And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
– Luke 21:46
As a parent I have the fear of losing my child in public places. Walking through Walmart, I have witnessed first hand how my child, upon seeing a toy, developed faster than light travel the moment I looked away. I have played through so many scenarios of what I would do if someone took him or he managed to actually disappear, but in all of my instances of losing him, I’ve only needed to find the nearest shiny or toy section to be reunited with him; thankfully, he and I think similarly.
I’ve heard some people talk about how bad of a mother Mary must have been on that trip. How could she lose the son of God? Depending on who you ask it was three to five day trip from Nazareth to Jerusalem at the time of our story. It was not an overnight trip to a family member’s house. This was a yearly trek for the whole family to the hub of nation to take part in one of the biggest festivals. Think about that, a family vacation, to a church function, with ten or so days just for travel, not counting the seven to eight days of the actual feast of Passover, leaving home for most of a month. I can’t make it from Louisville to Dayton (two hours by the way) without forgetting a toothbrush every time.
After three days of being politely told to stop worrying, as all relatives seem to do, the mom-alarm went ballistic. The Bible tells us that after three days they sought him. No one could for sure say when they’d seen him last, so terrified, they had to head back. Jesus had been left alone in Jerusalem for six days by the time they got back. They didn’t find him scared and hiding. No front desk was paging them. They had to search through every place they had been during that week. When they finally walked into the temple to say a prayer for their lost child, they finally found him. Jesus was not lost; He was sitting amongst those that taught the law and doctrine of the temple. I can imagine as they stood there in shock someone seeing the direction of their stares, telling them, hey, have you seen this kid? He knows more than most of us already. Whoever has been teaching that boy is parent of the year. He’ll make an amazing rabbi someday for sure.
So then we read her cry, “My son. Why have you done this to us? Look at me. Your father and I have been searching high and low for you, worried to death.” We can finally attach the motherly pride and pain to it. We can also imagine the anger that Jesus’ words would have spurned. “Why would you be looking for me anywhere but here? Don’t know you know this is my Father’s business?” However, he relented and went home with them.
God has a purpose for all of us. He has given us each a task to complete, though not many of us by angels. He not only knows our every need but every ounce of our potential. We might be day two of heading back into town trying to find Jesus, panicked, but God is still in control and knows what we need. He wouldn’t give you a responsibility without equipping you to handle it.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
– Isaiah 41:10