My son, JT, was gone.
Hollianne, the kids and I were living in a residence hall on the UT campus back in the winter of 2011. We had just returned to Knoxville for my job, and we were living in Laurel Apartments until we could find a house.
It was a Sunday morning and Hollianne had gotten up early. She peeked into the living room where JT had been sleeping on a couch. He wasn’t there. She looked in the spare bedroom in the apartment- thinking he had crawled into a bed with his siblings. He wasn’t there either.
She then noticed that the door to the apartment was unlocked. Panicked, Hollianne woke up the rest of the family and we began the search for our missing son. We ran up and down the hallways of Laurel apartments- calling his name. We asked the student worker at the front desk if she had seen JT…even called the campus police. He was nowhere to be found. We feared the worse…that he had wondered outside the building and into the Fort Sanders neighborhood during the darkness of the night.
Fortunately, a woman who was cleaning the study lounge emerged into the lobby and announced that there was a little boy asleep on the couch. It was JT. A review of the security cameras showed him leaving our apartment in the middle of the night and sleep-walking into the student lounge. There he was- safe, unharmed, well-rested and lacking any recall of what had happened during the night. It was the scariest 15 minutes of our lives.
Remember when Mary lost her son? Luke chapter 2 tells about the scary situation when she and Joseph realized that they couldn’t find Jesus. They had been visiting Jerusalem and Jesus decided to stay behind- without telling his parents. They traveled back to Jerusalem and found Jesus teaching in the Temple…after a three-day frantic journey and search.
Mary also knew that she would eventually lose Jesus again to death. John chapter 19 tells us that Jesus spoke to his mother, Mary, as he was dying on Calvary’s cruel Cross . Can you imagine the suffering she felt watching Jesus endure such horrible physical and mental anguish?
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30
But the story doesn’t end there for Jesus, for Mary…and for you and me.
John chapter 20 tells us about the stone that was rolled away from the entrance of the tomb. And about the empty tomb…and about Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene and the Disciples. And of the incredible power that came to those that believed in Jesus…those that were committed to continuing His work to seek and save the lost.
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11
The story only starts with Mary losing Jesus. His awful death was the beginning of a great new story of hope and love and faith. He lost His physical life, defeated sin and death…and on the third day He arose. He arose and granted the ultimate sacrifice…the forgiveness of my sins. I could have been His lost son, but He has fulfilled a great promise to continue loving and caring for me. And for every one of you, too.
He arose. Thank God.
God bless you all.