The authorities in Jerusalem are appealing for the public's help in locating a missing boy from Nazareth (GALILEE).
Jesus Barjoseph, 12, was last seen near the Susa Gate five days ago. We are concerned for his welfare.
Jesus - described as a serious boy and mature for his age - is olive-skinned, 4' 8" tall, and of slim to medium build with shoulder-length black hair.
He is understood to be wearing a brown and tan tunic and black sandles, carrying a small satchel.
Jesus is familiar with the area around the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives.
His mother, Mary, says, "Jesus, if you read this, please contact us. We are not angry with you, just very anxious."
Jesus also goes by the name 'Son of Man'.

It's scary just how many children go missing each day in the UK alone. MissingKids tells us that a child goes missing every three minutes.

In a country where child abduction and abuse is regularly reported, and Ealing we know is no exception, I can only try to imagine what the parents go through.

My son is now in his 20s. At the time of writing one of his close friends from South Ealing is missing. Last weekend they made plans to meet midweek, but by then he was the subject of a Met Police alert.

His mum and his friends are left in the limbo of anxiety until more news is known.

The emotions of the last few days made the account of Jesus going missing at the age of 12 that much more heart breaking.

Jesus' family

We don't know much about Jesus' childhood. We know he was entrusted to two devout, loving parents. They weren't a wealthy family (the offering sacrificed at his purification rites, 2 doves, was that allowed for those who couldn't afford a lamb). His father, Joseph, was a carpenter, providing for several children. We presume he died before Jesus started his ministry as an adult, as he doesn't get a mention in any of the biographies of Jesus after the 12 year-old Jesus is found.

Luke, the author of one of these biographies, tells us that Jesus' parents had taken him to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover for the first time at the age of 12.  It was an annual trip for them, but this time they took their eldest son. The trip was shared with friends, and the journey back home was planned with the same group.

The journey lasted five days:

  1. Mary and Joseph started out back home, confident that Jesus was with their party.  One day out from Jerusalem, they realised he wasn't with the group. Their child had been missing a whole day.
  2. They headed back, puzzled, anxious, (more likely distraught) and perhaps a little angry at themselves.
  3. Mary and Joseph started searching.
  4. And searching.
  5. After three days searching they found him. In the temple courts. He was calmly in discussion with the teachers there!

(I know what I would have said to those teachers had I been Joseph.)

Jesus was fine, "safe in his Father's house."

It may make sense to us thanks to thousands of years of hindsight, but Mary and Joseph were confused and upset. And what was Jesus' explanation? "Didn't you know I'd be about my Father's business?" Mary and Joseph didn't understand, and took him back home.

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 favour with God and man.

I take two lessons away from this account from Luke.

First, God's universal plan asked for his son, Jesus, to lead a typical human life, full of the normal milestones for boys in that society.  This is why it's easy to connect with Jesus; he's been where we are.

However, his priorities were a little different from his peers.  He gave first place to 'his Father's business'.

I have to ask myself, is that the way we live? Do we model that approach to day to day living for our children to follow?

Second, his parents deserve full credit for raising the Messiah as their son.  If this account is anything to go by, it wasn't always easy.

What have you learned?

What would be your biggest parenting lessons? Why not email them in to blog@redeemerlondon.org so we can compile them into a future post?