We’ve Lost The Messiah – Mary and Joseph lost Jesus, the Messiah. Jesus went to the temple to discuss scriptures. Where would your child go if you accidentally left them in a similar situation? Would it be church?


by Pastor Delbert Young

Mary and Joseph We’ve Lost The Messiah (Luke 2:39-52)


Sermon video

Mary and Joseph lost Jesus, the Messiah. Jesus went to the temple to discuss scriptures. Where would your child go if you accidentally left them in a similar situation? Who would they talk with? Where would they go knowing that is where you should come looking? Would it be church? Would it be to men and women of God? Surely your child would find someone to sit down with to discuss the scriptures, right? You loose them at Disney World and finally find them next to the gate having Bible study with Mickey and Donald, right? Where do you wish they would go? How have you trained them? Sometimes we all get a little lost for a few days. Where do we go?

Mary and Joseph We’ve Lost the Messiah – Luke 2:39-52

Scriptures: Luke 5:24; Luke 2:39-40; Luke 2:41-42; Luke 2:43-45; Luke 2:46-47; Luke 2:48; Luke 2:49-50; Luke 2:51-52; Proverbs 13:24

Luke 5:24 But that you may know that the SON OF MAN has authority on earth to forgive sins….” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” [NIV]

Son of Man is the title Jesus called himself. The phrase is found eighty-two times in the New Testament mostly used by Jesus in reference to himself. I know you’ve noticed pictures of Jesus, especially on Christmas cards, where Jesus “glows” sort of as a light bulb. It’s an attempt to magnify and defend Christ’s deity, but in so doing, it tremendously under-emphasizes his humanity. A primary purpose of Luke’s gospel is to emphasize Jesus as the Son of Man, human, as much as he is the Son of God.

Luke 2:39-40 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. AND THE CHILD GREW and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

This is where we left off last time. Jesus grew exactly like you and I did. He learned to feed himself. He learned to walk. He learned to talk. He had to potty. We don’t think about those things, but if he was human, he learned. As much as Jesus was the son of God, Jesus was the Son of Man. This is important.

Jesus had a very godly mother and an amazingly godly step father. I’ve met some amazingly godly step fathers. Both of Jesus’ parents made certain their personal lives were right with God and also made certain their children’s personal lives were right with God. The result was the child grew and became strong: he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

Jesus grew up in Nazareth. Today, Nazareth is a large city. Then it was a one well, tiny, impoverished area as we’ve talked about. Mary and Joseph were peasants and likely illiterate, especially Mary, but both Mary and Joseph were obviously wise. I think it’s amazing, though living in the humblest of ways, Mary and Joseph raised their child to genius. There were no private schools of higher learning in Nazareth. Yet, their child became a highly educated rabbi who spoke so well he amazed people. Jesus applied himself to learn, but still it’s phenomenal the job, and obvious sacrifice, Mary and Joseph did as parents providing for their children to grow physically, mentally, and spiritually. In their environment and with their income and education, they made it happen for their children. How precious is that?

A word for you young people: apply yourself to learn. Your parents are sacrificing so you can learn. I didn’t realize the sacrifice until I became a parent. Utilize their sacrifice to improve yourself and to position your future. They don’t want a “thank you.” They want to see you take what they gave as sacrifice and make your life great. One more thing, the older you get, the more difficult it becomes to learn. When young, the mind is a sponge. It absorbs everything – sounds, words, everything. At forty, the mind is more like a block of wood. You have to pound or drill everything into it. By the time you’re sixty, unless you work hard at it as I’ve tried, the mind becomes a brick. Maybe you can drill something in without it cracking, but you never know. Knowledge, nor wisdom, happens by accident. Learn.

Luke tells us much in a short time about Jesus in his young years. He was healthy. He grew physically to be strong. He grew mentally to the apex of mental learning, wisdom, of which Jesus is filled. He grew spiritually as the grace of God was upon him. He did this not in the best of conditions. Luke tells us Jesus applied himself and his parents sacrificed to make it happen.

Luke 2:41-42 Every year his PARENTS went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom.

This is an amazing story about Jesus when young and only Luke tells it. I think he got the story from Mary herself as Luke investigated (Luk 1:3). Not many would have known this story.

Again, we see the dedication and devotion Mary and Joseph had to God not only when Jesus was a baby. He was then twelve. A requirement of the Law of Moses was that every male travel to Jerusalem to worship for the Feast of the Passover. Mary and Joseph went as parents. They worshiped together. That’s important. However, one parent is better than none for the family, the children, the marriage, and for themselves. I’ve learned over the years if one parent is faithful, eventually the other parent will come. God will make certain of that, so don’t give up. Also, today we have many single parents. The same thing applies. One of the best things a single parent can do is keep their children before the Lord. God will help take care of the rest.

Passover was when the Passover lamb was slain and eaten by the family. Joseph took his family every year. This was a hardship. You think it’s tough loading up your bunch on Sunday morning and driving to church (bless your heart). Joseph and Mary had at least seven children, five boys and at least two girls, (Mark 6:3) plus themselves. They walked at least 80 miles with seven kids and they did this every year. Passover was in March or April. It was still very cool weather. Plus, there would be some rain and some sickness. This was expensive and took about a week to get to Jerusalem, there a week, and a week to get back. It was an expensive hardship. However, one Mary and Joseph valued and taught their children to value.

How do we do teaching our children the value of worship and faithfulness to the things of God? Do we teach them that yes, it’s often a hardship to get to worship, but we are going nonetheless and we are going as a family? Do we teach them it might seem expensive to tithe and give offerings, but God said he would supply? Do we teach them yes, I’m tired, but we will ascend into worship and praise? What is your personal level of dedication and devotion to the Lamb of God?

Luke 2:43-45 After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.

Jesus stressed out his parents just like you stressed out your parents. He never sinned, but he did cause his parents stress. Let’s experience this a moment. You are from LaFayette, Ringgold, Summerville, Rock Spring, Cloudland (small towns). Imagine you visit New York City and you loose your child, your first and oldest child. Have you ever lost a child? We were at a fireworks celebration last 4th of July. Michael Lance, one of our grandsons, five years old, turned up missing. His parents thought he was with relatives or friends just as did Mary, but he wasn’t. You know what goes through a parent’s mind – predators! We think the child is lost, crying, feeling rejected, and feeling unloved. Every parent and grandparent knows the horror of a lost child. It’s panic! Everyone in our group took off as fast as we could to find Michael Lance. Of course, as hoped, Michael Lance was fine, calm as could be, enjoying life as is his temperament, wondering why everyone was upset.

I won’t point you out, but some of you have come here to church, left, gotten home, and realized you left a child at Jerusalem. That’s what happened to Joseph and Mary except it was New York City. You can imagine how it would have been. “Where’s Jesus?” “I don’t know. I thought he was with you.” “No. I thought you had him.” “Oh my God! (literally) We’ve lost the Messiah!” So, they hurried back frantically to Jerusalem looking for him.

Luke 2:46-47 AFTER THREE DAYS they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was AMAZED at his UNDERSTANDING AND HIS ANSWERS.

Three days! The teachers stationed themselves in the temple court. Students came, listened, and asked questions. They would discuss and dialogue about complex and difficult scriptures. Here was a twelve year old from Nazareth who amazed everyone who heard himwith his understanding and his answers. The Greek word is existemi {ex-is’-tay-mee} meaning to throw out of position, displace; to put out of wits, i.e. become astounded, insane. It was insane how sharp the child was. He threw them off. He messed with them. Can you imagine instead of the student asking the scholars how to interpret a scripture, the scholars asking the student for interpretation. Imagine perfect interpretation every time on every scripture. Who would that not amaze?

Luke 2:48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

What would you have said? Why were his parents astonished? Obviously, Joseph and Mary were not accustomed to Jesus doing anything like this. He had always been the perfect child.

It had been three days. “Where is he? Is he eating? Is he warm? Is he alive?” Mary and Joseph were anxious, stressed, and worried beyond belief. I don’t imagine Mary said that sweetly. Jesus wasn’t crying, upset, or feeling forsaken. He was calmly sitting and talking about the word of God. At twelve years old he was as cool as could be. He was a cool calm dude. I suppose he told the teachers, “My parents left me. I’ll stay at the temple and wait for them to come back.” I’d suppose one of the teachers took him home until his parents arrived.

Luke 2:49-50 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they DID NOT UNDERSTAND what he was saying to them.

Jesus said you should have known where I would be. You should not have been stressed and anxious about where I was. Didn’t you know I HAD TO BE in my Father’s house? THOSE ARE THE FIRST WORDS OF JESUS RECORDED IN THE BIBLE.

Where would your child go if you accidentally left them in a similar situation? Who would they talk with? Where would they go knowing that is where you should come looking? Would it be church? Would it be to men and women of God? Surely your child would find someone to sit down with to discuss the scriptures, right? You loose them at Disney World and finally find them next to the gate having Bible study with Mickey and Donald, right? Where do you wish they would go? How have you trained them?

It said Mary and Joseph didn’t understand what he was saying to them. Young people, do you ever feel your parents don’t understand you? How many of us parents felt our parents didn’t understand us. That’s ok. Just do what they tell you and you will be fine. That’s what I did, well, most of the time. That’s what Jesus did every time.

Even though both Mary and Joseph had angelic visitations concerning Jesus and who he was and though they knew he was an unusual child, exactly who he was seems somewhat foreign and cloudy to them. They didn’t understand that boy. But, when you think, it had to be that way. Imagine knowing you are raising God – Immanuel. How do you tell God to take out the trash? How do you tell God to watch your brothers and sisters while you go to the store? How do you tell God to help you fix this roof? How do you tell your other children your brother is God? “Mom! Will you tell Jesus to stop acting like God?” Father God had to protect Joseph, Mary, the family, and neighbors somewhat from getting the whole picture.

However, I see so many parents treat their children like they are God. The child tells the parents what to do. They have no duties. They are disobedient. They get anything they want. How does parenting work in your home?

Luke 2:51-52 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and WAS OBEDIENT TO THEM. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Jesus, Immanuel, the Messiah, was obedient to them – Mary and Joseph, his mother and step father. How precious is that! Here is the creator of all things submitting himself to his parents and to the poverty in Nazareth. It wasn’t only at age twelve. He continued beingobedient to them until he went into his ministry.

Parents, your children should obey you. If they don’t and get by with it, it’s a sin – both for them and you (Pro 22:6). Train up your child.

Proverbs 13:24 He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

God expects you to discipline your children. It’s for their good. That’s a command. Ephesians 6:1-4 instructs children to obey their parents to lengthen life. If it was right for Jesus to be obedient, it’s right for your children. How does this work in your home?

Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. There’s that conjunction “and” in verse 52. I’ve yet to see a child who was obedient to his parents not have favor with God and people.

Luke summarized the next eighteen years of Christ’s life in thirteen words. He was the boy you wish was your children’s best friend. He would have been a great influence.

Young people, Jesus knows what it’s like to grow up. He knows what it’s like to have parents who didn’t understand him. However, if you will be obedient to your parents, God will exalt you, your life will be great, and people will like you.

Parents, commit yourselves to God’s ways. Be devoted to God even when it hard. Be godly and a godly example for your children. If you will, you can rest when you can’t see them. They will be with godly people. Raise your children in the ways of God. Discipline your children quickly. Take it from us. You will be very proud of them now and later.

We are all God’s children. Let’s all, when lost go to Father’s house to be found. People should know where we have to be to find us. Let’s all be about our Father’s business.

Other Related Sermons:

Present Your Family to the Lord – video audio Luke 2:21-40

You and the Tomb – Easter sermon

Revelation Chapter 17, Great Whore, Scarlet Colored Beast – sermon video audio notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young