After three days, his parents found him in the temple. His mother said to him, ‘Son, how could you treat us this way? Your father and I have been anxiously looking for you.’ And He said to them, ‘Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in my Father’s house?’ Luke 2:46,48
Every parent knows what it’s like to momentarily lose sight of your child in public. Your stomach drops like lead when you realize that they are not where they are supposed to me. The word ‘kidnap’ assaults your mind immediately.
Mary and Joseph brought twelve-year-old Jesus to the temple. While on their way home, they realized that Jesus was not with them. They searched frantically for three entire days. Re-tracing their steps, they ended up back at the temple and were shocked to find him there. He was listening in to the many spiritual conversations that took place in God’s house. Still distraught, Joseph and Mary asked Him how he could have done such a thing. His answer? “Did you not know that I had to be in my Father’s house?” He seemed shocked that they would have looked elsewhere.
In all the times I’ve read this story over the years, it never occurred to me that Jesus would feel something far different than anyone else when in the presence of God. Jesus left His Father to come to earth and hadn’t seen Him for twelve years. There had to be homesickness in his soul for His Father’s company. The memory of being near God was in his spiritual DNA. To visit the temple and to approach the holy of holies, the place where God’s Spirit called ‘home’, re-awakened the feelings of being home in glory. He was near His Father again – yet on earth. Did His heart break at the thought of leaving Him? His attachment to Mary and Joseph had to pale in comparison.
I don’t know if you believe in near-death experiences. While a few seem exaggerated, I believe many have been real. There is a common theme in the stories where people experienced time in the presence of God; they didn’t want to return to earth. Yes, they loved the people they left. Yes, they even knew their death would be grieved. Yet, the magnetism of God’s presence drew them. The memory of it changed their lives forever. For their remaining days, they dream of the day they will again be eternally in the presence of their Heavenly Father.
Are my times with You as life-changing? You are drawing me with an everlasting love so how could I ever want to be anywhere else! Amen