Haven't Lost One Yet

One of my devotionals for Eastminster Presbyterian Church

Scripture - The Boy Jesus at the Temple

41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” 49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them. 51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

Haven’t Lost One Yet

It happens every August. I deal with nervous parents worried about their child starting middle school. I try to reassure them. I usually tell them that I haven’t lost a student yet, but that is a lie. I did lose a student several years ago and not just any student. I lost my principal’s daughter. I lost her at orientation before school even started. She wasn’t missing long, but fifteen minutes seems like hours when you’ve lost a child. It seems like days when the missing child is your boss’s daughter. I could relate to today’s verse that tells the story of Jesus getting separated from him parents. Most folks can. Most parents have had a child go missing at one time or another. It’s easy to get separated in a crowd. Worry. Fear. Relief mixed with anger when you finally find the wandering child. All awful feelings. It goes with teaching school. It goes with parenting. It goes with being human.

These verses remind us that while Jesus was fully divine, he was also fully human. He experienced the very human situation of being in hot water with a very upset mother. Even Jesus experienced being on the receiving end of a mother’s wrath. Same with my missing fifth grader.

Even though the child was the principal’s daughter, she still got a stern talking to from me. I’m sure I used phrases like, “You almost gave me a heart attack” and “I was worried sick.” In my case, I didn’t say it but I’m sure I was thinking, “Are you trying to get me fired?”

Mary was no different from all mothers. Even though she was the mother of Jesus. Even lived more than two thousand years ago. Verse 48 paints a picture we all understand. “How could you do that to your father and me? We were worried.” Maybe raising children hasn’t changed that much.

Jesus made it through adolescence and Mary made it through raising a teenager. Verse 52 says God grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor of God and man.

You can’t be fully man unless you are fussed at by your mama. God, in all his wisdom, allowed Jesus to experience the emotions of being human. Jesus got a stern talking to by his mother. He felt what it is like to disappoint someone. Even Jesus knew what it was like to be in the dog house. He lived on Earth as a man so he could fully understand us and our struggles.

Mary and Joseph found Jesus, and all was well. My little fifth grader wasn’t lost long. She had wandering into her father’s office so technically maybe she wasn’t ever lost. I didn’t get fired. She made it through middle school.

We always think of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, but we often forget that because he was fully human, He went through other trials and tribulations. He did that so He could relate to us. He didn’t have to. He did that because He loved us that much.

Dear Lord, thank you for loving us enough to live life on Earth as a man. Thank you for loving us that much. Thank you for teachers who count the heads of children all day and try not to lose one. Bless and protect them during these very unusual circumstances. Thank you for the parents who are acting as teachers during Covid 19. Please continue to comfort us and watch over us.


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