Where Are You

Merry Christmas. Today is the sixth day of Christmastide and I pray that everyone had an awesome Christmas. Today’s sermon is titled Where are You and you may find it’s not exactly what you think it is. That is the point right. This particular scripture is almost always boiled down to verse 49. He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Clear cut to the point. I believe this is the first place in the Bible where Jesus actually refers to his divinity and that is why it is so popular. But I ask you to consider this from a different perspective. I’m gonna touch on the various topics within this passage but I want you keep just one thing in mind. I want to know where you are in this passage. Let me unpack that little bit first. Where do you see yourself in this passage? You have several different places you can be and several different people whose eyes you can see through. It says that every year Jesus’s parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. You can think of it from a parents point of view, the family vacation and how good it is to get out and away from Nazareth or you can think of the excitement from Jesus’s point of view as a young man he’s 12 years old which means that he is now considered a “Son of the Law” which meant that he was now under obligation to observe the ordinances and laws as an adult would observe them. Jesus would be expected to observe all 613 Rabbinic laws. It would be the precursor to his coming of age at 13. So, not exactly the same boring family vacation, it now had greater meaning and would have been a very exciting trip because Lord of the universe or not he’s still a 12-year-old boy. Or, maybe you see yourself somewhere in the middle of the story. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. Maybe you see yourself later after they leave and you’re tired and you’re wanting to go home and sleep in your own bed and it’s a long way home and when you get there you have to go back to the daily grind. You start thinking about all the things that you gotta do and places you gotta go and what you forgot to do, did I pay the gas bill, did I water the plants before I left? We’ve all been there. Now maybe you’re thinking what terrible parents Mary and Joseph were because they didn’t know that Jesus was missing but at that time it would have been normal for most of if not the entire village to travel together to Jerusalem for the Passover festival.

Partly because there is safety in number but also because it is a festival and everyone would have known each other, many would be related, and it was a time to have fun. Think about our community and the harvest festival only bigger. Your talking a huge caravan of people. However, they didn’t travel all mixed up or in small little groups instead the women typically went ahead first, and the men followed behind with children intermixed between the two groups. Now, anyone who’s had kids has had that moment when you look at each other and say, “I thought he was with you.” When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. Perhaps you can relate to the frightened parents who are anxious because they cannot find their child. The weary trip back to Jerusalem to search for the missing child dealing with the fear and anxiety, the anger. Getting angrier and angrier that not everything is going according to plan. The fear growing and feeding the anger, how many of us have been there? That crazy mixed up feeling that’s impossible to explain, it has to be experienced, the joy and the relief of finding your child alive and well and obviously unconcerned about your absence and having a great time. That overwhelming desire to strangle them and hug them at the same time, to never let them go again. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them, and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. Maybe you see yourself searching, always searching but never finding what you’re looking for and then amazed when you do find it. Jesus parents didn’t go straight to the temple because obviously they didn’t expect to find Jesus at the temple. Instead they expected him to be wandering around the streets.

What’s up with that, both Mary and Joseph know that Jesus is the Messiah and still they are amazed to find him in the temple and apparently the last place they looked. I think we all know how that goes.  Are you looking for Jesus where you expect Him to be or where He is? Now, any parent in the world would be extremely upset at this point. I know I would be I am certain that there’s not a person in this room that would not have said basically the same thing that Mary did only I’m sure we would have used a little bit stronger language than great anxiety (perhaps that’s bible code for just wait until we get home) I don’t know. I know I would have gotten more than a time out, that for sure. When his parents saw him, they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.”

Maybe you’re at the point your fear and anxieties has turned to anger, perhaps not everything is going according to plan in your life and you find yourself, mad at God. Maybe you’re no longer searching for God. Maybe the answer you got wasn’t the one you expected when your anger is turned into confusion because it’s no longer about where you are. Because it’s never been about where we are. We’re not talking about where we are any longer. We’re asking God, Where are You? And, you will find that the answer is the same for you as it is for Mary and Joseph. He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. Often, I think that this is where we all are. But they did not understand what he said. Although Jesus has told us, God has told us so many times in so many places. In Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. He seeks us if we will only seek Him in return, you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and soul. Deuteronomy 4:29 I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 27:8. Where are you? Do you have that wonder and excitement like a 12-year-old who’s no longer looking at the world as a child does but with the excitement and enthusiasm of a new adventure with new responsibilities. Are you afraid that maybe you missed the moment, anxious that your just not where you expected to be or maybe you just wanna relax it’s been a long day and being a Christian is not easy. Living for God instead of for yourself, it’s hard and important things often get left behind. Maybe you’re searching for that something that got left behind and you keep looking in all the wrong places and your anger and fear is preventing you from seeing the obvious from seeing where you are. Maybe, it’s never been about where you are or what you’re looking for. The Bible tells us to seek the Lord with our hearts and souls, not our eyes. We don’t have to look for God because He is always here, always with us. We don’t have to ask Where are You? All we have to do is open our hearts and He will find us.  For thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. AMEN!

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