Thomas Cosmades




 (Luke 2:40-52)


By Thomas Cosmades


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 9:25).   Three of his renowned parables are about the lost and found (cf. Luke 15).

 God 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.


 Jerusalem’s 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 event.

 The 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 life-imparting Lord. 

 We 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 (43a)

            b. They did not know (43b)

            c. They supposed (44)

            d. They did not understand (50)

 These 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 hearts  are 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).

 Different 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 are inevitable.  Envisage 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?  

 Johann 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.



(Translation from German)


My dearest Jesus is lost:

     O Word, that drives me to despair,

     O Sword that pierces my soul,

     O Word of Thunder in my ears.


Where can I meet my Jesus?

Who will show me the way?

Where has my soul’s Ardent Desire,

My Savior—where has He gone?

No calamity would move me so deeply,

As when I would lose Jesus.


Jesus, my Refuge, my Savior            (Choral 3)

Jesus, my Confidence

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, beloved Jesus.


Jesus, let yourself be found

Don’t let my sins

Be thick as clouds

That will frighten you away

And make you want to hide from me.

Appear again soon!


Don’t you know that I must be about my Father’s business?


 This is the voice of my Friend.

To God be praise and thanks!

My Jesus, my faithful protector

Lets himself again be heard

Through His consoling Word.


I was sick from pain

The misery almost consumed

The marrow in my bones;

But now my faith is strong again.

Now I am highly cheered

Because I behold the Delight of my soul—

The Savior, My Sun

Who after the gloomy, mournful night

Through His splendor makes my heart glad.

Up, my soul, make yourself ready!

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 is found

Now I’m not cast down anymore.

He who loves my soul

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 side.

Christ my Shepherd leads me on

To the sparkling Brook of Life.

Blessed is He who speaks to me

I don’t part with my Lord.          

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 16:20).  Admission of 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 bones.”


 Feeling 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 become indistinguishable.  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!

 Our 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).

 The 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 Laodicea 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.



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).

 At 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).

 Against 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 Patmos.  Remember Philip’s 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 5:10).   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).

Thomas Cosmades  


BWV 154


Mein liebster Jesus ist verloren



1. Aria T
Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo


Mein liebster Jesus ist verloren:
    O Wort, das mir Verzweiflung bringt,
    O Schwert, das durch die Seele dringt,
    O Donnerwort in meinen Ohren.



2. Recitativo T


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 soll verlieren.



3. Choral
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!



5. Arioso B


Wisset ihr nicht, dass ich sein muss in dem, das meines Vaters ist ?



6. Recitativo T


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.



8. Choral
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.