Many of us have
endured the loss of a cherished loved one, a highly valued piece of
property or a hefty sum of money.Some lose opportunities which can never be brought back.Jesus Christ who came precisely to seek and find the lost is the
only one who presents every calamity in its proper perspective. He warns
us of the loss which surpasses all others:“For what does it profit a
man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke
his renowned parables are about the lost and found
(cf. Luke 15).
offered his only Son to rescue lives from lostness
(cf. John 3:16).To lose, or to be
lost, is the ultimate calamity on the divine slate.Even dictionaries point out the seriousness of this ruin: to
bring to destruction, damn, to miss one’s possession, to suffer
deprivation of, to fail to use something of value, etc.The Lord Jesus Christ repeatedly alerts his listener to the grave
danger of losing one’s soul for eternity.The dreary antecedent of losing one’s valuable soul is losing
Christ—the sole gateway to salvation and life everlasting.The actuality of Mary and Joseph losing the child Jesus at a
religious festival—as A. W. Tozer describes it—calls us to seriously
consider this alarming danger.
I.LIFE’S RIGHT COURSE DISCOVERED
population soared from 25,000 to 100,000 during the great Passah
festival—one of the three religious observations on their calendar.
Worshippers who traveled from every corner of the land in organized
caravans ascended Mt.Zion as they chanted the ‘Hallel’
(Psalms 120-137).The commemoration went on for a week. The significance of this
visit for a young boy was distinctive: He started wearing phylacteries
at twelve.He experienced
his initiation in the synagogue.According to Jewish tradition, he passed from the stage of
nephesh (soul) to that of
ruach (spirit).A boy at this juncture became eligible for marriage. His name was
recorded in the ancestral genealogy. The
series of these traditional events were meaningful to Jesus.Both Mary and Joseph undoubtedly contemplated this significant
return journey following the festival was as joyful as the ascent to Zion.Each caravan started the trek back to their own district.Among them were Mary and Joseph.But alas! Their vigilance for young Jesus was, to say the least,
trifling.They lost Jesus,
just as many people in churches or religious establishments have lost
him today.In these crucial
times one can ill afford to sustain his existence without the
ought to be grateful to the evangelist Luke—the only writer of this
significant occasion in Jesus’ early life—for presenting the whole story
in every detail.Buoyant
Mary and Joseph after a happy week enjoyed a whole day’s journey without
giving a second thought that they had lost the treasure of the world.The writer makes particular reference to their obvious
flaws—common to us all:
a. When the feast was
ended, religious fervor ended
b. They did not know
c. They supposed
d. They did not
are alarming lacks which end in the loss of life’s Pilot and straight
course. We need to remind ourselves that the parents lost Jesus not
incidentally, but at a religious festival.It could be that their fervor diminished when the feast ended, as
often happens to many of us.The sad occurrence calls us back to Isaiah’s words as to how and
why the Jews lost YAHWEH: “The
Lord said, ‘Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me
with their lips, while their heartsare far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment of men
learned by rote’” (29:13, cf. Matt. 15:8, 9).The Israelites had
exchanged an eleven-day junket for forty years of wandering
(cf. Deut. 1:2, 3). Jeremiah tells us how to
rediscover our most cherished companion who is lamentably lost in our
materialistic and syncretistic age.
“Then you will call upon me and
come and pray to me, and I will hear you.You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your
heart” (29:12, 13).
cultures conveniently invent their own version of Jesus.We are all aware of the religio-politico-economic intonations
during these alarming times.Lamentably, the wider Christian community is not exempt from this
trend with its profusion of seminars, workshops, retreats, conferences,
missiology strategies, psychiatric studies, etc.All these aim to advance our religious exposure and deepen our
involvement in Christian activities.But the pertinent question surfaces: “Where is Jesus?”If you had asked Mary and Joseph, they would have replied: “Oh,
he is somewhere in the company of relatives and friends!” But in reality
Jesus was nowhere to be found.In all our religious give and take Jesus Christ is not on the
primary agenda or on his throne where he should ever remain, be obeyed
and honored with the assistance of his blessed Holy Spirit.Jeremiah talks about seeking him wholeheartedly.Otherwise sinister distractions to rob those called to follow him
the parents’ alarm that evening at their discovery of having lost Jesus.Mary no doubt beat her chest and thighs.The sad reality dawned on them that they had lost their child.Does it ever occur to the Church and individual that they have
lost Jesus?Do they grasp
the urgency to jettison cultural or religious involvements from heart
and mind and enthrone the Lord Jesus where he belongs?
Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), was a venerated composer, a Christian of
high stature (cf. Genesis 6:4).His surpassing productions constitute the deepest delight to the
hearer.One day he laid his
hand on an inspiring poem: ‘Mein liebster Jesus ist verloren’
(My dearest Jesus is lost).
He proceeded to compose the Kings’ Cantata, which was sung before
potentates and is widely acclaimed until our time.
MY DEAREST JESUS IS LOST
(Translation from German)
My dearest Jesus is
that drives me to despair,
that pierces my soul,
of Thunder in my ears.
Where can I meet my
Who will show me
Where has my soul’s
My Savior—where has
No calamity would
move me so deeply,
As when I would
Jesus, my Refuge,
my Savior (Choral 3)
Jesus strong and
mighty Treader of the snake
Light of my life.
My heart yearns for
you with pain
My little Jesus.
Come, oh come, I
wait for you
Come, oh come,
Jesus, let yourself
Don’t let my sins
Be thick as clouds
That will frighten
And make you want
to hide from me.
Appear again soon!
Don’t you know that I must be about my
is the voice of my Friend.
To God be praise
My Jesus, my
Lets himself again
I was sick from
The misery almost
The marrow in my
But now my faith is
Now I am highly
Because I behold
the Delight of my soul—
The Savior, My Sun
Who after the
gloomy, mournful night
splendor makes my heart glad.
Up, my soul, make
You must go to Him
In His Father’s
House, over there in the temple
There will He
revive you in the sacrament
But if you want to
worthily take of His flesh and blood
You must kiss Jesus
in repentance and faith.
Happy am I, Jesus
Now I’m not cast
He who loves my
Himself points me
to joyful hours
I will never again
leave you, my Jesus
I will continually
embrace you in faith.
From my Jesus I
don’t part, (Choral 8)
Go forever at His
Christ my Shepherd
leads me on
To the sparkling
Brook of Life.
Blessed is He who
speaks to me
I don’t part with
Mary and Joseph were
left with no other option than to retrace their steps for the full day’s
return journey. Are we ever alerted to a similar distress?Preachers, teachers of theology, missionaries, church musicians,
administrators, you and I ― we have lost Jesus, but carry on life’s taxing
journey, unaware that he is not in our lives!“Samson did not know that the
LORD had left him” (Judges
forfeiture can be the doorway to illumination.In our religiosity we cannot see the Lord Jesus in His absolute
authority.We need to humbly
acknowledge this.The call for
each of us is to seek him until we find him.Mary’s and Joseph’s joyful day abruptly turned to gloom.They suddenly awoke to the painful reality, “We have to return to Jerusalem, even though it
means a hard-day’s trek.God
will protect us from thieves on the road, from bandits and weariness in our
LIFE’S GENUINE IMPETUS WITHOUT SUBSTITUTE
uncomfortable with the Lord Jesus the world has tossed him aside or changed
him into a convenient cultic figure to its own peril.The bitter fruit of the meager natural life it has opted for in both
thought and practice is crying out against it at every turn.Alas, the Church is not far behind!The demarcation line between the Church and the sinful world has
Gatherings of syncretistic innovation suffice with the mentioning of the
name of God but never allude to the name of Jesus Christ.The Church has turned universal (unitarian) without realizing it!As already mentioned, we are surrounded by
ersatz of all kinds.Our age is traveling in
the train of religious ebullience.Who cares if Jesus is dethroned?The substitutes serve us quite well!
couple’s problem was not immediately solved.Instead of making a beeline into the temple, they spent a third day
walking around looking for Jesus, all the while becoming increasingly
exhausted.He could be in the
shop of some master carpenter.
Probably he is visiting the tombs of the ancient Jewish kings.Perhaps he is at some archeological site satisfying his keen
curiosity.They were misled
while governed by swelling anxiety.“Have you met a boy from Nazareth whose name is Jesus?”“No, we don’t know who he is!”Nobody in Jerusalem could unravel their puzzlement.The parents spent a whole day searching because they didn’t think to
go to the proper place.You
will ever be forlorn if you fail to turn your sight to the exact place where
Jesus is.“If then you have been raised with
Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right
hand of God.Set your minds on
things that are above, not on things that are on earth.For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with
him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).
evangelist of the OT offers the same precept as Luke and Paul do in the NT:
“For thus says the high and lofty One
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy
place, and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive
the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite’” (Isaiah
57:15).Where to seek the
Lord Jesus and assuredly find him?Right where he is: in the glory and splendor of heaven.Christ is in his exalted celebrated majesty along with the Father,
discharging his high-priestly ministry continually.The writer to the Hebrews carries his wavering addressees’ attention
to the high priest who is above.We will certainly find him at the very center of his temple in the
highest (cf. Hebrews 4:14; 7:26;
10:13; 12:2, etc.)To be precise, the writer refers to
the high-priestly function of Christ about ten times.Why are we spending our time seeking Jesus in surrogate allurements?Reflect on the church in
carrying on spirited activities while the Lord Jesus Christ was left outside
knocking at the door.
Ours is an
enterprising era in church history.People are running every which way without realizing that they have
deprived themselves of the Unparalleled Treasure.They are missing the target of letting Jesus govern their bereft
lives.“Be still, and know that I am God.I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth” (Psalm
46:10).Exalt him in
the inner sanctuary of your life.Be on the lookout of substituting him with unworthy enticements.Losing him causes irreparable damage to your valuable life.
III. LIFE’S DICTUM WITH NO ROOM FOR
One of the tragedies of
our day is that the supernatural aspect of Christ is not very much in
people’s thinking.Too many are
seeking to discover life’s and eternity’s way with a faulty map.People in churches are pretty much engrossed with the natural. Jesus
is called upon to advise men and women regarding their ordinary problems and
tell them how to effectuate solutions.Some angel from heaven may even alert us with this question:
“Why do you seek the living among the
dead?” (Luke 24:5).
the end of three days when the couple discovered Jesus in the temple, they
were astonished.It is likely
that many of us, too, will be astonished when we stumble upon the risen
Christ in his heavenly majesty.
Then we will realize that we have not been in touch with the living
Pantocrator whose unchallenged supremacy is forever incontestable.We may address him as Mary did:
“…your father and I have been looking
for you anxiously” (Luke 2:48).Very true!Not being cognizant of Jesus’ position, not establishing a vital
relationship with him, the uneasiness of the heart becomes quite similar to
that of Mary and Joseph, whose steps led them in every direction except to
the temple.Christ would direct
the same question to us: “How is it
that you sought me?Did you not
know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49).
this background, it is worth considering the satisfaction of the diligent
seeker who has found the Lord Jesus in his rightful place and has run to him
to enjoy his rest (cf. Hebrews
4:9-11, 6, and 7).Consider
the rest Isaiah enjoyed, Saul of Tarsus attained and John celebrated in
jubilation expressed to Nathaniel:
“We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote,
Jesus of Nazareth” (John 1:45).Those reaching out to the Lord Jesus with valid understanding can sing,
“My beloved is all radiant and ruddy,
distinguished among ten thousand” (Song of Solomon ).Again a writer expresses in a
ballad: “You are the fairest of the
sons of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you
for ever” (Psalm 45:2).
Wo treff ich meinen Jesum an, Wer zeiget mir die Bahn, Wo
meiner Seele brünstiges Verlangen, Mein Heiland, hingegangen?
Kein Unglück kann mich so empfindlich rühren, Als wenn ich Jesum
Oboe d'amore I/II e Violino I col Soprano, Violino II coll'Alto,
Viola col Tenore, Continuo
Jesu, mein Hort und
Erretter, Jesu, meine Zuversicht, Jesu, starker
Schlangentreter, Jesu, meines Lebens Licht! Wie verlanget
meinem Herzen, Jesulein, nach dir mit Schmerzen! Komm, ach
komm, ich warte dein, Komm, o liebstes Jesulein!
4. Aria A
Oboe d'amore I/II, Violino I/II e Viola all' unisono, Cembalo
Jesu, lass dich finden, Laß doch meine Sünden Keine dicke
Wolken sein, Wo du dich zum Schrecken Willst für mich
verstecken, Stelle dich bald wieder ein!
Dies ist die Stimme meines Freundes, Gott Lob und Dank! Mein
Jesu, mein getreuer Hort, Läßt durch sein Wort Sich wieder
tröstlich hören; Ich war vor Schmerzen krank, Der Jammer
wollte mir das Mark In Beinen fast verzehren; Nun aber wird
mein Glaube wieder stark, Nun bin ich höchst erfreut; Denn ich
erblicke meiner Seele Wonne, Den Heiland, meine Sonne, Der
nach betrübter Trauernacht Durch seinen Glanz mein Herze fröhlich
macht. Auf, Seele, mache dich bereit! Du musst zu ihm In
seines Vaters Haus, hin in den Tempel ziehn; Da lässt er sich in
seinem Wort erblicken, Da will er dich im Sakrament erquicken;
Doch, willst du würdiglich sein Fleisch und Blut genießen, So
musst du Jesum auch in Buß und Glauben küssen.
7. Aria (Duetto) A T
Oboe d'amore I e Violino I all' unisono, Oboe d'amore II e Violino
II all' unisono, Viola, Continuo
Wohl mir, Jesus ist gefunden, Nun bin ich nicht mehr betrübt.
Der, den meine Seele liebt, Zeigt sich mir zur frohen Stunden.
Ich will dich, mein Jesu, nun nimmermehr lassen, Ich will dich im
Glauben beständig umfassen.
Oboe d'amore I/II e Violino I col Soprano, Violino II coll'Alto,
Viola col Tenore, Continuo
Meinen Jesum lass ich
nicht, Geh ihm ewig an der Seiten; Christus lässt mich für und
für Zu den Lebensbächlein leiten. Selig, wer mit mir so
spricht: Meinen Jesum lass ich nicht.