Friday, August 27, 2010

Mark 10:13-16 Jesus' receives little children

13 Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14  But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” 16 And He took them up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them.

Jesus having answered the Pharisees question on the lawfulness of divorce by quoting the Scriptures to them, rather than endorsing or even addressing the common schools of thought of the day. And thus having defended the sanctity of marriage; Jesus gave some commands restricting divorce as only permitted for sexual immorality. So having reiterated God’s plan for man and woman; that is a permanent marriage relationship that establishes the family unit, that itself then is the backbone on which society is to be built upon. While teaching amongst the people, some of them bring their children to Him, “that He might touch them” vs. 13 the idea being that He might bless them. Clearly some of the people were moved by His Words which affirmed God’s Word and desire that men and women be faithful to each other so that they provide safe and loving environments for their children to grow up in (Malachi 2:13-16). For you throw that away and you’ve got nothing but broken hearts, homes, and lives. Yet as the people bring these little children to Jesus the disciples rebuke those who did. Why they did so is not stated. It may have been a cultural taboo to do so when a rabbi was teaching? Or more likely it may have been that their own hearts were still hardened to the significance God places on all people, including children. Whatever the reason, what truly matters is how Jesus responded, for that is always the measure of what constitutes Godliness and what does not. Now the Scripture says when Jesus saw it He was greatly displeased and said to them, …“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” Vs. 14 Now the word translated greatly displeased carries with it strong connotations of indignation, often accompanied by displaying a physical displeasure or expression of grief. In other words Jesus was more than just a little annoyed at their doing so; though His reply seems more governed by peace and composure rather than an outburst of some sort.

Still that His own disciples would hinder people from bringing their children to Him clearly is not His will for their children or for anyone else as He said: “…do not forbid them for of such is the kingdom of God.” How about us than are we hindering people from bringing their loved ones to Jesus Christ?

I mean when church congregations become exclusive clubs that minister only to their own members and those they deem fit are we not becoming segregationists. And thus forbidding people from bringing their own to Christ, at least through our doors, though that maybe what a congregation wants; isolation from the greater community in which they worship. But is that God’s will for His church? To plant a church that bears His Son’s Name in a neighborhood only to have it become utterly isolated from its neighbors? For children coming to God the Father unreservedly (regardless of their background) is what the Kingdom of heaven is truly like. Therefore to forbid them or anyone else is exceedingly displeasing or grievous to God.

Now Jesus statement didn’t end there. For having told the disciples not to forbid the children coming to Him. He immediately went on to say: 15 “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” 16 And He took them up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them. Vs. 15-16

In contrast to hardened hearts of His disciples Jesus unabashedly takes up the children in His arms and puts His hands on them and blesses them. For isn’t that why Jesus became a man, so that He could touch our lives with His Person. And having touched our hearts and entered our lives with His Person He wants to work through our person’s to again reach others. That is what ministry is. But we can hinder that from happening through us when we set up our own “boundaries of faith” that only serve our own or someone else's purposes, not God’s. For God did not call us out of the world of sin and into legalism, or racism, or denominationalism, or any other “ism”, but into Jesus Christ our Lord.

Now Jesus statement of receiving the Kingdom of God as a little child as a requirement for entrance into it does not mean a person must act childish to enter it. Rather they must have child like trust in God and Jesus Christ as Lord. For trusting one’s own devices will not get you into it, same with trusting one’s own good works or obedience; as if we could do anything to earn it or deserve it. Ones trust must be unconditional, and it must be child like in God’s love demonstrated for us all through Jesus Christ’s crucifixion death and His resurrection to new life so that we might also have new and everlasting life. Therefore God requires not perfect trust, just dependent trust. As children are dependent on their parents for everything, so must we be dependent on God for the salvation of our souls. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Eph. 2:8-9

Now Jesus’ physical display of love for the children brought to Him is a love that transcends both peoples and cultures. Since Jesus doesn’t just love the “good” children, or the “obedient” children, or the pretty, healthy, successful, athletic or academically inclined or astute children of the world. Jesus Christ loves every child in the world. Therefore Jesus loves everyone who comes to Him with a humble and open heart trusting in Him they will most definitely be found in His Kingdom. For His arms are open wide, ready and willing to receive anyone, anywhere, at any time, at any point in their life when they come freely to Him. That is what makes the angels of God in heaven sing. When God’s children come home, for Jesus said: there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who have no need for repentance (Luke 15:7, 9 paraphrase). Have you then made that most crucial decision to come home? God waits with arms wide open to receive you when you turn away from your sins and turn in faith to Him by believing in His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

Scripture Quotations
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

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