Summary: We are called to build bridges not barriers to people coming to Jesus
Text: Mark 10:13-16
Title: Bridges not barriers
1. A resolve (They brought little children to Him)
2. A request (that He might touch them)
3. A rebuke (but the disciples rebuked those who brought them)
4. A reaction (But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased)
5. A rebuttal (and said to them, “let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.
Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”)
6. A reward (and He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them)
I want to focus first of all on Jesus reaction and then his rebuttal
Why was Jesus greatly displeased at what the disciples had done?
The simple answer: They had redefined who could enter the kingdom of God
1. They restricted children from entering the kingdom of God?
Proof: they forbid the little children from coming to Jesus
2. They changed the standard for entry into the kingdom of God
Jesus said the standard for entering the kingdom of God was to receive it as a little child.
Receiving or becoming like little children was not the standard the disciples had in mind for entry into the kingdom of God.
If a prospective candidate asked What must I do to enter the kingdom of God?
Answer: become like a little child
People don’t take you serious if you give them that kind of answer …
The bigger danger:
Whenever you change the standard for entry into the kingdom of God you give people a false assurance.
You end up with people who think they are in the kingdom of God who are really not.
“Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
Meeting some man-made standard in no way means the same as meeting God’s standard.
Jesus came to replace man -made standards
Illustration: The beatitudes.
Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God.
You are blessed when you are at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
Man’s standard: The kingdom of God is yours when you have climbed to the top of the rope.
God’s standard: The kingdom of God is yours when you have fallen to the bottom of the rope.
All of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
We have to come to God on His terms not our terms.
Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.
Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to come to God.
We achieve this goal by coming to God on God’s terms.
The parents of the little children were bringing them to God on God’s terms yet the disciples rebuked them.
And because the disciples rebuked the parents Jesus in return rebuked the disciples.
Over the centuries the church has tended to made it harder and harder for people to come to God.
Coming to God became more about rules instead of about relationship.
When Jesus said we must become like little children he was emphasizing that little children do relationships far better than they do rules.
Illustration: little children don’t do rules well but they do relationships great.
3 Clubhouse rules: Nobody too big. Nobody too small. Everyone the same.
We adults on the other hand often do rules better than relationships
So naturally as adults we pick rules over relationships while children pick relationships over rules.
Again Jesus said “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
You do not get into the kingdom of God through rules. You get into the kingdom of God through relationship.
In Verse 16 Jesus gives the Children a reward,
This reward is a beautiful picture of a healthy relationship.
And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them
The adult version of this is found in Luke 15:20
Luke 15:20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.”
In Mark Jesus is rewarding the child of others:
In Luke the Father is rewarding His own child
Jesus said I only do what I see the Father doing.
When we come to Jesus as little children God’s rewards us with a healthy relationship rather than with huge riches.