“And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; Joseph and his mother knew nothing of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the Temple.”—Luke 2:43-46.  

Luke shares how Jesus purposely stayed behind in Jerusalem, allowing those who had been with Him to go on without him. Who has not felt a similar experience in their spiritual life? Jesus seemingly withdrew right during prayer or passing by when we thought He would remain. At times, we may be overcome by a strange feeling as if he were going to leave us. What does it all mean? The issue question is whether we realize He has left and whether we want to pursue Him. 

Luke suggests Joseph and Mary were so busy buying and selling and getting ready for travel that their eyes got off Jesus, and they drifted apart. Many have done just the same since. They have drifted from Jesus. They never intended it to happen, but they became so absorbed that it did. In some of these cases, there was no flagrant sin, but while attending to a business or occupation that was legitimate and proper, they gradually let go of Christ. They were busy buying and selling, caring for the children, attending to the spouse, and running around. There were hours of laughing and talking, days consumed in entertaining others, and contact with many people distracted and diverted their minds so that one night, after going to bed, they realized there was no Christ in their hearts. They were elbowed out of the divine companionship of Jesus by the busyness of the world around them. 

Christ does not have a fluctuating love, nor is erratic in His treatment of us. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever and could not be fickle. He does so in the highest wisdom and in obedience to laws that most Christians do not take the time to study and understand. God announces himself as a jealous God. He is worthy of being followed and sought after. As a mother puts down her child and makes it walk to her, the Lord withdraws and is silent to make us pursue him and call after him.

According to Luke’s passage, Jesus was lost, and He was lost by those who loved him. The same continues to happen today. He is gradually lost because God loves us too much to leave us at once. He gives us loving, gentle warnings, but those so absorbed in other things have not seen them. Are you willing to ask yourself whether you have Jesus in you? Please take some time this week and ask yourself that necessary question.