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Mark 151 - A Fork in the Road, A Bend in the Arm

People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

Mark 10:13-16

C.S. Lewis said something about life that we should repeat and think about each and every day.

Expectations are everything.

Expectations are all around us. When we go to the grocery store, we expect certain things to be there. Remember the great toilet paper shortage of 2020? How did you feel the first time you walked down the aisle only to see a vast empty canyon without any toilet paper? Even the very expensive kind was all gone.

If you’re in the retail or food industry, you expect people to pay for what they buy. The opposite is called theft. There are even signs in the doctors, dentists, where you get your blood drawn, that they expect payment before you walk out.

When you pay for a seat at the theater or sporting event, you expect there to be a seat for you. You paid for it; it should be there. Watch what happens when someone arrives only to find another person already in their seat.

I traveled quite a bit for work over the years. There’s no good answer that’s going to make someone feel comfortable when their seat on the airplane is not available. I’ve seen talented and compassionate airline personnel try as they might, but there is just no way to make the person feel accepted or well taken care of. No amount of frequent flyer miles, no number of coupons for the food court are going to heal that wounded expectation.

Here we have some people with the hope, the expectation, that Jesus might touch the children. A light touch on the shoulder. A quick pat on the head as he’s walking by would be good enough.

But they immediately run into a security problem. The disciples, those closest to Jesus, get in the way. They see the children as much less valuable than Jesus. They make it their business to only let those people that are “worthy” of being with Jesus get through. The Pharisees, teachers of the law, the rich and famous. But not these insignificant, unnamed children.

It takes Jesus more than just a little thing to get him ticked But this does it. He actively becomes angry. Incensed. He lashes out at those closest to him, those who should know him the best. They just don’t get it. It’s not the people that are powerful and popular in this world that matter most to Jesus. Jesus wants to hang out with the insignificant, the unnamed, the lowly, the overlooked. These are the people that get Jesus’ full attention.

And we see how Jesus gives these little children his attention. He exceeds all expectations. The people only hoped that Jesus might just touch the kids, but Jesus goes way over and above what they hoped for.

Jesus takes each child individually and doesn’t just bless them, he really blesses them. He fervently blesses them and keeps on blessing them. He takes each child, one by one, and spends time with them, blessing them individually.

And he doesn’t just touch them on the head, he puts his arms around them. He holds them, bends his arms around them. Like an anchor has a bend in it so it can grab onto the bottom, so Jesus bends his arms around each child, giving them an individual blessing. They not only feel his strength, but also feel his compassion and love. You could rightfully say that Jesus anchored each child to himself.

All of us are looking for someone to do more than just pat us on the head. We’re desperately looking for someone to hold us tight. Someone to anchor us so that we feel safe, secure, loved.

We can try all sorts of people and things to anchor us. But they all slip. They won’t hold tight through the storms of life. They will all fail us, abandon us when things get too tough. We can try things, possessions, power, and prestige to wrap ourselves in, but they fall way short of giving us what we long for.

All the cocoons that we try and wrap ourselves in will fail. Only God’s arms and personal presence will give us what we truly need and desire. He is the one we were made for. He alone can anchor us. There’s an old hymn that says it so well.

I can feel the anchor fast

As I meet each sudden blast,

And the cable, though unseen,

Bears the heavy strain between;

Thro’ the storm I safely ride,

Till the turning of the tide.

And it holds, my anchor holds:

Blow your wildest, then, O gale,

On my bark so small and frail;

By His grace I shall not fail,

For my anchor holds, my anchor holds[1]

[1] My Anchor Holds, Author: W. C. Martin


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