Many adults still remember when they got lost at the grocery store, at the mall, or maybe at the amusement park when they were a little child - and all the feelings that went with it. We kept walking until suddenly we realized that our parents were nowhere around. We remember it as one of the traumatic moments of our young life, and we felt so alone.
Maybe you didn't realize you were going on without your parents, and you ended up lost. That might be happening to you today - except it's Jesus you're missing.
There's an unsettling picture of how this happens in Luke 2:42-45. Speaking of Jesus' parents, the Bible says, "When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival 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." Then there was a happy ending. They found Jesus and "He went down to Nazareth with them."
Mary and Joseph thought Jesus was with them when, in fact, they were continuing on their journey without Him. The Bible indicates that many people - especially those who've been around Christian things a lot - are in danger of making this same deadly mistake. Like getting lost when you were a child, they are going on without the Person they need to lead them and they're ending up lost.
Jesus, for example, tells in Matthew 7 about people who will come before Him on Judgment Day, announcing very impressive Christian credentials - including some great work they've done in His name. Unfortunately, Jesus will utter those awful four words - "I never knew you." Somehow, they thought Jesus was with them when, in fact, they were lost.
If there has been a time when you have consciously and sincerely told Jesus you were giving your life to Him, then His promise to you is, "whoever comes to Me I will never drive away" (John 6:37). It could be that you have mistaken knowing so much about Jesus for knowing Jesus, or that because you've been around Jesus so much, you think you have a relationship with Jesus. Like Mary and Joseph, maybe you've been making your journey without Jesus.
God wants you to know Him for real. Jesus gave His life to pay the death penalty for every wrong thing you have ever done, but the eternal life He paid for doesn't become yours until you fully commit yourself to Him. It's hard to face the fact that somehow you've left Jesus out; it was for Mary and Joseph. They went looking for Him as soon as they realized it. Maybe you need to do that today.
Don't go any farther without Jesus. It would be awful to miss this wake-up call from God and wake up some day lost forever.