Luke 2:41-52

Recently,
I was watching the television game show “The Family Feud.” In this
particular episode, contestants were asked: “Name a place where you
can count on to find your spouse?” The implication is that we all
have places where others can ordinarily find us outside of our
respective workplaces. For instance, some of us can be found hanging
out at a friend’s house, while others of us can be typically spotted
working up a sweat at the fitness center. And the list goes on and on.
But, in order to find our spouse, we must know his or her passions
and tendencies. Is it any different for finding Jesus?

During
the Feast of Passover, Luke comments in verse 41 that Joseph and Mary
could always be found in Jerusalem. The Passover Feast was one of the
major events during the Jewish calendar year. And being twelve years
old, this particular feast was special for Jesus because it marked
his preparation for adulthood. On this occasion, Jesus decided to
stay behind and not return to Nazareth in preparation for His
future ministry. The central problem was that Jesus did not overtly
communicate His intentions. After traveling some distance, Mary and
Joseph finally notice that Jesus is absent from their company.

As
a young child, I remember being lost while shopping with my parents
at K-Mart. I decided to stray for just a moment to look at toys.
Before I knew it, my parents were nowhere in sight. All-purpose
stores like K-Mart are extremely spacious and to a small boy the
aisles seemed endless. Eventually I was sighted by a friendly,
compassionate lady who brought me to the customer service area, where
my parents claimed me. When I looked into their eyes, they appeared
visibly distressed. I wonder if this is how Mary and Joseph felt
having lost Jesus.

Quickly returning to
Jerusalem, Mary and Joseph searched frantically for a period of three
days only to find their twelve-year-old Jesus sitting in the temple
courts soaking in and responding to everything that the great rabbis
brought before Him regarding the Scriptures. Luke tells us that when
they located Jesus at long last, Mary acted like any ordinary,
aggravated parent and asked him: “Son, why have you treated us like
this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
Notice, Jesus responded rather nonchalantly: “Why were you searching
for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

As
you recall, the angel Gabriel directly told Mary that Jesus would be
called “Son of the Most High” and be the saving Messiah. However, in
verse 50, Mary and Joseph failed to make this connection with Jesus’
actions. They didn’t comprehend that Jesus’ primary interests and
tendencies centered on fulfilling His Heavenly Father’s mission. To
find Jesus, we must similarly know His passions and tendencies.
Specifically, in this example, Jesus required a thorough understanding
of God’s word so that He could teach the world about His loving
Father. Jesus’ earthly parents could have found Jesus sooner if they
knew the longings of His heart.

In our
respective Christian journeys, there are moments when we may have
difficulty finding Jesus. Followers of Christ are not privy to
so-called spiritual GPS navigation systems that identify the quickest
route to Jesus. However, this story imparts a fruitful lesson in that
we can find Jesus when we know His passions and tendencies. Frankly,
our dilemma is that our passions and tendencies commonly diverge from
Jesus’. As a result, we may feel that we do not experience Him or
feel close to Him.

Jesus was found in His
Father’s house because He placed great importance on knowing His
Father. In the year to come, I would encourage all of us to become more
familiar with Jesus’ passions and tendencies. And expectantly, in
doing so, we will find Him. This can be possible by returning to the
basics of the Christian faith which are re-reading the Gospels and
conversing with Him through prayer. Friends, we can find Jesus when
we know His passions and tendencies. Like Mary, may we bury this
treasure in our hearts but also exercise it in faith.

___________________
Sermon
brief provided by: Matthew D. Kim, adjunct professor of preaching at
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, MA.

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