Summary: Sermon for World Communion Sunday, the 19th Sunday after Pentecost, Year B.
Mark 10: 13 – 16 / Come, Children
Intro: Recently, I saw a commercial that made me think of all the “thou-shalt-nots” that I heard as a child. A little boy is standing with his mother at a bus stop. When he attempts to use his shirtsleeve to wipe his nose, his mother turns to get a Kleenex and says, “Don’t use you shirt sleeve.” The little guy looks at the white long sleeve of the man standing next to him and wipes his nose on the man’s sleeve. The man looks at his sleeve in disbelief. What would you do if you were that man?
I. VS. 13 – “People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them . . .”
A. The word “People” does not appear in the GK. In GK. The subject of a verb is often understood based on the conjugation of the verb. Here, the form of the verb is the collective plural meaning THEY.
B. Of note here is that the subject of the verb is not PARENTS. The text does not say that parents were bringing little children.
C. It was a common practice at that time to bring children to a respected Rabbi for them to be blessed by him. That is what is taking place here.
II. VS. 14 “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.”
A. GK aganakteo (άγαναχτέω) comes from a compound word that means “To grieve much.” The word implies both anger and extreme sadness. This is the only time it is used in the NT.
B. At the time of Jesus children were considered to be possessions of their father. If the father didn’t accept the child as his own, they were considered illegitimate. In fact, the father had control of the life or death of a child.
C. Jesus pointed out to the disciples and to us that “the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” What does Jesus mean by such as these? He implies those that who society does not want to recognize or value.
III. 2 young children were talking about their parents. One complained to the other saying: “First they teach you to talk, then they teach you to walk, and as soon as you learn how, they tell you to sit down and shut up!”
A. VS. 15 – 16 “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.”
B. I believe this congregation has made a sincere effort to value our young people. We allow them to take up the offering, light the candles, ring the bell. We have even encouraged them to do the entire worship service. We have people come to prepare supper for the youth at their meetings. That is a great start on valuing the children, embracing them.
C. However, we must ask ourselves, if there are others in our church or community who are marginalized, those whom we ignore? How can we begin to reach out to them, place our hands upon them and bless them?