Summary: While the disciples viewed children as trivial, Jesus welcomed them. He revealed that child-like faith was essential to salvation. May we emphasize children's ministry and continue to possess child-like faith!
Jesus Loves the Children
Mark 10: 13-16
Immediately following His teaching on divorce and the expectations of marriage Jesus is met by parents who brought their children unto Him, desiring that He touch them. They were literally seeking a blessing from the Lord for their children. This was a common practice in that day. Parents would often bring their young children to the synagogue in order for the rabbis to lay hands on them in prayer and bless them. As the rabbis ministered to the children, they would pray for them and the lives they would lead.
This is not uncommon in modern church culture. Often parents will bring new-born babies before the church, seeking prayer for their lives, as they dedicate them unto the Lord. Those are special services within the church. It is always a blessing to see parents commit to raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord while desiring the church to join them in prayer as they strive to provide a godly environment for their children. We are obligated to pray for one another, and we must not neglect praying for our children!
This is a simple passage, but it reveals profound truth that needs to be applied in our everyday lives. As we consider the factors involved in this encounter, I trust we will be challenged and encouraged to pray for our children as we seek to point them to the Lord. I want to preach on the thought: Jesus Loves the Children.
I. The Appeal regarding the Children (13) – And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. Mark reveals two separate and very distinct appeals regarding the children. Consider:
A. The Request (13a) – And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them. As Jesus ministered among the people, He was approached by parents who brought their children unto Him. They desired Jesus to touch their children, seeking His blessing upon their lives. It is apparent these parents had recognized Jesus and knew He was able to provide for their children. Likely many of them believed Jesus was the Christ, and desired the Son of God to bless their children.
The word translated children literally speaks of the young, including infants. Most agree this gathering would have included children of all ages. As Jesus was in the midst, these parents didn’t want to miss an opportunity for Jesus to bless their children, regardless of their age.
This presents a much needed challenge in our modern society. Most parents want the best for their children, doing everything they can to provide for them and ensure their well-being and success. We try to ensure they are eating properly, getting the education they need, and participating in particular activities to become well-rounded individuals. There is nothing wrong with any of those things, but many fail to emphasize the most important need in a child’s life – getting them to Jesus! We need to do as these parents did and get our children in the presence of the Lord. Nothing else in life is more important than their relationship with Christ!
B. The Rebuke (13b) – and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. While the parents appealed to Jesus regarding their children, the disciples felt it necessary to rebuke them for seemingly bothering the Lord. Apparently they felt as if Jesus had more important issues at hand than blessing children. The word rebuke speaks of “actively hindering or reproving.” The disciples were adamant that Jesus had no time for such activity and strongly chided the parents for taking His time with what they assumed were trivial matters.
Often we tend to focus on the aspects of ministry that we deem important and have little time for other pursuits or needs. Many churches make a mistake by putting little, if any thought into children’s ministry. We must ensure that we are doing all we can to evangelize and equip everyone we can, regardless of their age or ability. In fact, we cannot afford to neglect reaching our children for the Lord. The vast majority of believers are saved in their childhood years. As we instill the Word of God in them at an early age, we are preparing them to respond to the leading of the Spirit to salvation.
II. The Advocacy for the Children (14-15) – The disciples may not have wanted to bother with the children, but they would soon learn that Jesus was an advocate for the children. Notice:
A. The Admonition (14a) – But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not. Jesus immediately recognized the rebuke of the disciples toward the children and expressed His displeasure. This reveals that Jesus was indignant regarding their hindrance of the children. He was grieved by their actions. He commanded that the children be permitted to come to Him without any hindrance. The disciples may not have wanted to be bothered with them, but Jesus was willing to make time for them.