Jerry C. Brewer
I have always been a fan of Country Music—real country music not the pseudo-country music spewed out of Nashville today. But one of those recent song’s lyrics made shivers run up and down my spine because of it’s irreverent reference to the Son of God. The song’s lyrics said, “I found Jesus on the jail house floor.” That is typical of the experiential religion that the majority of people in the world embrace today. But Jesus is not on a jail house floor. He is, today, where He has always been—in His Father’s house, being about His Father’s business. Jesus is not lost. It is man who is lost.
The only account of Jesus’ childhood recorded in the New Testament is related by Luke.
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions (Luke 2:41-46).
At least two great lessons for us are found in this lone account of Jesus’ childhood:
“Supposing” Christ is With Us
Luke 2:44 says they went on their way, supposing that Jesus was with them. How many religious people today live life merely supposing that Jesus is with them and approves of everything they do? They do not investigate the Bible for themselves, but take the words of a preacher, supposing that he is right.
But each of us must investigate for himself. We are to study God’s word (2 Tim. 2:15) in order to know the truth, for only by that knowledge can we be sure of our salvation (John 8:32). We should study to walk with Jesus, rather than supposing He is walking with us, and in order to do that we must walk in the Truth of God’s word (John 14:15; 1 John 1:5-7).
Following Parents’ Religion
Joseph and Mary committed another fallacy that is oft repeated today, Luke 2:44 also says they thought He was among their kinsfolk and acquaintances. How many people today will say, “Well, my parents’ religion is good enough for me?” or “My friends practice this or that religion?” without realizing that parents and friends can be wrong in their religious practices. Though he was sincere in what he did, Paul was wrong and changed his religion (Acts 23:2; Phil. 3:8; Gal. 1:13-14). The standard of true religion is not parents or friends, but the word of God. Paul wrote that God’s word “is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Parents can be wrong in their religion. Jesus said his religion would set parents and children against each other.
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household (Matt. 10:34-36).
Yes, parents, like Joseph and Mary, can be wrong, but Christ’s way cannot (John 14:6). It cannot be wrong to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God (John 8:24; Acts 16:30). It cannot be wrong to repent of one’s sins (Acts 2:38; 17:30-31). It cannot be wrong to confess Christ before men (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:37) and it cannot be wrong to be baptized in order to be saved (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38).
Paul followed the religion of his “fathers” (Gal. 1:13-14) but gave it all up when he learned the truth of Jesus Christ. That takes courage, but when parents follow a religion not found in the New Testament it must be given up if one is to please God.
Jesus is Not Lost
When Joseph and Mary learned they were mistaken, Luke 2:45 says they “turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.” That’s the answer to every question regarding where truth in religion is to be found. One must go back past Catholic councils, Protestant creeds, and the opinions of parents and friends, all the way to Jerusalem where the Gospel began to be preached and the church was established in Acts 2. It’s there where Jesus will be found—as He said in Luke 2:49—being about His Father’s business.
Contrary to what his parents feared, Jesus wasn’t lost. His reply to them in the American Standard Version says, “How is it that ye sought me? Knew ye not that I must be in my Father’s house?” God’s house is His church (1 Tim. 3:15) and that’s where Jesus is. He was not lost at 12 years old and He is not lost today. It is man who is lost and if man would be saved, he must seek Jesus in God’s house, the church, today.
Friends, think on these things. Good parents love their children and provide the necessities of life for them. But even good parents can be religiously wrong. Do not blindly accept the religion of parents, but investigate the Bible for yourselves. Jesus Christ has the words of life and He is the only way to the Father (John 14:6).
I can be wrong, my friends can be wrong, and my parents can be wrong, but the Word of God is never wrong. In it we are told that we must hear the gospel (Rom. 10:17) believe it (John 8:24) repent of our sins (Luke 13:3) confess our faith in Christ (Matt. 10:32-33; Acts 8:37), and be baptized for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38).