Saturday, September 12, 2020

Little Children - Mark 10:13-16 - September 13, 2020

These are the Sermon Notes for September 13, 2020. We are now meeting at the church with limited seating and specific procedures and protocols that need to be followed. Read our Returning to Worship plan here. You can still watch our livestream service every Sunday at 9:37 am on our facebook page or watch the livestream recordings any time.

 Mark 10:13-16 Little Children

Good morning! Well we have certainly been going through the meat grinder in the Gospel of Mark for the last few weeks, haven’t we? I know I have at least.

My first thought when I read this week’s text was: whew! Don’t worry, that feeling didn’t last long… 

We are going to look at Mark 10:13-16, page 846in the pew Bibles, a section marked, “Let the children come to me.”

Before we read our text this morning, I’d like to ask you, when do you remember reading about Jesus getting angry in Scripture? Any specific examples? Turning over the tables in the Temple

Whether you remember it or not, our text for this morning is one of those times where Jesus is said to be “indignant.” So we have that to look forward to!

Mark 10:13-16

13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 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. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

Let’s pray.

So round about the time that Jesus had been teaching on divorce in the region of Perea, east of the Jordan River, some people brought children to Jesus so that He would bless them.

Seeking the blessing of rabbis and prophets was an ancient and well known practice, like getting your picture taken with some famous person or getting their autograph. 

I have a great picture of Daniel, when he was a baby, being held by Irving Friar, a former wide receiver for the New England Patriots. We went to hear him speak, not necessarily to bless my children or anything.

Well, on this occasion, people were seeking the Lord to bless their children, to lay His hands on them and bless them. Unfortunately, the people who were bringing the children ran into the disciples first.

When the people came with the kids the disciples strongly disapproved of the request and would have prevented them from going to Jesus. Why do you think that was?

This was just another of many examples of the disciples’ pride, they still did not understand how the kingdom of God worked. They didn’t want these people to trouble the Lord with all these dirty, snotty, noisy, little kids, “ain’t nobody got time for that!”

In just the last chapter the disciples were guilty of trying to get a guy who was casting out demons in Jesus’ Name to stop because he wasn’t part of their group, and they had been busted for arguing over which one of them was the greatest, and even though Jesus had held up a child and told them that whoever receives one such child in His Name received Him and the Father who sent Him, they still had a huge self-importance problem.

Can’t you just hear the disciples saying to these parents and care-givers, “get these kids out of here, don’t trouble the Master with babies, He’s got more important things to do than to bother with you all!”

They were obviously doing more than just looking down their noses on the kids for Jesus to become indignant with them. That word, “indignant,” in verse 14 is a strong word, Jesus was angry, what they were doing was wrong.

The children who were brought to Jesus weren’t in need of healing, they simply wanted His blessing, there is a lesson just in that. 

But the disciples in their pride and sense of self-importance would have denied them, and in response, Jesus gave us some of the most poignant and memorable words in Scripture: “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”

So the moral of the story is to be nice to children because Jesus is nice to children. Let’s close in prayer…

Well, the teaching here in this passage is simple but not that simple.

In examining the characters in this account, we can already see that the disciples were in the wrong, in their pride they would turn away these unimportant little nuisances.

But where the disciples were in the wrong, the parents and the people who brought the children were certainly in the right, bringing their children to Jesus. That is the most important responsibility of any parent, to teach their children who Jesus is and what He has done for them. Pastors can help, Sunday school teachers can help, youth pastors can help, but it is the primary responsibility of parents to show their children who Jesus is.

As Alistair Begg said, the expectations of those who brought the children were understandable, the response of the disciples was unacceptable, and the indignation of the Lord was unmistakable. 

The disciples denied the children because they are weak, helpless, and unimportant. They were the low men on society’s totem pole, the bottom rung of the ladder.

And Jesus said, the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. The kingdom of God does not belong to the self-important and the proud, one cannot earn their way in based on their merits and accomplishments or heritage, and, we will see later in this chapter, the kingdom of God does not belong to the rich in this world, as if one could buy their way in with their wealth, prestige, and position.

The kingdom of God belongs to such as these, weak, helpless, unimportant. Unlike modern parenting, children were not seen as the center of their parent’s universe and given a false sense of importance and entitlement, they were seen as they are, dependent, weak, and humble.

That is exactly how one must receive the kingdom of God, recognizing that we are sinners in need of a Savior, unable to keep ourselves from sin we need rescuing, all we can do is  humbly reach our arms up to the Savior just as a child does to his mother.

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

Freidrich Schleiermacher wrote, “It is the proper nature of a child to live altogether and absolutely in the present. What the present moment brings, it receives with simplicity and joy; the past vanishes from its vision, of the future it knows nothing, and every passing instant suffices for the happiness of its innocent nature.”

Children are simple, direct, curious, full of wonder, teachable, and trusting, humble and utterly dependent. They are blank slates and such must our minds be to the pen of the blessed Holy Spirit.

If we do not accept the kingdom of God on the same basis as children, weak, helpless, unimportant, we will never enter it.

The moral of this little tale is not to simply be nice to children, but to let go of our pride and accept Jesus and His kingdom like children do, not based on our merits or accomplishments or power or position. We must recognize that Jesus did not choose us because we are particularly special or as if He needs exactly what we bring to the table, He’s not building a baseball team.

Jesus chooses us because He chooses us, it’s not because we are special, but because He is.

Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. What we earn is death, all of our self-importance and pride is bound for the maggoty burning trash heap. But by simple faith in Jesus, trusting Him, trusting His Word, we are set free from that awful fate and given the gift of eternal life with Him in His blessed kingdom, adopted as children of the Father to be with Him forever.

Childlike faith lays aside all thoughts of status and privilege, it redefines our definitions of significance. We are not accepted by Jesus because we are special, we are special because we are accepted by Jesus.

And like children are inquisitive and curious, always learning, always trusting, always dependent, so we must be inquisitive and curious about the Lord and His Word, always learning from Him and His teachers, always trusting Him for guidance and always dependent on Him for grace.

…And He took the children in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them…

I pray that He will take you into His arms and bless you as you trust Him as a little child.