Summary: In our text for today, we see that Jesus extended grace to kids in a rather unique way.
The Setting for Grace
This won’t be too surprising to those of you who know Don and Tim Tuley. I just found out that when they were young boys, they got into a lot of trouble. Whenever something went wrong in the neighborhood, or in school, they were usually to blame. Ray and Bernice didn’t know what to do with them so they decided to ask their pastor for help.
The pastor decided he didn’t want to see Don and Tim together, so he started with Tim. The pastor sat Tim down across from a huge, impressive desk. For about 5 minutes, they just sat and stared at each other. Finally, the pastor pointed his finger at Tim and asked, “Where is God?” Tim looked under the desk, in the corners of the room, out the window, but said nothing.
Again, this time in a louder voice, the pastor asked, “Where is God?” Tim looked around again but said nothing. A third time, in a louder, firmer voice, the pastor leaned across his desk and put his finger almost to Tim’s nose and asked, “Where is God?”
Tim panicked and ran all the way home. Finding his brother Don, he dragged him up to their bedroom and said, “We are in BIIIIG trouble.” Don asked, “What do you mean, BIIIIG trouble?” Tim stammered and replied, “God is missing and they think we did it.”
It’s so easy for us to think that kids just get in trouble, that they’re a bother, or that they just frankly don’t matter much.
Jesus took the time to minister to children. On the two occasions when he fed large groups of people -- 5,000 men one time and 4,000 on another day -- he also fed children. And, it was a young boy who gave Him the fish and bread which launched one of the miracles in the first place.
In Matthew 18, Jesus called a little child to Him and had him stand among the disciples. It strikes me that Jesus didn’t have to go looking for a child -- there was obviously one right nearby. I think there were children with Jesus all the time.
When Jesus made his last entry into Jerusalem, it was the children who shouted out, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” (Matthew 21:15)
Later, when Jesus is looking out over the city of Jerusalem, he says, “…how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling.” (Matthew 23:37)
In our text for today, we see that Jesus extended grace to kids in a rather unique way. Please turn to Mark 10:13-16. [ read ]
1 -- Let Children Come
Since kids matter to Jesus and should therefore matter to us, this passage challenges us with 3 action steps.
The first thing we need to do in relation to children, is to let them come. I want you to notice in verse13 that people were bringing little children to Jesus. The tense of the words indicate that this was something that was customary -- it happened all the time. These parents knew that kids matter to Jesus. They knew that their kids would be welcome. They knew that their kids would be prayed for and blessed by Jesus.
They didn’t even think twice about it. They weren’t worried about Jesus turning his back on them -- or their kids. I’m sure they had noticed how Jesus had treated children on many different occasions. They no doubt wanted their kids to be ministered to as well.
But the disciples didn’t like the interruption. Acting as bodyguards and protectors, they scolded the parents. Why couldn’t these children just go and play? How dare they bother Jesus? He has more important things to do. After all, they were more important than a bunch of kids -- they were his chosen disciples. The disciples then turn to these adults and rebuke them -- they tell them off.
The word “rebuke” is strong. It’s the same word that is used by Jesus when he rebuked the wind and the sea in Mark 4. It means to “be muzzled.” It has the idea of strictly forbidding something with the threat of punishment if the command is not obeyed. They probably said something like this:
Can’t you control your kids? What kind of parents are you? Can’t you see that this is Jesus? He doesn’t have time for little brats like yours. He’s busy with us -- would you quit bothering Him? Why don’t you take your kids to the Burger King Playland? They’re not welcome here! Go find someone who really cares...
What they didn’t realize was that Jesus was that someone who really cares -- He cared much more than they did! You see, they didn’t value children. They weren’t important to them. To them, real ministry is the kind that reaches adults -- kids are just a nuisance.