Luke 2:41-46 NKJV
“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 according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it, but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.”
Under the law men were required to go to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. The people who lived outside of Jerusalem had to make the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The Scriptures tell us that every year Joseph and Mary, along with Jesus, went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. After they finished what the law required, Joseph and Mary gathered their things and headed back home. When they had traveled for one day, they began to look for Jesus. They did not find Him with their relatives or acquaintances that were traveling the same way as them.
Is it possible that since Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem three times a year, year after year, that they had gotten into a routine? If you’ve been to many family gatherings, you will notice that the children always want to ride home with someone other than their parents. Maybe this was true of Jesus also. Maybe it was so routine that His parents assumed He was traveling back with His friends or cousins.
In the natural realm, they had allowed someone else to be responsible for Jesus so many times that when they did not see Him they assumed He was still with their group. They allowed someone else to be responsible to carry the presence of the Lord. Instead of following along with the people making the journey back home, Jesus stayed in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem was the place where Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to fill the believers that were in one accord in their devotion and loyalty to Him.
Acts 1: 4-5 NKJV
“And being assembled together with them, he commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Acts 1:12-14 NKJV
“Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”
Jesus could have sent the believers anywhere to wait on the infilling of the Holy Spirit, but He chose Jerusalem. Jerusalem was a place of worship under the law. Many of the people that worshipped God in Jerusalem had a revelation of God, but not an intimate relationship with Him.
When revelation and relationship (intimacy) come together mighty things happen.
Acts 2:1-4 NKJV
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place, And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
It was in Jerusalem that the early believers ministered unto the Lord for many days, and as a result God filled the room where they were with His presence. The people in the upper room were baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. They weren’t just speaking anything-they were praising and worshipping God. They were giving glory to God.
Acts 2:11 NKJV
“…we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”
The Holy Spirit will help us worship God in spirit and in truth, just like He helped the early believers. The presence of God brings power and results. After Peter was baptized with the Holy Spirit, he stood up and spoke to the crowd. Because of the anointing upon him and the words that he spoke, many believed
Acts 2:41 NKJV
“Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”
After the people believed, the Bible tells us, that they fellowshipped in the breaking of bread and in prayers.
Acts 2:42 NKJV
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
This verse does not mean that they sat around eating all their meals together. The early church shared times of corporate worship and prayer as well as communion (breaking of bread). Communion is a very intimate time between you and God, even when taken together as a group.
Many times the church is like Joseph and Mary. We happily travel along the path we choose assuming that Jesus is with us. Once down the road we begin to “look” for the presence of Jesus, but He is no where to be found. Only then do we begin to seek His presence.
Luke 2:46 NKJV
“Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.”
When Joseph and Mary discovered that Jesus was not with them, they began to look for Him. They returned to Jerusalem, the last place that they had seen Him. Joseph and Mary found Jesus in the temple, a place of worship. When they became desperate for Him they found Him.
Matthew 7:7 NKJV
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
James 4:8 NKJV
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
All across America, the church is traveling along assuming that the presence of the Lord is with them. They have a form of godliness, but no power. Week after week the hurting and the lost walk in their doors and leave out the same way they came in- still hurting, still on their way to hell.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
The above verses are talking about the church, not the world. There are many religious activities going on in churches that have nothing to do with true worship to God.
Matthew 23:25-28 NKJV
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but the inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
There are many programs and campaigns, but no corporate anointing to break the yokes. Many of the people that fill the altars have an encounter with man, not God.
Revelation 3:1-2 NKJV
“…I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.”
Like the early church, we need to rediscover what worshipping God in Spirit and in truth is.
John 4:23-24 NKJV
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
God doesn’t just want you to know who He is, He wants an intimate relationship with you too. The majority of the people in America know the name of God, but few know Him intimately.
Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
We need to allow our revelation and our relationship to come together- we need to Return To Jerusalem. Just like Joseph and Mary, when we become desperate for the presence of God we will find Him, in a place of worship.