Admit it! There’s not a single one of us who hasn’t dreamed about being a kid again. We were carefree. Our only concerns were getting homework done, and trying not to get caught if we were doing something wrong. Politics was not something we cared about. We didn’t watch the news, gas prices and 401k’s were foreign. Yes, when we were kids our few responsibilities were the trash, helping with the dishes, and feeding the dogs. Life was good as a kid. But on second thought, was it?
If we wanted to go somewhere, we had to rely on a parent to take us, for example, the movies. Then we had to ask for money for the tickets, and were only given so much. We had to choose between a big popcorn or maybe a giant box of thin mints. We could only watch pre-approved movies, and heaven help us if we got caught sneaking into a theater we weren’t supposed to be in. If you grew up in a small town and you did anything wrong, your parents knew about it before you got home!!! Being a kid maybe wasn’t as glamorous as we would like to think or remember.
Israelite children didn’t have it easy either. There were specific roles they had to play in the household and in the fields. They had absolutely no rights. The children couldn’t even eat with their father. They had to eat in the kitchen with the women of the house. To say they had to depend on their parents for everything in their lives is an understatement.
The disciples still did not get what Jesus was trying to teach them at this point in His ministry. Earlier Jesus told the disciples for the first time He was going to die and be resurrected on the third day. Peter rebukes Him, and Jesus fires right back telling Peter his concerns were not on spiritual matters, but on earthly ones. He then told them they must be willing to be called a criminal by society, pick up their cross and follow Him.
After this, they began to argue among themselves. They asked Jesus who among them would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Boy, were they competitive! Jesus summons a small child to stand with Him in the middle of a crowd – a place where no child would be allowed! He told them they had to rely on Him for all things spiritual, just as the child had to rely on its parents for its very life!
We tie our wagon to many leaders in the modern church, preferring one pastor over another or one denomination over another. In the end we will stand before our Savior, and no earthly person can stand with us. Jesus will raise us up to a wonderful inheritance. But first we must be like a child now, and completely rely on Him and His provisions.
It was this time of year when I was a young boy when hope flowed more so than the rest of the year. The Christmas catalogs began to populate the mailbox, and the hardware store began to put up decorations in the store windows. Even the little town where I spent much of my childhood began to put decorations on the lamp poles lining main street. It was a sign of the fast-approaching holidays and all the celebrations and parades to come.
I remember one Christmas season vividly. Christmas day had come and gone, and the family was standing in the airport. The mood of the family matched the cold, rainy, and dreary weather outside. My father was about to board a plane for his first deployment to Viet Nam. As the oldest son, he pulled me aside away from my siblings and charged me with taking care of my mother , my brother and sister. It was a heavy responsibility for a ten-year-old boy. But my father whispered words to me that I’ll never forget; he said, “I’ll be back son.” They rang in my ears day after day, week after week, and month after month until his return a year later. His words gave a young man hope.
It seems there are very few sources of hope these days, with all the turmoil in our nation and even around the world. We recently celebrated Veterans Day, a day in which pride and admiration abound to those who are and have served. But we need a sense of hope daily in our lives.
Pets sit patiently in windows, waiting on the return of their owners. And when they see the car pull into the driveway or hear their voice, excitement fills their entire bodies! They even have hope in an event; one over which they have no control. We can take a big lesson from our pets.
When Jesus ascended into heaven, scripture says two men in white appeared beside the apostles. The apostles stood and watched as Jesus rose from the earth and disappeared into the clouds, no doubt with the mouths wide open! These two men asked them a very pointed question – “”Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.'”
After all they had been through in recent weeks and months, their hearts had to filled with hope. They had been on a roller coaster of emotions, but they stood there witnessing a physical act of their Savior ascending into the clouds. The words of these two angels gave them hope.
Jesus is coming soon. His words should give us all hope, a hope in glory. Revelation 22:20 Jesus said, “Yes, I am coming soon.” We need to prepare daily for this promise to be fulfilled!