my plans don’t materialize or I find myself disappointed with God’s performance, it’s time to consider whether I am headed in the right direction and needing only to persevere in my faith, or if I have left Jesus behind and have been trying to do something that isn’t in His plan.
- When you aren’t seeing Jesus at work.
Has it been awhile since you saw the Lord at work in your life or in the lives of others? If so, maybe it’s because you left Jesus behind. I read Luke 2 and can’t help but feel a disappointment for Mary and Joseph. Surely they would have loved to see Jesus sitting among the teachers in the Temple, dialoguing with the leading religious thinkers in Israel. It was a trial run that would prepare Him for His ministry in the years to come. As far as we know, it never happened again. It was a HUGE moment and they missed it. It’s a sober reminder that we have to be present to win…that it’s when we are walking close to Jesus that we see Him working in ways we’ll never forget.