Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Looking Where He Isn't

Every year his parents used to go to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up for the feast as usual. When the days of the feast were over and they set off home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing it. They assumed he was somewhere in the party, and it was only after a day’s journey that they went to look for him among their relations and acquaintances. When they failed to find him they went back to Jerusalem, looking for him everywhere. It happened that, three days later, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them, and asking them questions; and all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and his replies. They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, ‘My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.’ ‘Why were you looking for me?’ he replied. ‘Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ But they did not understand what he meant. He went down with them and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority. His mother stored up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and with people.

Luke 2:41–52

I was reading this passage this morning and the thought struck me that for three days, Mary and Joseph looked for Jesus in many places where we wasn't to be found. Eventually, however, they looked for him in the place that they should have looked all along...in his Father's house. They didn't understand that Jesus would always be about his Father's business.

It got me thinking...Do I 'look for Jesus' in places where he won't be found? Like Mary and Joseph at first, do I forget to look for him at all? Would I even notice if he wasn't there? What kind of 'places' does Jesus avoid?

I think that the 'places' that Jesus is not to be found today probably has to do more with states of heart than location. People experiencing brokenness, hopelessness, and frustration are places where Jesus spends his time. People living out their faith in love, bringing hope to the hopeless, bringing peace in the midst of conflict...these are places where Jesus spends his time.

Places that Jesus avoids are those who are filled with pride, self-justification, confidence in their own holiness, people who are more concerned with looking spiritual than being spiritual, people who reject the lost and broken, those who hate justice and mercy. It's unfortunate that I probable spend too much time here and much less time where Jesus is.


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