" We've trod the maze of error round, Long wand'ring in the winding glade; And now the torch of light is found, It only shows us where we strayed." -GEORGE CRABBE.
is extremely melancholy at the end of an anxious, busy life only to
find light enough to show that it has been a life of error and failure
and transgression against God. It is possible for the saving light of
the Gospel to become at last, through wilful neglect, only the lurid
glare that reveals but a ghastly future. Walk in the light while ye
have the light. Seek the Lord while He may be found.
It was the
first eventful day in the life of Jesus when He went to His first
Passover at Jerusalem at the age of twelve. Even then, as the Great
Teacher come from God, He could not be hid. Let us reflect on the
seeking and the finding of Him by His reputed parents.
discovery. "They went a day's journey, and when they found Him not they
turned back." It is always a sad discovery to those who know and love
Jesus to find that He is not with them. Like Samson, they may shake
themselves, but it availeth nothing (Jdg 16:20). How had this come
about? We read that they-
1. Supposed Him to be in the company.
Supposing Him to be with us is no evidence that He is with us. Many
suppose Christ to be with them who are living Christless lives,
supposing that all is right when all is wrong. Then again they-
Doubtless were taken up with other company. Not that they intended to
go without Him, but between their suppositions and the pressure of
their kinsfolk and acquaintances He was left behind. Is it not the old
story, "While I was busy here and there, He was gone?" It is even
possible to be busy with the Lord's work when the Lord Himself is not
with us. A missionary going out to his work one morning very sad was
caught at the door by his wife, who looked into his face and said, "O
Willie, much work and little prayer makes a hard task." There was no
visiting that morning, but a work was done in Willie's soul that proved
a life-long blessing.
2. The search. One day's journey without Jesus incurred three days' sorrowful searching. But observe that they-
Sought Him at once. They did not attempt to go one step farther without
Him. Their love forbade them. We will always make quicker progress by
turning back to the place where we have parted company with Christ than
by going on without His conscious presence with us. If His presence
does not brighten your life, seek His face. Wait on the Lord. Turn back.
Sought Him sorrowing. At first they sought Him where they could not
find Him, among their kinsfolk and acquaintances. Are we not all apt to
run among our Christian friends, seeking the light and help that only
Christ Himself can give? It is always a sorrowful search seeking the
Lord. If we feel the need of His presence to satisfy our souls as much
as His parents did, the terrible sense of loss will constrain us to
seek Him in tears.
3. The finding. He that seeketh findeth (Jer 29:13). They found Him-
Where? "In the temple." The temple was the "house of prayer." This fact
may help to impress us with the thought that in the secret place of
prayer we may surely expect to find Him whom our souls love, and whose
presence with us we so much need in our journey homeward. Such blessed
company makes the road short.
2. When? "After three days." We
cannot resist the conviction that there is a profound truth here for
every seeker after Jesus. The three days seem to remind us of the
resurrection." Destroy this temple," He said, "and in three days I will
raise it up again." It is not a dead Christ we seek, but the risen,
living One, who sits in the midst, in the great temple above.
How? "Sitting in the midst of doctors about His Father's business." All
who ever sought and found Christ have found Him doing His Father's
business. It is the will of God both to save and sanctify. In our
receiving Jesus Christ by faith, and abiding in Him, the great business
of the Father with respect to our individual lives is being done. Thy
will be done in us as in Heaven.
4. The following. Note also that He-
Went down with them. He had just said to them, Wist ye not that I must
be about My Father's business? Yet He went down with them. Down into
the home, down into all the joys and sorrows and details of their
everyday life, and this was also to Him the Father's business. Is it
otherwise now? Does He not still go down with those who have sought Him
sorrowing into the sphere of their daily toil, into their every
circumstance, that all may be brightened and cheered with His presence?
Was subject to them. He adapted Himself to all their needs and
requirements. He placed Himself, as it were, at their disposal, and
virtually said, "What will ye that I should do unto you?" Reverently
speaking, is it not so still? Has He not offered Himself to all who
have sought Him? Does He not now adapt Himself as our Saviour to our
every condition and requirement? Is He not still, on the ground of His
own promise, subject to them that believe? He cannot deny Himself.