It is every parent’s nightmare: a lost child when the family is away from home. For us it happened in Florida. We were at a small beach incorporated into a park. Our youngest girl was playing on the beach, wandered off a bit, got disoriented, couldn’t find her way back, so just kept walking! It wasn’t long before Linda and I noticed, but long enough that she was nowhere in sight. We were amongst strangers and next to a vast body of water; our minds whirling in no time! We prayed, fanned out to search, and eventually the lost was found. The story of Jesus in the temple as a twelve year old strikes this cord with us parents. As readers we are told early on what Jesus has done: he remained behind in Jerusalem rather than go with the departing caravan of family, relatives, and acquaintances. On the third day (likely meaning out a day, back in a day, and a third day of searching), Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the Temple holding court with the teachers who were “amazed at his understanding and answers”. Can we not all identify with Mary’s first words: “Son, why have you treated us so?”

Something to See:

It is interesting to me how Luke relates this story: everyone knows what is going on … except the parents. They feel that Jesus is lost, and frantically set out to find him. Ironically, Mary says, “Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.”, only to find him in his Father’s house! Jesus is not so much surprised that his parents have come for him, but that they did not know where to find him: “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house? (v49)” It is not Jesus who is lost and without understanding, it is Mary and Joseph! This encourages us as readers to consider ourselves as well; are we home with the Father?