There is a story in scripture that is found in Luke 2 where Jesus as a young boy goes missing. His earthly parents Joseph and Mary are in a state of sheer panic as I’m sure any parent can imagine. Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of passover. In this particular situation Jesus as a 12 year old boy decides to hang around town while his parents and all those traveling with them head back home following the festival.
As the story goes, Joseph and Mary make it about one days travel time back towards their home before they realize that Jesus is no where to be found amongst their caravan. Doing the logical thing…Joseph and Mary backtrack to Jerusalem searching for their lost Son the whole way. We know that they searched for three days before locating Jesus in the temple courts talking shop with the religious teachers. Three terrifying and nerve wracking days. I mean losing a child period is no laughing matter…but, you have to admit that temporarily misplacing God in the flesh as little boy entrusted to your care comes with a special set of “oh crap” moments.
They must have looked everywhere they could have possibly imagined their 12 year old Son to be. Was He scared and hiding in an alley? Was He hanging out near some vendors who decided to watch Him until His parents came back for Him? Or worse…did someone take the boy? Would they have left town? Could they still have Him nearby? ALL of these thoughts and emotions running through their heads.
But they do find Him. And, His seemingly casual response to their genuine concern is crazy. I think this piece of the story holds a powerful truth for us. When asked why He would do something like this, check out Jesus’ answer:
Luke 2:49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (NIV)
Some translations say “”Didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business”?
I find this fascinating! Jesus’ earthly parents are freaking out (like any good parents would) and looking everywhere for their Son. They look in all the places they THOUGHT He should be or could be. But, the one place He actually was turns out to be the last place they thought made any sense (trust me, THAT is important). And his response is one for the ages…literally! Didn’t you know I would be about my Father’s business? Didn’t you know I would be in my Father’s house?
Look around our world. Sometimes it seems like we feel as though we may have misplaced Jesus. There are Christians who seem to wonder where Jesus is in all of this craziness in our world. There are people who don’t know Jesus that are confused and now blaming Jesus for their pain or loss because they look to their church friends for answers and all they get are mumblings and groaning about the government and a quote of scripture from somewhere in Revelation.
We search for Jesus’ hand at work in the areas of our lives we think He should be working and get upset when we don’t see Him. We make bold accusations towards Jesus for not being present in the tragedy when and where we think He should have been. We search high and low for some semblance of Jesus in our government and take issue with a non-Christian entity acting non-Christian. In all of this…like Jesus’ parents we search frantically wondering where He could have gone and how He could do this to us.
Doesn’t it kind of feel like many people are frantically searching for Jesus in ALL the places they think He should be and yet somehow overlooking the one place He said He would be?
Jesus said: “Why were you searching for me?”… “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” didn’t you know I had to be about His business. God SO loved the world that He sent His only Son to hang naked, bleed, and die on a cross only to be resurrected three days later so that you and I would never have to taste the sting of death. God is in the grace business. God is in the salvation business. God is in the reconciliation business. God is in the “whosoever” business…AND, Jesus is in the same place today that He was yesterday…standing in the gap for anyone and everyone who will call on His Name. Jesus is about His Father’s business.
Jesus isn’t about show business. Jesus isn’t about the oil business. Jesus isn’t about the political business. Jesus isn’t about the sales business. Jesus isn’t even about the religion business. Jesus is about the same business He has always been about and that is His Father’s business. Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. What was lost? Humanity. Jesus is in the love business, He is in the people business, and He is in the defeating death business.
Please know my heart when I say this: If you feel like Jesus has gone missing in your life it may be because you insist on looking for Him in the middle of your business rather than seeking to join Him in HIS business.
Maybe you’re a Christian and you feel like you have sort of somehow misplaced Jesus. Maybe you feel like you are in a season where you just kind of need to redirect your focus back on Him but it kind of feels like throwing a dart at a dartboard in the dark. Can I encourage you in this? He is right where you left Him. He is right where He said He would be. He is waiting for you to redirect your attention to His Father’s business in your life.
He is patiently waiting in the pages of scripture. He is sitting quietly in the silence of solitude. He is eagerly awaiting your return to the intimacy of prayer.
Maybe you’re a non-Christian who kind of feels like you want to start looking for Jesus. Maybe recent events have you feeling more confused than ever. That desire to seek answers about God comes only from one place…God. Pursue those questions! Go after the answers! If you will pursue that desire I can promise you this: your desire for answers and God’s desire to give them will intersect at the exact spot Jesus promised He would be all along.
-Pastor Bill C.