“When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it.” (Luke 2:43 NKJV).
When Jesus was twelve years old He went with His parents for the first time to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. At the end of the feast, while Jesus tarried behind in the temple, His parents went on in their journey without Him, and without them realizing that Jesus was not journeying with them. They supposed or assumed that Jesus was in the travelling company.
What a costly assumption!
Similarly, there are many people in the world today moving towards eternity without Jesus Christ and sadly, without them knowing or realizing it, but supposing that Jesus Christ is with them. This is certainly a very costly assumption!
Surprisingly, for a whole day Jesus’ parents were so much engrossed and engulfed with other people and activities that they did not realize that Jesus was not actually travelling with them.
The Scripture records in Luke 2:
43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it;
44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. (NKJV).
It is quite possible to be completely devoted to vain religious activities, rules, rites or rituals and yet have no intimate, loving and eternal relationship with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is also quite possible to be so engrossed or preoccupied with working for the Lord to the extent that you no longer have the time to rest daily at the Lord’s feet, beholding the Lord’s glory, relishing the Lord’s presence, and learning from the Lord (Luke 10:38-42).
After going on a day journey without Jesus it eventually dawned upon Jesus’ parents that He was not with them in their journey. But, rather than turning back to seek for Jesus where they had left Him, they sought for Him among their relations, friends and acquaintances but could not find Him.
Like Jesus’ parents, many religious people today are seeking for God and His salvation at the wrong places. You can never find salvation in any man, angel, institution, or religion. Salvation can only be found in Jesus Christ who gave Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world at the cross.
The Scripture clearly states in 1 John 5:
10 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.
11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. (NKJV).
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NKJV).
“God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Cor. 5:19 NKJV).
It is absolutely impossible to know God or have an intimate relationship with God without putting your faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is the Son who reveals or declares the Father to us.
The Scripture states: “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” (John 1:18 NKJV).
“Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” (1 John 2:23 NKJV).
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV).
“All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (Mt. 11:27 NKJV).
Having passionately sought in vain for Jesus in wrong places and among the crowds for three days, Jesus’ parents finally returned to Jerusalem where they had left Jesus and there they found Him.
The Scripture records: “Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.” (Luke 2:46 NKJV).
There is only one place, one way or one means to find God today – only in and through Jesus Christ.
The Scripture states that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself…” (2 Cor. 5:19 NKJV).
God is not far from anyone who is truly seeking for Him with the whole of his heart, in humility, repentance and faith in Jesus – the Mediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2:5-6).
God said in His Word, “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13 NKJV).
There are many believers today, like Joseph and Mary, who have left Jesus behind while they keep moving on in their journey, supposing that Jesus is still journeying with them.
Like the church of Laodiceans, many churches today have shut Jesus outside while they still continue to hold their regular and special services as though Jesus was present in their midst. Yet, they could not even discern or perceive the Lord’s absence. How sad!
As Jesus said to the church of Laodiceans, He is also saying to us today, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev. 3:19-20 NKJV).
Unfortunately, the ears of many church leaders today have been blocked or deafened by the praises and flatteries of sycophants.
Samson was captured by his enemies because he assumed that the LORD was with him when He had actually left him. Unfortunately for Samson, by the time he realized that the LORD had left him, it was too late for Him.
The Scripture records that when Delilah said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him. Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison.” (Judges 16:20-21 NKJV).
What a costly assumption for Samson!
Beloved, unlike Samson, it is not too late for you today to examine where you have fallen or drifted away from the Lord and repent or return humbly and wholeheartedly to the Lord.
The Scripture admonishes you to “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves…” (2 Cor. 13:5 NKJV).
“Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent.” (Rev. 2:5 NKJV).
Friend, it does not really matter how far you have drifted away from the Lord Jesus Christ, it is never too late to repent and return to Jesus for forgiveness, mercy and restoration.
At whatever point you are now in your journey without Jesus, just like Joseph and Mary, the wise thing to do is to make a U-turn and seek for Jesus with the whole of your heart.
God is calling you today, saying, “Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.” “Indeed we do come to You, for You are the LORD our God. (Jer. 3:22 NKJV).
“But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deut. 4:29 NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Lord Jesus, forgive me for drifting far away from You. I return to You today with the whole of my heart, in Jesus’ name. Amen.