November 22

MAIN TEXT: MARK 10: 13-16

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.


In Jesus’ day children were often viewed as a liability until they were able to contribute to society.  Due to this fact, children were not valued like we do today in our Western culture.  Roman society said that kids are a commodity.  Jewish society said that kids aren’t valuable until they are of an age where they can live out the Law, usually at 13 years of age.  Childhood was typically regarded as an unavoidable time between birth and adulthood.  Jesus comes along, and treats children differently.  

Jesus goes against the cultural norms.  Culture may say one thing, but when our Lord and Savior says another, that should be what dictates our thoughts and actions.  When He tells His disciples, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me…” (Mark 9:37)  At every turn, He is working to teach them to love the outcast, the marginalized, those that society doesn’t value.  

We Should Bring Children to Jesus

Love them to Jesus

“They were bringing children to Him…”  It was common practice to bring children to the rabbi to bless their child.         
The common prayer would be that child would be famous in the Law, faithful in marriage and abundant in good works.  They have probably seen and heard of the miracles Jesus has performed, and want His touch, understanding that everything Jesus did was through touch.  Asking for His blessing on their little lives.  They love these children enough to make the journey to bring them to Jesus. 

Lead them to Jesus

He sees the love of these parents.  The willingness to make their way to Him with their little bundles of joy.  He sees His disciples inability to understand yet that His love is for everyone, for all people.  He wants to teach them that His time is worth these children, and that their time should be too.  “For to such belongs the kingdom of God.”  Don’t hold them back, let them come to Him.  Love them and lead them to Him.  

We Should Learn from Children

Jesus then uses this moment to teach concerning eternal things.  How there is something about a child that is essential for entrance into the kingdom of God.  Now does this mean they aren’t sinners?  No.  Scripture is clear, we are all sinners, not because we sin, because we are born of sin.  It isn’t that children are innocent that makes them able to enter into the kingdom.  There are certain characteristics of a child that He calls us to have.

Helpless and hopeful

These children don’t come to Jesus on their own. Someone else has to bring them.  They need the help of others.  Their daily lives need the help of others.  Yet, even with that being the case, they are filled with hope and expectation.  They come small, helpless and powerless.  In the same way, we come to Jesus small, helpless and powerless.  There is nothing we can do to save ourselves.  It is by God’s grace, given to us through the work of Jesus Christ.

Trusting and dependent

Just as a child trusts that the adults around them will take care of their needs, we must trust that God will take care of our needs.  The kingdom of God is received, not earned.  It is accepted as a gift, with trust and complete dependence on God giving it to us.  

Affection and blessing

Jesus punctuated the special place these children have in the Kingdom when He took “them in His arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.”  Mark is the only gospel that records that part.  The original word for “in His arms” means to enfold in your arms.  Just like you would do a baby.  He enfolded them, embraced them and then He blessed them.  

He more than likely prayed a Hebrew blessing on them.  A Hebrew blessing contains several pieces: a meaningful touch, a spoken word, attaching high value, picturing a special future, and an active commitment.  Jesus fulfilled these components.  He held them in His arms, spoke a blessing over them, and attached high value to their lives.  He knew His future would affect their future through His active commitment to see the blessing fulfilled.  As He was headed to the cross, for the redemption and restoration of all things.

These four verses challenge us to love children to Christ, lead children to Christ and come to Christ as a child.  May we humble ourselves in our lives and our serving as to lead others to Him.

 

May we come to Him as a child.

 

NEXT WEEK'S PASSAGE:  Mark 10:17-31


APPLY TO LIFE

This week, as you reflect on the message, utilize this section to help you apply what has been taught to your life. Think of friends, co-workers, neighbors, family etc., that you could meet with to have a time of mutual sharing as you open God’s Word together.


BLESS RHYTHMS

This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.

Bless
Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.

Listen
Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.

Eat
Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.

Speak
Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.

Sabbath
Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.

DISCUSS THE MESSAGE

Read: Mark 10:13-16

In what way do children have intrinsic value, not just potential value?

What reasons might some people have today for restricting the access of children to Jesus? Who among non-Christians and Christians might suggest that children shouldn’t be brought to church? Why?

What do children do that demonstrates they are sinners? How do they show they are helpless and hopeful? Trusting and dependent?