John Milton, one of the famous English poets of the 17th century, wrote many poems. But the greatest of all were the two he wrote near the end of his life, Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. In Paradise Lost, he wrote about the fall of humankind from fellowship with God. Losing that fellowship means that paradise is lost. In Paradise Regained he pointed to the plan of salvation that restores us to fellowship with God. Therefore, paradise is regained. In both poems, paradise is shown to be fellowship with God.
41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43 And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
In our scripture, two of God’s good people lost paradise and regained it. In Mary and Joseph’s situation as well as in our lives, the presence of Jesus is the key to paradise.
Paradise Is the Presence of Jesus
Paradise represents a well-lived life.
- There is a state of peace, contentment, security, happiness, and joy. All of these are found in the presence of Jesus Christ.
- Jesus: a) is the Prince of Peace; b) meets every need of our lives, and that gives us security; c) wipes away our tears of sorrow, d) wants people to be happy (look at his first miracle in John 2).
- Paradise is being where Jesus is. Just ask anyone who has spent time with Him.
I love to be in His presence. There is not a problem in my life for which He does not have an answer. There are no needs that He cannot supply. When my heart is heavy He brings healing. When I am with Him, all is well.
Paradise Can Be Lost
Mary and Joseph lost Jesus in the midst of legitimate activity – worship.
- It was the Passover Feast, the highest of Jewish holy days.
- They lost Jesus while involved in religious activities.
- This suggests to us that we can lose Him even when we are involved in church activities.
They lost Jesus by taking Him for granted (v. 44)
- The King James Version reads “supposing.” The New Living Translation reads “they assumed.”
- Regardless of the translation, the mistake was in taking his presence for granted.
- This was not a sinful act. It was a careless one.
This story clearly tells us that we can be good people doing good things and still lose the presence of Jesus.
Paradise – Jesus’ presence – is lost more often by carelessness than any other reason. It is the slow drifting that causes many people spiritual difficulties (Hebrews 2:1)
Paradise Can Be Regained
- Step one is admitting our need. He did not leave them. They left Him (v. 44).
- Step two comes by seeking Him earnestly (v. 45). They were the losers and had to seek Him. So it is with us. To have him we must want Him.
- They found Him where they left Him (v. 46).
Paradise can be ours even in this present age. We cannot afford to take His presence for granted. To those who have lost His presence, he is offering to restore paradise.
Click here to view or print the bible study “Paradise Lost – Paradise REgained.”
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