A Sorrowful Search

Luke 2:41-51

" 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.

It 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.

1. The 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-

2. 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-

1. 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.

2. 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-

1. 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.

3. 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-

1. 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?

2. 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.



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